Becoming a new parent can be an amazing experience but it can also feel overwhelming. New parents can find they no longer have much time for themselves. They may also be struggling with postnatal depression (this goes for both mothers and fathers and if you feel low it’s important to speak with your doctor). A new baby can affect our relationships with other members of our family too. It may also create increased financial strains. Self-care for new moms is vital for the early beginnings and beyond.
Self-Care Tips for New Moms
Due to the impact a new baby can have on our lives, at a time when we’re giving almost all of our attention to our newborn, it’s important to focus on ourselves too. Self-care isn’t selfish and even if you’re totally absorbed with your new baby take some time for yourself. Taking time to recharge and support you will help you be the best parent you can be. May is maternal mental health awareness month. Here are eight self-care tips to help you to look after yourself as you adjust to your role as a new mom:
1. Plan Your Self-Care
It can be difficult to make plans as a new parent but identifying a day and time that’s usually free can help make self-care easier. For example, perhaps your baby always sleeps in the afternoon. Or maybe your partner or a friend looks after your baby every Saturday. If you can identify some regular free time try to block it out as time for you to focus on self-care. You can then use this time to look after yourself. For instance, you might choose to exercise, nap, go for a walk, get a massage, or anything else that will support your well-being.
2. Look After Your Body
Focus on eating healthy food and drinking plenty of water. It can be tempting to want to return to our pre-baby shape as quickly as possible but remember that your body needs extra nutrients at the moment. Sleep is also an important way to look after yourself. Try to go to bed very early or sleep when your baby sleeps. If this isn’t possible then see if a friend or family member can look after your baby and use this time to get some uninterrupted sleep.
3. Find Social Support
It can feel difficult to reach out to others and ask for help but it’s nothing to be ashamed of. We all need some support as we parent. Identify who you have around you in your social network and how they may be able to help you. Some people might live close enough to support with practical tasks such as childcare. Others may be a listening ear on the telephone or able to offer advice. Families are often able to step in but don’t forget that friends, co-workers, and neighbors are there too. It can also help to identify the professional support you have around you such as midwives, doctors, social workers, or therapists. You don’t have to parent alone.
4. Get Outside
When we have a newborn it can feel all too easy to stay inside. We might feel safe with our routine at home, so it can be difficult to venture out. However, staying at home too much can affect our emotional well-being and it can also be good for our baby to have new experiences outside the house. To get out more you could plan to meet a friend for coffee. Perhaps look for a local mom-and-baby exercise group to join. Even going for a walk is a positive activity to do.
5. Make Space For Quiet
With a new baby, it can be tempting to feel that we should always be busy. Whether it’s childcare, chores or actively caring for ourselves it can seem that we’re always on the go. Remind yourself that it’s OK to do nothing sometimes. Having quiet time to reflect can help us to reduce stress and recharge. Ways to embrace being quiet include putting our phones away for an hour. You could try playing calming music and just relaxing. Or allow yourself to daydream. It’s OK to take a break.
6. Remember To Spend Time With Adults Too
Even though you might be busy with your baby you need time to socialise and see friends too. When we first become a parent people may be in touch to congratulate us but they might then think we need space as we adjust to our new lifestyle. Don’t worry if you haven’t heard from your pre-baby friends for a while. Try reaching out to them and letting them know you’d like to meet up. You could also consider joining a social group where you can talk with other parents. Meeting with friends at least every few weeks supports your emotional well-being and reduces stress. If you really can’t get out then try to arrange a phone call or video chat with a friend instead.
7. Keep Up With Health And Well-Being Appointments
As a parent, it can feel difficult enough to remember our children’s healthcare appointments and so we often forget our own. However, even though you’re a new mom it’s still important to look after your own health needs too. Make a calendar or set phone reminders for your regular dental checkup or cleaning. Use the same method for doctor visits and any other appointments such as hairstyling. Check-in with friends or family in advance to see if they can support you with childcare too.
8. Learn To Be Kind To Yourself
Parenting is difficult and being a new parent is full of challenges and ups and downs. It’s completely normal to have difficult emotions and as a new parent, we might feel frustrated, sad, negative or angry. Be kind to yourself for feeling this way. You might want to try journaling your feelings. Or talking about them with a friend. You could also consider reaching out for professional support if you feel it could help. Try not to judge yourself as a new parent or compare yourself to others. Focus on your own pathway through parenting. It’s likely you’re doing much better than you’re giving yourself credit for.
How Can Online-Therapy.com Help with Self-Care?
If you’ve tried out some of these tips already and would like to explore self-care and being a new mom further then Online-Therapy.com can help. By signing up with our program you can choose a therapist who will work with you to develop a personalized toolkit to support you with adjusting to having a newborn and to help you to look after yourself too. You can choose to have your therapy sessions by video, phone, or text chat (couple counseling will be video only), making Online-Therapy.com a flexible and convenient option for new parents.
At Online-Therapy.com we offer an integrated and holistic package to enable you to feel at your best. Our approach includes regular sessions with your chosen therapist, unlimited messaging and worksheet support, journaling and yoga. This ongoing support means that you have the daily expert guidance you need to learn strategies for looking after yourself whilst you parent as soon as you sign up.