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The moment you have been dreaming about for the past 9 or so months has finally arrived. It’s time to bring your sweet bundle of joy home! The emotions are almost too much to process. You are still on a high from the joy of bringing your child into the world. However, eventually that adrenaline will wear off and reality will begin to set in. You will soon realize just how demanding taking care of a newborn can be. The exhaustion will soon set in and you will go into survival mode. Life will quickly become all about keeping your sweet baby alive, fed, and happy.
New moms have so much to worry about when it comes to taking care of a newborn. Are they eating enough? Have they had enough wet diapers today? Why can’t I get them to stop crying? Should their umbilical cord look like that? The list of things a new parent stresses about is endless. It’s easy for a mother to get wrapped up in caring for her child and forget about herself. Unfortunately, it’s all too common.
As difficult as it may be, mothers need to set aside the time to take care of themselves as well. We would never allow our children to go without basic needs such as food, water, sleep, and proper hygiene. So, why do we allow ourselves to? It’s important to remember that in order to take care of others we must properly take care of ourselves. That’s why I am sharing my best self care tips for new moms. By doing these simple tasks new moms will be healthier and happier.
Take a shower daily – I know first hand how difficult it can be to fit a shower in during those first few months. It seems like such a simple task, but somedays it feels like the stars have to align just perfectly to take even a quick 5 minute shower. However, it is so important to try to fit a shower or a bath in daily. A nice hot shower will leave you feeling relaxed, refreshed, and ready to take on the day. I’ll list out a few quick tips for how I fit a shower in during the newborn phase and how you can too.
- Lay baby in a Rock ‘n Play in the bathroom while you shower.
- Switch your shower curtain out for a clear curtain so baby can see you.
- Shower with your baby.
- Take a shower in the morning before your spouse leaves or in the evening when they get home.
- If your baby naps in their crib take a quick shower during nap time.
Get dressed in the morning – One of my favorite self care tips is to take the time to get dressed every morning. You should make sure to do this even on the days you don’t plan on going anywhere. Now I’m not saying you need to get dressed up. In fact, it’s perfectly fine if you change into jeans and a t-shirt or a pair of workout clothes. Getting up and getting ready for the day doesn’t just leave you feeling refreshed. It also is a great confidence and mood booster!
Take the time to eat – This is another basic human need that many new moms are depriving themselves of. It’s so easy to get lost in your baby’s needs. Next thing you know you look at the clock and it’s 8:00 at night and you haven’t eaten all day. It’s crucial that you don’t allow this to happen to you. Your body needs fuel to function properly. You’ve got to find the time to eat during the day if you want to have the energy and strength to care for your little one.
In a perfect world you would get three well balanced meals down during the day. However, I’m a mom and I’ve been there, so I know that isn’t always realistic. Make it a goal to eat at least one well balanced meal while sitting down per day. The rest of your meals can be simple foods that can be made quickly and ate standing up. Also, try to keep snacks like trail mix or granola bars at your feeding stations. That way you can have a quick bite to eat throughout the day while feeding your baby.
Stay hydrated – Just like food, water is a basic human need. You can’t survive without it. Your body simply cannot function the way it is supposed to when you are dehydrated. That’s why even though it is difficult you must try to drink the recommended amount of water per day. I recommend keeping multiple bottles of water in various locations around the house. For example, I would have one in our living room, in the baby’s room, and next to my bed. That way no matter where I am I always have water with me. It’s one less thing to try to remember. If you aren’t a fan of plain water you can always add in gatorade, iced tea, or flavored water to the mix to stay hydrated.
Take a nap – Sleep is hard to come by during those first few months. So, take advantage of any opportunity to get sleep that you can. You’ll hear people tell you over and over again to sleep when the baby sleeps. It’s the truth! I promise you the laundry and dishes can wait. It’s okay to order takeout for one night. Eventually, you will get back into your old routine, but for now it’s okay to be a bit of a slacker.
Schedule some you time – Your whole life will change the moment you bring your child into this world. Your whole world will revolve around your little bundle of joy. Trust me, you wouldn’t want it any other way. Your new role as a mother is truly a blessing, but it’s important to not forget who you were before. It’s all too easy to become lost in your identity as “mom”. That’s why it’s so crucial to make sure to schedule in some me time as well.
You should never feel guilty setting aside the time to do the activities you enjoyed before becoming a mom. Take the time to get a manicure, go for a walk, see a movie, eat dinner with your friends, or go shopping. It’s important to remember who you were before becoming a mom. Don’t ever let that part of you slip away. Take the time to find a balance between you time and family time. This truly is one of the best things you can do for yourself as a parent.
Connect with your partner outside of the baby – It is so easy to become lost in your new roles as parents. Your baby quickly becomes your number one priority. During those first few months they need so much from you that it’s easy to let other priorities slip away. However, one day your little baby will grow up and leave the nest. Once they are gone it will be just you and your spouse again. That’s why it is so important to take the time to nurture your marriage as well.
Set aside some time each day to connect with your partner on something other then your baby. This can be as simple as sending them a text saying how much you love them or having a cup of coffee together in the morning before the baby wakes up. Once your baby gets a little bit older try to bring date nights back into the mix. Getting out of the house and doing something together just the two of you is a great way to stay connected.
Ask for help – One of the best pieces of self care advice that I can give to a new mom is to ask for help. I know you feel like you should be able to do it all. However, that expectation is just so unrealistic. It truly does take a village to raise children. It’s not easy. If you need a break call your close friends or your parents. I’m sure they would love to spend some quality time with your adorable baby so you can get some rest. True bravery and strength is being able to admit you can’t do it alone.