According to a study, self-care is one of the most important aspects of effective mothering. Yet it’s something that most new moms neglect as they dive into their new role. They might feel guilty for spending time away from their baby, or simply believe it isn’t an important priority anymore. But without self-care, you’ll end up exhausted and sick, which means your baby will also suffer. We’re sharing how to shake any guilt and find time for self-care during the demanding newborn phase below.
My cousin Liza is a great example of what happens when moms don’t prioritize their own self-care.
Before she had her daughter, she was a pretty well-rounded person. She worked out five days a week, drank plenty of water, and even got facials every couple of months to keep her skin looking fresh and healthy.
But then her daughter came along, and everything changed.
The first few weeks were rough—the baby cried constantly, and Liza couldn’t figure out what she wanted or needed from her. Her own health suffered in the meantime. She was exhausted all the time, and felt like her body was falling apart piece by piece.
Don’t let this happen to you!
What Exactly Is Self-Care?
Self-care is any activity that makes you feel better. It can be anything … taking a walk in the park, having a bubble bath, eating your favorite meal, or reading a book while sipping coffee. It doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive—it just has to make you feel good!
One thing self-care isn’t: taking time away from your baby! You don’t need to spend hours away from your child to take care of yourself—even just 10 minutes can make all the difference in the world.
5 Self-Care Tips For New Moms
Making time for self-care can feel impossible as a new mom. Newborns require a lot of care, whether it’s feeding, changing, or calming them when they’re crying. Your whole life has just been turned around and you’re still adjusting, so it’s no wonder that most new moms put self-care on the back burner.
But finding even a few spare moments for yourself will help you regain a sense of normalcy as you navigate your new life. Here are some tips for making sure you’re doing the best job possible at taking care of yourself while also being a great mom.
According to a study, new parents don’t get enough sleep for six years after a child is born, with mothers being affected most.
Take Naps When Possible
This may seem counterintuitive—after all, you have a baby who needs your attention! Try to synchronize your naps with your baby’s naps. Those precious moments of rest will prevent you from feeling run-down, and may even allow you to sleep better at night.
The first step is to talk to your doctor about whether you have any medical issues that might be interfering with your sleep—like anxiety or depression. Next, try these ideas:
- Make sure your bedtime routine is consistent every night—and stick to it. This means no TV or social media before bedtime (these things are great at keeping us awake).
- If you’re breastfeeding, try having your partner stay up later than usual so they can help out with baby duty while you get some rest.
Take Care Of Yourself Physically
Exercise is an important part of self-care. You don’t need to sign up for a time-intensive bootcamp, just stay as active as you can. Go for a walk, do a quick at-home workout video, or play with your kids outside (if they’re old enough) at least once per day so your body gets some much-needed movement and fresh air. You’ll also enjoy other exercise-related benefits:
- Reduced stress and anxiety
- Improved energy levels and mental focus
- Increased self-esteem and confidence
- A boosted immune system for faster healing from illnesses or injuries
Eat Healthy Meals
It’s important for new moms to eat well, so they can provide the best nutrition possible for their babies. Eating lots of fruits and vegetables will also give them much-needed energy throughout the day.
Here are just a few of the benefits of eating healthy for new moms:
- You’ll have more energy to care for and play with your baby
- A healthy diet helps your body fight infection and heal itself faster when you do get sick
- Your baby will get more nutrients, which means less doctor visits
Don’t Compare Yourself With Others
It can be tempting to look at other women and feel like you aren’t doing things right as a new mom. It’s important not to get caught up in comparing yourself with other moms or feeling guilty. That just leads to stress, which is the opposite of what you need when you’re trying to take care of your baby!
The important thing to remember is that you love your child and want what’s best for them. Don’t let anyone else’s actions make you feel bad about yourself, or doubt your abilities as a parent. Everyone has their own way of doing things, and you’re doing just fine!
Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help
Whether you’re on maternity leave or you’ve officially become a stay-at-home mom, you might feel like you always have to be your baby’s primary caregiver during the newborn period. That’s not the case, and you shouldn’t feel guilty about asking someone else to watch the baby so you can engage in self-care.
You might have a lot of family members and friends that want to spend some time bonding with the new baby in their lives, so don’t be afraid to ask them to babysit for a short period of time while you take time for yourself!
Be Realistic About Your Plans
Be realistic about what you can do in a day. It may take some time before you get into a rhythm with your baby, but try not to set unrealistic expectations for yourself—and don’t beat yourself up if something doesn’t go according to plan.
Plan your day with simple and realistic goals—and congratulate yourself for achieving each of these. If you’re not able to achieve all the goals you set for yourself, don’t beat yourself up over it! Just try again tomorrow.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the daily grind that we forget our own accomplishments sometimes!
It’s easy to feel like your baby is the only thing that matters when you’re a new mom, but taking care of yourself is just as important.
A mother’s health affects her baby’s health. If you don’t take care of yourself, it can have a ripple effect on your little one. Even if it’s only a few moments a day, don’t feel guilty about taking time for yourself to make sure you’re staying healthy, happy, and strong!