The moment that your gorgeous bundle of joy is welcomed to the world after what feels as if the longest nine months, you instantly feel a new sense of purpose. Your entire world now revolves around the needs of your tiny little human and nothing else matters. However, while you enjoy every moment of your newborn bubble, it is ever so important to take the time to check in with yourself. We know, self-care with a baby seems totally unrealistic, how could you possibly find time to relax in between feeds, changes and the endless list of new mummy demands? But amongst the chaos, it is crucial to look after yourself, so we have put together a guide to self care for new mums.
Self Care For New Mums: A Guide To ‘Me Time’
Self care is a phrase that we always hear, and to be honest, it is often misunderstood. It doesn’t necessarily involve spending a fortune on a shopping trip or pampering yourself at your favourite beauty salon. The real definition of self care is simply being mindful of how you look after your mental, emotional and physical health – being able to treat yourself is just a plus! It involves understanding that you are just as worthy of love, care and attention as anyone else, now more than ever. You are trying to adapt to a new way of life, but you are also dealing with so many hormonal changes, meaning that giving your wellbeing a little extra TLC is vital.
So, if you’re sitting thinking, but how? We have you covered, here are just some of the many ways that you can begin your self care journey:
- Adapt To Your ‘New Normal’ Routine
- Be Kind To Yourself (You Deserve It!)
- Know Its Okay To Say No
- Find Your Sanctuary & Enjoy Every Minute
- Get Out Of The House For Fresh Air
- Give Your Body The TLC It Needs
- Remember A Good Sleep Makes A Real Difference
- Try To Stay Organised In The Chaos
Before becoming mummy, it’s likely that your day was filled with super busy days at work, lunch with your friends and date nights with your lovely partner. Now, while there is no reason why you cannot continue to do this, you will have to adapt to what will eventually become your ‘new normal’ routine. This is likely to involve doing less than you are used to, and there is no problem with that; you are now caring for not only yourself, but also your newborn, so do not feel disappointed if things take longer or not everything gets done in a day. Redefine what a good day looks like, altering your expectations to take into account that most activities or tasks will now be accompanied by a tiny plus one. Ultimately, the key is to surrender to a more simplistic life, letting go of your needs to say that you have been ‘productive’ and instead, recognising that everything you manage to complete, regardless of how small it may seem, as an achievement.
One of the biggest lifestyle changes that almost every new mum comments on is that you can no longer just pop out when you need to. Every trip does take a little extra preparation, but one of the best ways to stay organised and stress-free is always to have a changing bag ready. Having your changing bag packed with all of the essentials, from nappies to baby wipes, will give you one less thing to worry about. For more top tips on what to and what not to pack, take a look at Mums Net.
Whether you are welcoming your firstborn or are growing your family, parenting is always going to be a tough job. No one ever said it was easy, and there is no guide or rule book to being a new mum, so above all, its important to be kind to yourself. Before becoming a parent, you would have experienced days where you felt negative, angry or just not 100% yourself, so don’t be hard on yourself if you feel like this after – as always, its completely normal! Everyone is guilty of putting high expectations on themself to be the best of the best, but there is no need to put so much pressure to meet a certain standard. Your baby is happy, and you are trying your best to adapt to a very unfamiliar situation, so focus of enjoying every minute.
If you find that you are starting to feel a little overwhelmed, then why not take up that offer for your friend or family member to take care of your little one for a few hours? We know, it’s not easy to accept offers of help and there will always be the ‘mum guilt’ in the back of your mind, but taking time for yourself is just as important. Whether you use the time to catch up on your favourite show or take a wander around the shops, we promise you will feel like a new person!
You would be surprised how much of a difference learning to say ‘no’ can have on your overall mental health, not just as a new mum, but in everyday life. As humans, it is for some obscure reason that we believe that we must try our hardest to be people-pleasers, even if it means that we end up agreeing to things that we instantly regret.
So, as you continue your journey to self care as a new mum, our next tip is, to be honest with yourself and do not feel guilty for turning down opportunities that you do not feel quite up to. Especially when it comes to loved ones asking to come round to visit or catch up on a day out, know that they will not be angry if you ask to rearrange for another day. There will be days that you will feel exhausted and while it is vital to spend time with others still, if you do just want a day at home in your pj’s, then do it!
