7 Self-Care Tips For New Mothers

New moms must be one of the most deserving – and least tended to – populations needing self-care! With all the body has been through to grow and deliver a baby, combined with the physical energy and giving that continues to nourish, comfort, and tend to the needs of a newborn infant, self-care is essential.

 

That said, new mothers are also the least likely group to focus on themselves, with various reasons – mostly revolving around feeling like there just isn’t enough time to do so. However, failing to care for yourself puts you at greater risk of parenting burnout or postpartum depression, both of which we want to avoid or notably minimize.

Does that sound familiar? If so, we recommend that you share this with all of the people who love you most so they can help support the worthy cause of promoting the well-being of your body, mind, and soul.

1. Assemble your post-partum tribe (and use them!)

How many people have told you, “Let us know if you need anything!” They mean it.

 

We’ve heard it said that “It takes a village to raise a child,” but you can also just stop at “It takes a village…” Humans need one another and thrive when given a chance to support and lift up those in need – especially new moms we love. Right now, as a new mom, you’re in need, and your village truly wants to be there for you.

 

People are eager and willing to help, but most won’t just come in and do it without the ask. If you know you’re someone who has difficulty asking, assign one person who isn’t afraid (your partner, your mom/in-law, a sibling, a dear friend, etc). They’ll get to work assembling the rest.

 

Are you newer to the area, or don’t have much of a tribe to speak of? There are other ways to take advantage of a village:

 

2. Create a signup calendar for your first-rung needs

Everyone’s needs are different. Some people need help with meals, while others prefer support with errand running or chores. Using a calendar also widens the field for others, giving them the chance to help you in more varied ways. For example, your neighbor may prefer to walk the dog or mow your lawn rather than arrange a meal for you.

 

Have one of your village members set up a signup calendar specific to your needs. We recommend using Lotsa Helping Hands or CareCalendar, which allows you to specify what you need – and when. You can also block out dates and times as desired. Spread your requests out over a longer period of time rather than bunched in the first couple weeks to 2 months. Often, things are crowded in the first few weeks (which can be overwhelming) and then more sparse during months two, three, and four – when you may be more tired and need the extra help

3. Sleep when the baby sleeps

How many times have you read this? And how often have you done it? We tell new mothers to ditch the idea of “regular time” because you’re on “newborn time” now. This means it will take a bit before there’s any clarity for your baby between night and day. Instead, there are simply cycles of awake and asleep.

 

By snoozing when your baby snoozes, you’ll get more sleep. The village can help with everything you feel you need to get done (dishes, laundry, meal prepping, etc.) when the baby’s asleep, allowing you extra opportunities for rest. If you’re having a hard time with that during the day, at least try to head to bed earlier than usual whenever you can to grab an extra hour or two of sleep.

 

If you haven’t had your baby yet – and you have other children – think about how the current family bedtime routine may need to shift once the baby arrives. Make some changes beforehand for easier transitions.

4. Get creative around exercise and daily movement

Moving our bodies even in small amounts throughout the day can do wonders for maintaining positive mental health. If you were the type that regularly headed to the gym, new motherhood might mean a creative shift in plans and your definition of exercise may look a little different during this time. Take it easy easy easy those first few weeks, and always check any fitness plans with your OB/GYN to ensure you’re ready.

 

Once you are, create ways to move your body that support your mental well-being along with the physical. Examples include:

 

 

In addition to getting you out of the house, commitment to daily movement boosts endorphins, which help you feel positively energized.

5. Take advantage of relaxation apps

There are all kinds of apps designed for parents, but some of our favorites help parents relax, unwind, and soothe their nervous systems.

 

The first few months of new motherhood take on a more sedentary way of being because newborns require lots of time and attention by way of feeding, changing, and snuggling. When the baby is content, happily dozing, or in that newborn lala-realm, take advantage of relaxation or mindfulness apps that allow you to pause, take deep breaths, calm your mind, and reflect.

6. Start a gratitude journal

The simple act of consciously acknowledging what you’re grateful for profoundly impacts emotional and spiritual well-being. Keep a gratitude journal somewhere you spend time at the end of each day (like the nursery chair or your favorite TV room spot), and jot down three things that inspire thanks. Some days may feel like pulling teeth, but you’ll always be able to think of something (even if it’s as simple as snuggling up in a warm blanket).

7. Register for a postpartum massage or other self-care items for your baby shower

So often, the focus is on the pregnancy. This is natural as it is an exciting time with lots of changes happening already! In addition to thinking about baby items, we encourage you to think about items that will help set you up for successful self-care in the postpartum period so both you and baby are supported.

 

Instead of a traditional baby registry, consider a gift certificate for a massage, reflexology sessions, mani/pedis, your favorite coffee/tea house, your favorite lunch spot, a house cleaning service, etc. Then, take advantage of your village and leave your baby in trusted hands for long enough to use them.

Pediatric Associates of the Northwest Is Part of Your Self-Care Village

The pediatricians, nurses, lactation consultants, and behavioral health providers at Pediatric Associates of the Northwest are part of your new mom self-care village. The next time you schedule an appointment, let’s talk about how you can take good care of yourself during this special – but demanding – time. We have all kinds of ideas, not to mention connections to local professionals dedicated to supporting self-care for new moms like you.

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