There is no better blessing in life than becoming a brand new mom. But what happens when you realize you feel burnt out, or overwhelmed, or just plain exhausted? Read on for 5 new mom self care hacks to help you feel like yourself again.
Your baby is here! You’ve dreamt of this day for months: coming home with your baby to finally use your nursery you spent so much time decorating. You get to dress your baby in all those cute outfits you got at your baby shower. Best of all, you get to bond with the most beautiful tiny human you’ve ever set your eyes on.
You’ve read all the baby books, you’ve got your bassinet ready, swaddling blankets, and either a breast or formula ready for action. But then…REALITY HITS YOU.
Maybe your baby isn’t sleeping, so neither are you. You’re dealing with with pee, poop, or puke and you can’t figure out why the baby is crying today. And hey, when is the last time you showered or got some real rest?
The struggle is real, momma. While wonderful in so many ways, the newborn stage can also be incredibly exhausting, frustrating, scary and emotional. I want you to know you’re not alone!
After being a mom for 7 years, guest blogger Vanessa is sharing some of her best tips for remembering to also take care of yourself during this time.
A newborn baby will flip your world upside down, and no book on the planet can really prepare you for what’s coming. Regardless, those baby books only try to prepare you for how to take care of the baby, but don’t really talk about how to take care of YOU!
You have to be intentional about new mom self-care! So, take a deep breath, and jot down these 5 new mom self-care hacks to help you take care of yourself while taking care of your baby.
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5 New Mom Self Care Hacks
#1 Mommy Nap Time
You will be tired, momma. You need to make sure you SLEEP. When my son was a newborn, I barely got any sleep the first month. I couldn’t figure out how to breastfeed properly, he was always crying, he wouldn’t sleep in his crib, and I was losing my mind.
Lack of sleep is detrimental to your physical and mental wellbeing. You need sleep…period. And having a newborn baby is no excuse not to get any sleep.
So, how do you do it?
Sleep when the baby sleeps. Baby naps are momma naps. That is all you need to know. Newborn babies take a lot of naps – and one (or a few) of those nap times is a perfect opportunity for you to let everything else go, and get some rest.
Forget the dishes, forget the laundry, forget scrolling through your social media feed or posting those newborn baby pics – when your baby is finally asleep, get some shut-eye.
I know it’s tempting to want to get other things done around the house, but sometimes you have to set certain things aside to prioritize your own health – so make sure you sleep when the baby sleeps so you’re well-rested and ready to be a super mom.
There were a few things that really helped me when I struggled to nap, like an eye mask, essential oils and my own white noise machine!
#2 Baby Wearing is a Game Changer
So, if you’re napping when the baby is napping, when are you going to get things done around the house? Living in a messy home can affect your mental health. The last thing any new mom needs is to feel the stress of piled up dishes or dirty laundry.
Every baby is different. Some are happy in a bouncer or rocker while others can stay distracted playing with baby toys – and some babies want to be held 24/7. I had one of those needy 24/7 babies, and it was a challenge to get anything done.
So, how do you get things done while the baby is awake? Buy a baby carrier! This was a lifesaver for me when I was a new mom. All I needed to do was put him on and get to work!
Babies love looking around and exploring – and carrying my son around in the baby carrier while I swept, mopped, and washed dishes was fun for him and productive for me. Baby piggyback rides meant getting things done – and I was able to avoid the stress of a messy house.
There are so many amazing baby carrier options out there. Here are a few wonderful ones to check out.
#3 Stay Active
You will be exhausted. Even if you’re napping during the day – being a new mom drains your energy levels. Your body is recovering from having carried a baby and given birth. It will be tempting to just rest and rest and rest. But while sleep and rest are important, you also need to stay active.
Exercising and staying active as a new mom can help your body recover faster. It is so important to incorporate fitness into your new mom routine. So, put the baby in the stroller and go for a daily walk. Hold your baby in your arms and dance with your baby for 15 minutes each day – both you and your baby will enjoy this.
Do whatever you need to do in order to get some exercise every day to keep your body and mind healthy for your baby. Even a little bit of exercise each day will help you feel better faster, and is a wonderful way to practice new mom self-care.
#4 Get Some Grub
It is not surprising how easy it is to neglect your nutrition as a new mom. All you think about when you bring that baby home is about the baby. Did the baby eat enough? Need a diaper change? Need to be burped? You can get so wrapped up in the wellbeing of your baby that you totally neglect your own wellbeing!
Make sure that you’re eating – and make sure that you’re eating well. Don’t think just because you’re no longer pregnant, you can eat unhealthy foods and pig out. It is just as important after birth to eat healthy and nutritional meals.
Your body just went through a lot and is going through a lot to bounce back – feed your body what it needs.
#5 Treat Yourself
Congratulations, you’ve survived! You grew a baby in your tummy, you helped that baby thrive inside of you, you gave birth to your baby, and you’ve successfully brought that baby home.
Don’t you agree that you need some kind of trophy for that? Surviving the labor pains alone deserves praise!
This last new mom self-care hack is extremely important – and that is to treat yourself. Let a friend or family member take care of the baby, while you go out for a spa treatment. Go get your nails done with a friend. Go watch that movie you’ve been wanting to watch – or if you’re like me, go shopping!
Give yourself a break, momma, and do something you love! Because even moms need a break from time to time – so make sure that you plan to treat yourself every so often to maintain your sanity during your new-mom life.
You’re a Supermom
Don’t worry – it will get easier. You will figure out how to get your baby to sleep more, how to properly breastfeed, or how to help your baby stop crying.
You will both figure out a mommy and baby schedule for your day – and you will slowly but surely start to figure everything else out. All moms are supermoms. And you’re another one.
But don’t get so busy taking such great care of your new baby – you forget to take care of yourself. Don’t lose yourself in motherhood. I repeat – don’t lose yourself in motherhood. Because you can get so focused on helping your baby thrive, you lose focus on yourself.
So, make sure you take advantage of the baby’s nap time and get enough sleep. Maintain a clean and healthy environment for you and your baby with piggyback rides to get chores done. And take care of your body and mind with proper nutrition and exercise.
But most importantly, make sure you’re giving yourself a break from time to time and treat yourself. Because the best way to guarantee you’re doing the best job taking care of your new baby is by doing a great job taking care of yourself.
Vanessa Cooper is a freelance writer, blogger, and social media manager. She is a busy wife and mom focused on helping women learn how to take care of themselves by blogging about personal development and self-care. She loves spending time with her family, watching movies, reading, shopping, and traveling. You can learn more about Vanessa at Network Nessi or check out her blog at Love & Vice.