If you’re a new Mom, read the following words aloud and make sure to give yourself a little reminder every time you forget them - “Making time to care for myself isn’t selfish, it’s absolutely necessary!”
We understand that as a new parent, it can be hard to find the time to do EVERYTHING that you want or need to do. But caring for your own needs is truly important to both your mental and physical well-being. Here are some simple self-care tips for new mothers that can really make a difference to how you feel.
1. Start with the simple things like taking a shower
A long, luxurious shower is one of those things that most new moms dream about! This is especially true if you are your baby’s sole caretaker during the daytime. In between attending to your baby, completing chores and trying to catch a few winks, a shower usually gets pushed to the bottom of your ‘to-do’ list. However, according to experts, doing something as simple as taking a shower can greatly enhance your mood. Worried about leaving the baby unattended while you’re in the bathroom? Set up your baby’s bassinet or rocker right outside the bathroom and leave the door open so that you can quickly check on a baby if the need arises. Try not to rush through your shower and enjoy these few moments of serenity.
Here are some other small things that can help make you feel better – taking the time to brush your hair, pampering yourself with some body lotion, taking a power nap, giving yourself a hair oil massage or even getting a new haircut.
2. Put together some comfy postpartum outfits before your baby arrives
Remember when you were younger and always felt like you had ‘nothing to wear’? Now multiply that feeling into 10 and that’s probably how you’ll feel about dressing your postpartum self. It’s that odd in-between phase where your maternity clothes are too big for you and your pre-pregnancy clothes don’t quite fit yet!
The best way to deal with this is to manage it before your baby arrives while you still have a good amount of spare time. Put together a bunch of comfy yet cute postpartum clothes that you know will make you FEEL good! As a new mother, you probably won’t have time to scramble through your closet each day so it can be really helpful to have a set of go-to clothing for your daily needs. When putting together your postpartum wardrobe, make sure that the clothes you choose are nursing-friendly. Make one set of comfortable ‘at-home’ clothing for daily wear, and one for when you go outdoors. As your bra size will also change, you will need new bras, including ones for nursing. And as you already know, ladies – a comfy bra can make a world of difference to how you feel!
3. Step outside daily, even if it’s just for a few minutes
We understand. Going outside, even if only for a short while, involves a ton of preparation. But we promise it’ll be worth it, Mummas. Nature therapy is the best therapy for new moms!
Take a short walk around your neighbourhood, or if you’re feeling adventurous, hit the nearest park. It’s also a great way of getting a little social interaction, especially if you’re home alone with a baby all day.
4. Promise yourself ONE amazing meal every day
In a perfect world, you’d ideally be eating three wholesome nutritious meals daily, with lots of healthy snacks in between. But if we’re being totally realistic, cooking yourself a decent meal is probably the last thing on your mind right now. That said, you need to make sure you’re getting the right amount of nutrition to help your body heal and recover, and also, to help care for and breastfeed your baby. Here are some tips to help you do that – (1) Plan/make yourself one delicious and wholesome meal every day, whether it is for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Pack it with flavour and essential nutrients. Try and sit back and enjoy your meal without rushing. (2) Stock up on healthy snacks and leave them next to your bed/nursing area. (3) Subscribe to a meal delivery service (dabba) for a few weeks OR ask close family/friends to send over home-cooked food whenever possible.
5. Be KIND to yourself
Being a new mom can be really overwhelming at times. And the truth is – there is no such thing as a ‘perfect’ parent. So, instead of worrying about whether you’re doing every little thing correctly, reflect on what an awesome job you’re doing. It can also be really easy to get drawn into the world of social media where you see other new mothers/celebrities posting glamorous pictures of themselves and their babies. What’s important to remember is that BEHIND these perfect pictures are REAL people just like yourself who are facing the same challenges and experiences as you are. If you find yourself constantly drawing comparisons or feeling envious/upset, take a digital detox for a bit and see if you feel better.
6. Say YES when someone offers help
They say it takes a village to raise a child and it’s absolutely true! You don’t have to do everything all on your own. Ask for help from family and friends. It could be something as simple as asking them to bring over some food when they visit, watching the baby for a few minutes while you do something else, or doing simple household chores for you.
7. Find your Mom tribe
The only person who knows exactly what you are feeling/going through at the moment is ANOTHER new Mom! Joining a community ‘mom group’ is great for so many reasons – you can exchange stories, tips, share advice and simply be there for one another. It can be really helpful, especially for first-time moms.
8. Care well for your postpartum body
Don’t forget that you’ve recently given birth and that your body needs time to heal as well. Click here to read our top post-pregnancy care tips for new mothers, from getting enough sleep to tips on breastfeeding for new moms.
Along with your body, pay attention to your mental health as well. A lot of moms experience overwhelming feelings of sadness, frustration, loneliness and anxiety after birth. In cases where these feelings last longer than a couple of weeks, you may even have postpartum depression. Don’t hesitate speaking to a medical professional about this right from the start. It’s also important to talk to and take the support of those around you at this time.
9. Do stuff that makes YOU happy
You may want to spend most of your time with your precious new baby but it’s also important to carve some time to do things just for yourself! What are some of the things that make YOU happy? Whether it’s listening to an interesting podcast, watching Netflix, baking or even taking up a hobby like painting or knitting, try and find time for these things once in a while.
Do you have any self-care advice for new moms? Share your ideas in a comment below.