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Feeling The Ups And Downs Of New Motherhood? Learn to Practice Self-Care as a New Mom

Becoming a mother is a huge, complicated life transition that can rock every fiber of a person's being. When you’re a new mom, practicing self-care is challenging, but it’s also important. Your self-care needs are high, and you’re busy with newborns and major life changes. Ironically, just when you need self-care most is when it’s most difficult to achieve!



What Is Self-Care?


Self-care is about making sure your physical, emotional, and social needs are being met. It’s about taking care of your whole self and setting aside time to maintain your wellbeing.

When it comes to self-care, your goal is to be sure you:


  • Eat nutritious, enjoyable food.

  • Exercise is something to help you feel good in your body and get a rush of endorphins.

  • Get the sleep you need.

  • Have time to reflect and enjoy a quiet moment.

  • Hydrate!

  • See your primary care provider, your therapist, the dentist—whoever you need to see to stay healthy in mind and body.

  • Set aside time to work on a hobby, passion, or career to maintain a sense of purpose and meaning.

  • Shower, get your hair cut, clean your clothes, change your bedsheets.

  • Socialize with friends or family, not just online but also in person.


This sounds so simple… until you have a newborn baby, and finding time to take a shower feels like your biggest challenge of the day!


Why Self-Care Is Important

Many people struggle with making time for themselves, and it’s especially difficult for new moms. Caregivers (of all sorts) put the needs of everyone else above theirs. But someone needs to take care of the caregiver. (That someone is you!)


Self-care is essential to maintaining your own health and also key to your child’s physical and mental wellbeing.

  • Self-care helps you maintain your sense of self-worth.

  • Practicing self-care sets a good example for your children.

  • Caregiver burnout can make you physically sick.

  • Your nutrition needs are extremely important.

  • Caregiver burnout can make you emotionally unwell.

  • Parental depression and anxiety can negatively impact childhood development.


Self-Care Challenges


So, you understand making time for self-care is important. But that doesn’t change the fact that it’s not easy to do. It’s frustrating when people throw advice out at you like, “Just make time for yourself,” or “You need to sleep when your baby sleeps!”


We are not suggesting the solution to self-care is so simple. It’s difficult; we know. Here are some possible solutions to common new-mom self-care challenges. There are no magic potions or Harry Potter-like spells listed below, but some of these tips might provide an idea or two that you can use.


Here are a few possible ways to get more zz’s:


  • Go to bed very, very early.

  • Practice immaculate sleep hygiene. For example, only use your bedroom for sleeping, avoid using your phone before bedtime (or use a blue light filter), go to bed and wake up at about the same time every day, and don’t drink caffeinated beverages within six hours of bedtime.

  • Ask a friend or significant other to watch the baby so you can sleep. This doesn’t need to be at night. This can be between 7 pm and 11 pm at night, or it can be from 11 am to 3 pm. It may not be daily; it may only happen once a week. But it’ll help!


Healthy Food

Tasty, nutritious food and hydration. Who has time to cook? Or shop? Or sit down and eat? Yet, you need to eat!


Here are some possible ways to make it happen:


  • Get your groceries delivered. If you can afford it, and it’s available locally, grocery delivery will save your life.

  • Make a list of snacks and quick healthy foods.

  • Fill up a big water bottle with ice and a lemon slice every morning.

  • Invite a friend over to cook with you. You get social time plus food time


Quiet Time

Babies aren’t quiet. And, if you have other kids, they are even less quiet! We live in a busy, noisy world. Here are some ways to get some reflection time.


  • Put your phone down. Our phones can be a wonderful distraction, but they can also be a source of anxiety and "noise."

  • Play meditation music. Or ocean waves, thunderstorm audio tracks, anything that is calming.

  • Refrain from doing anything for at least one of your baby's naps. Don’t clean. Don’t cook. Don’t sleep. Just take the time to be.


Exercise

While it's important to get your body moving, who has time to go to the gym when you can’t even go pee by yourself? Exercise is just a movement that gets your heart rate up. With that in mind, here are some ideas:


  • Put on some upbeat music when you clean

  • Go for a walk. One of your baby’s naps can be from the stroller. If you can’t walk outside, go to a mall or even a grocery store. Walk quickly, and you’ll get some exercise in.

  • Join a mommy-baby exercise class. If you have the money and time, look for a mommy-baby exercise class.


Time to Socialize With Adults

Talking to human beings that “use their words” (i.e., adult socialization time!) Yet, you never leave the house. You still need friends when you become a new mom. Your baby (or children) can’t be your sole source of human contact.



As a new mom, you need to take care of your baby and yourself. Sometimes, it’s not that we can’t make time for self-care, it’s that we don’t think it’s important. But self-care is important—for your health and your baby’s.


Try your best, ask for help from friends and family, and know that whatever you do to take care of your own mental and physical health will have a positive impact on your baby’s wellbeing.








Credits: verywellfamily.com