It can be easy to become so cooped up in living life around the needs of a newborn, that you forget to spend time doing the things that you enjoy the most. And while you will have less spare time than before, there is no reason why you cannot find your sanctuary and use it as your place for ‘me time’. Whether you continue a hobby that you have always adored or spend time trying something new, getting stuck into something you truly enjoy can help towards clearing the mind and therefore, improve mental health. In fact, anything that is able to break your chain of thought and take you away from what feels as if the never-ending to-do list will prove ever so beneficial.
When it comes to finding your sanctuary, don’t underestimate the power of the simple things in life. If you do not necessarily have a hobby or simply want some time to unwind, there is nothing better than a long soak in a warm bubble bath. Why not create your very own spa, even if it’s just for half an hour of time to yourself? Light candles around the bath, pop some soothing aromatherapy oil into the water and play a meditation in the background. It can be something as easy as this that can make you feel human again!
Although there is no harm in spending time at home and some days you couldn’t think of anything worse than venturing out, you should always make a conscious effort to escape those four walls and get some fresh air outside of the house. Especially as little ones grow older, they adore trips in the pushchair watching the world go by, so by going for even a walk around the block will benefit both of you. It’ll also give you a reason to get up, showered and ready which will again, do you a world of good!
Along with going for daily walks, its also important to schedule time to meet up with friends and family. For the first few weeks, it’s likely that they will come to you, but once you feel more comfortable venturing out and have recovered, then try to plan some dates outside of the house with your little one. Whether this may be going to loved ones for lunch, meeting at a cafe for a coffee or going to the shops, all will be great for bringing back a sense of normality.
When your days are filled with feeds, nappy changes and housework revolved around the babies naps, it can be super easy to forget to take time out to eat and drink. It’s likely that you’ve had days where it gets to midday, and you realised you’re still yet to have breakfast. However, it is vital to ensure that you fill your body with the nutrients that it needs to keep you not only healthy but also energised.
First and foremost, it’s crucial to keep yourself hydrated by drinking your daily intake of water. Although those sleepless nights may be getting to you, try not to rely on drinking solely coffee as this will give you only short bursts of energy. Drinking too much coffee can also have negative side effects on your health, which you can find more information on over on Healthline. Instead, make an effort to drink at least two litres of water a day, and you will see a huge difference. Consider investing in a marked water bottle which will help you to keep track of how much you should drink each hour.
As well as drinking plenty of water, it’s also crucial to ensure that you maintain a balanced diet, especially if you are breastfeeding. As always, at least five portions of fruit and vegetables should always be included in your diet, along with lots of carbohydrates and proteins. According to La Leche League International, breastfeeding burns up to 700 calories a day, which means that many new mums notice that they lose weight quicker than they had hoped. Through eating meals with high protein and carbohydrates, you can help to stay at a healthy weight. For more tips on healthy eating while feeding your baby, take a look at the British Nutrition Foundation website.
As a new mum, or any parents in their first few years, in fact, you’re probably thinking “sleep, what’s that?” There is no need to delve deeper or try to paint the picture of the sleepless nights, but what we are here to say is, do not forget how much of a difference a good sleep can make on your wellbeing. Sleep deprivation can have a significant impact on your body, causing mood swings, lack of concentration and much more, which means that you should try to squeeze in a nap wherever possible. Many will tell you to use your time while your baby sleeps to get household chores out of the way or other tasks, but if you are feeling drowsy, there is no harm in catching up on some sleep.
With a newborn to take care of, it can sometimes feel as if there is no structure in your day and a million things going on in your mind. A super easy way to keep you organised amongst the chaos is to use lists and reminders to your advantage. If you know that there are things that you need to get done, whether it may be little things like changing the bedding or picking up some supplies from the supermarket, note them down in a diary or notice board on the wall. You could also set reminders on your Amazon Echo or through Siri on your iPhone.
You’ve Got This, Mama!
We hope that we have helped you to take the first steps on your journey to self care as a new mum. It’s going to take a lot of getting used to but don’t be disappointed if things do not always work out – that’s life. Always remember to be kind to yourself, you are doing a fantastic job, and you have so much to look forward to!
If you are using our guide to prepare you for welcoming your newborn, then why not ensure that you are extra prepared by creating a profile on BabyLawaway? With a super straightforward four-step process, you can set up an account for your bundle of joy, ready to send to loved ones who can begin contributing. Your virtual money pot can then be withdrawn and spent on the newborn baby must-haves – it’s as easy as that!