Congratulations on bringing a new tiny human into the world. As you’ve probably already gathered, being a mum is no walk in the park. You’ve likely been pushed to the edge of tiredness, forgot to take time out to eat and drink on several occasions and let your usual 10-step beauty routine slip out the window. And the list goes on. Babies are all-consuming, they need you to survive, and with that, you become their means for food, comfort, love, and everything in between. But, there’s come the point, if you keep sacrificing your self-care and give every ounce of yourself to your baby, you’ll burn out. Believe me – it’s definitely a thing! It happens all too often, but it doesn’t have to be that way for you. While you may not be able to spend a Saturday morning indulging in a leisurely lie-in anymore (God I miss a lazy, don’t-get-up-till-midday lie-in). You can still do lots of things to take care of yourself and keep your energy and spirits high. Being a new mum doesn’t mean your life stops.
Getting enough sleep is vital to maintain your sanity. If you’re sleep-deprived, your mood dips, you’re more prone to gaining weight, your energy levels deplete, and your decision-making skills begin to wane. You may be thinking, okay, but when do I sleep? The answer is when the baby sleeps. The washing, cleaning and so on, although it might be tempting to do it can wait! Get as much rest as you can, when you can.
When anything fitness-wise comes up, people usually worry they’ll need to sweat it out at the gym. If that works for you, great, I know it definitely does for me! If it doesn’t, do as the Spanish do (they are, after all, said to be the healthiest people in the world), and walk!
Your baby, providing they’re okay to go outside, is unlikely to mind being bandaged to your chest as you get some fresh air walking around the park or wrapped tightly up in a pushchair watching the world go by as you get a little extra resistance added in. Exercise, like walking, prevents and eases many new Mumma’s problems like baby blues and managing their postpartum body. So, release some feel-good endorphins by making time for fitness, in whatever way works for you.
Ask For Help
Whether you’re in a couple, a single mum, or living with your parents as you take care of your baby, never be afraid to reach out and ask for help. Whether you want to go shopping alone for an hour, you need a full night’s sleep or a date night with your other half. You likely have friends or family that would love to spend time with the little one. Believe me – Steve and I have learnt this the hard way by not asking for time to ourselves when everyone was secretly dying to look after Madison.
And whilst your baby is having so much fun with people energised to spend time with them, you’ll get to have a real break, where you can relax, have some fun and reset.
It’s tempting to spend all your money on your baby, but you matter just as much, and so, if you have the spare cash to treat yourself to something new, why not do it?
Whether it’s a new scarf, lipstick, or a pedicure. Treats like this give you little pick-me-ups, which are so important when you’re spending most of your time taking care of your baby, and all of the ups and downs that come with it. I have really struggled with this recently – Why are mini human clothes SO DAMN CUTE?!?! But treating myself every now and again is definitely a lovely pick me up – a facial is usually my monthly treat.
Just as your baby needs their health checks and sometimes immunisations, you also need to schedule medical appointments for you to keep your health in check. For instance, you may be due a smear test, a dental check-up, or need an appointment with the optician to find more info about what glasses you need. I actually didn’t wear my glasses that often before getting pregnant and after giving birth I waited ages before getting them tested again and oh my gosh I 100% should have gotten an appointment sooner!! Besides, you may need some extra vitamins and nutrients in the postpartum period. In some cases, your doctor may recommend iron infusion at home as a way to replenish iron levels lost during childbirth.
Don’t Be Hard On Yourself.
There’s no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one. Jill Churchill.
Easier said than done, but you should expect a nosey nancy or two to comment on how they think you should look after your baby.
Comments like whether you should breastfeed, when you should wean, how to bathe them, and so on can damage your self-esteem as a mum, especially when you haven’t asked for advice.
It’s essential to know; almost every mum experiences these remarks at one point or another. And the best thing you can do is keep on doing what you think is best for your baby. If you hear someone you trust giving you helpful advice that you appreciate, take it onboard. But anything else, let it fly over your head. Use your initiative – I promise you, what you think is right, is usually right!!
Most importantly, don’t be hard on yourself. You are doing great!
Being with a cute baby all day long, changing nappies, making bottles, and bathing them can be lovely. But it can also become mundane. And you’ll likely begin to crave stimulation elsewhere. Especially with how things have been this year, when you don’t have to isolate, get out and see people! Meeting with others and having a cup of tea and a chat is a great way to gain some fulfilment and perspective – or even just going for a walk, if inside mingling isn’t allowed in your area (Covid doesn’t have to ruin your social life!).
It’s easy to become isolated when you’re with your baby all day long, which isn’t good for your wellbeing. At the same time, some of your friends and family may be at work, so you might wonder who you can spend time with.
There are usually baby groups here and there with other mums on maternity who attend. You could try going to a few, to meet new people. In doing so, you’ll boost your wellbeing.
Yes, eating healthy is easier said than done, especially when you feel sleep-deprived and stressed (because the first thing you want to do is eat alllll of the dairy milk chocolate). Which makes you feel good for a few minutes, and then back to feeling pretty run down. To help you eat healthily and allow your body to recover after giving birth, why not try this: On your next food shop, buy healthy things you like, and leave all but one or two snacks in the trolley. If you have fruit and veg in your fridge but no sweets and snacks. You’ll have no choice but to eat healthy stuff, which, in the long run, is much better for you anyway. I always find if the chocolate is either not in the house or on the tallest shelf that I can’t really reach, then I do better at sticking to healthy eating. And yes, this is a photo of My daughter’s lunch box, but honestly, if you’re not occasionally eating healthy snacks from your kids plate, then you’re doing it wrong anyway.
Us Mums are unsung heroes. We have to take our hand to so many different tasks. More or less, as soon as the baby comes out of the womb. With that, a lot of energy is spent.
With the ideas above, you can make self-care in your life as a new mum work for you. And ensure you hit all the essentials, like sleeping as much as possible and exercising how and when you can.
By taking good care of yourself, you’ll feel better, stronger, and in turn, can give your baby the best of you.
But hey, we’re all just winging it right? 🙂