Self-care is usually put on the back burner when you’re a new parent. Having a baby is one of the most rewarding and exciting experiences you’ll have in life, but it can also be one of the most challenging and stressful. We know you have a lot on your plate and that the thought of taking time away from your baby can seriously stress you out. But we have some news for you; if you practice some self-care, you will feel more refreshed and energised and help you better manage everything on your plate.
The idea that self-care is indulgent or frivolous is outdated and wrong. Self-care is important for your mental health and wellbeing.
That said we know it’s not always easy with a baby especially in those early months. , so you have to think a little differently and find ways to find pockets of joy throughout your day. Long indulgent days at the spa or weekends away will be in your future, but right now you need little sparks to keep your internal flame alight.
1. Wash away your woes
While taking a shower is usually a natural routine for the average person, it becomes an indulgence for a new mum. But it is the perfect opportunity to steal a few precious moments for yourself. Having uninterrupted time, even if it’s for 5-10 minutes can give you the space you need from your family to reset or to start your day. It gives you a chance to slow down, to think and to relax. Showering can often take a backseat when you have a newborn, but remember if you don’t look after yourself, you won’t be your best version for your baby. Even if you can only manage a two-minute shower, the burst of water will help revitalise you and feel like you accomplished something for yourself.
2. A breath of fresh air
Fresh air never did anybody harm, and it can immensely improve your mental health. Taking a few minutes out of your day to go outside, take a few deep breaths and even having your bare feet touching the grass can make you feel renewed. These little moments are extremely important and allow you to check-in with yourself. If your baby is taking a nap in the pram, going for a brisk walk outside can be perfect too. You can take time again to think while your baby is sleeping.
3. Dress to impress
Sweatpants are amazing, comfortable and give you the wiggle room you need postpartum, but, they’re not always going to make you feel your best. Making a point to dress up for yourself occasionally can help to give you a mental boost. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but putting on jeans once in a while or some chic loungewear can make you feel more like yourself and less like a slave to your baby’s needs. Getting up, putting some make-up on (if that’s your thing) or doing your hair can make you feel more productive and motivated for the day ahead.
4. Pamper yourself
Haircuts, getting your brows done or even getting a massage don’t have to be things of the past. Looking after you should be a priority, and you may have to plan these a little more in advance the days but try blocking out a day out once a month that’s dedicated to you. Leave the baby with a trusted caregiver and pamper yourself. Giving yourself these little moments can boost your confidence and help you connect with your sense of self and who you are outside of your role as mum.
5. Comfort food for the win!
Before your baby comes, make sure you create a stockpile of your favourite foods and snacks. When your baby is here, you might feel too busy to shop for what you like; having these snacks around will give you the boost you’ll need to be there for a crying baby. Keep them mostly healthy to give you the nutrition and energy you need to get you through the long days and nights – but also throw in a cheeky indulgent treat here or there! Having stations around your house can be a good idea, especially where you breastfeed in case you get stuck there under a feeding or sleeping bub and hunger strikes!
6. You do you
Just because you have a baby now, it doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice the things you once did. Don’t forget who you used to be and what you enjoyed doing. Reading, knitting, watching movies or a favourite Netflix series shouldn’t be put on hold. Regain your individualism and take at least an hour a week (or even daily if you can) to do what makes you happy outside of your family. You will start to feel happier doing the things you once loved to do.
7. Support systems
You are independent, and you are strong, but that doesn’t mean you can’t rely on a few trusted people. Your partner, your parents, your best friends are all people who you can lean on when things get overwhelming. Communicate your stresses and fears, more often than not, these support networks you create can advise you and can help with some of the anxiety you are feeling. You partners are often experiencing the same kinds of stresses. Remember to balance out the workload and let them also enjoy self-care moments.
8. Eat, drink, love, repeat
Eating healthy and staying hydrated is crucial; don’t forget to eat because you’re occupied with your baby. You need to remain healthy to be there for your child, meal prep some healthy dishes or create fruit bowls which you can snack on throughout the day. Drinking plenty of water (at least 8 glasses) will improve your focus, lessen headaches and can help you stay motivated throughout the whole day. Do not go hungry, if your baby is still breastfeeding/on formula wait for their nap to eat, if they’ve moved onto solids, eat together.
9. Sleeping is not for the weak
On average, you should be sleeping at least 7-9 hours every night. Now, while this is sometimes virtually impossible with a newborn or a fussy sleeper, you need to prioritise your sleep. When your baby is napping during the day, take that time to have a nap yourself. We know the old ‘sleep when the baby sleeps’ advice it tired (pun intended) but in those early weeks and months, it truly is important. The sleepless nights and long days won’t last forever, so do what you can to get through them right now – so get to bed early, nap or at least rest while your baby does and get your partner to help out with the night feeds or early starts.
10. Switch off!
‘Time-outs’ are usually synonymous with punishment, but for you, it’ll be a reward. Giving yourself an hour to yourself to just do nothing – watch a TV-show or sit in the silence and scroll Instagram or do a meditation. Remember that you are not just a parent, you are a person and you need a mental break. While you might feel guilty for leaving your baby, you have to remind yourself that you need independence and space.
Be kind to yourself and remember that you are doing a great job, parenting is never easy, and it is challenging but also immensely rewarding. By taking care of yourself, you can be the best parent you can be for your baby. We here at Kiindred hope you enjoy taking the time out to feel good about yourself. Don’t stress because you’re doing a great job!