The new mother’s guide to self-care.
Approximately 78% of moms admit they prioritize the health of their families over their own. However, placing your personal needs on the back burner can lead to stress and faster burnout, especially in the first few months of motherhood.
Self-care is essential for new mothers as they begin to care for not only themselves but also their newborn babies. When you make time to care for yourself, you’re able to provide the best care to your little one. Here are six simple ways you can commit to caring for yourself in the months following childbirth:
Set aside time to rest and reset
Although it’s well worth it in the end, giving birth can be physically and mentally taxing. Your body won’t bounce back to its original state overnight, which is why it’s important to give your body the rest it needs to heal. Resting allows your body to recover much faster so you can return to your normal self in no time.
Allowing yourself time to rest is a simple way to show your body the love it deserves postpartum. Try to be intentional with your sleep schedule, and sleep whenever your baby sleeps. Take advantage of the moments when you can relax, even if it’s only for a few minutes. When you’re not able to sleep, embrace “me time”, and do things that make you feel calm and at peace, such as watching a movie, laying down, or meditating. This will allow you to heal faster, avoid extreme fatigue, and conserve energy for when your baby needs you.
Tend to your body
Pregnancy has a great impact on your life and your physical appearance. A few common bodily changes after pregnancy include hair loss, skin discoloration, stretch marks, and varicose veins. These serve as physical souvenirs for the past nine months, but their appearance can impact the self-esteem of new mothers.
Many of these bodily changes are only temporary and fade over time. However, if you’re not feeling like yourself after pregnancy, there are things you can do to regain your confidence postpartum. For instance, taking a warm bath, applying a stretch mark cream, or using products that target hair loss may help reduce their appearance and help you feel more comfortable in your changing body.
Make time for your health
Aside from scheduling your baby’s wellness appointments, it’s important to prioritize your own health, too. In addition to your postpartum checkup, you should schedule an annual physical, dental cleaning, and eye exam. Make it a point to schedule these appointments well in advance, so you won’t have to worry about forgetting one. Though the first few months will be hectic, scheduling your appointments ahead of time will ensure you tend to your health.
In addition, your mental health is just as important as your physical health in the months after pregnancy. If you experience postpartum depression from stress, lack of sleep, or hormonal fluctuations, be sure to speak to your doctor so he or she can connect you with the proper resources. Tending to your mental, physical, and emotional health care needs will ensure you’re feeling your absolute best.
While you’ll be exhausted in the days following childbirth, there are many physical and emotional benefits of postpartum exercise. Exercise can help prevent postpartum depression, relieve stress, and boost energy levels. Over time, it can also help you shed any extra weight you may have gained during pregnancy.
You’ll want to give your body some time to recover after giving birth, so be sure to start slow and gradually introduce light exercises into your workout. Taking a stroll around your neighborhood, practicing kegel exercises, and adopting a stretching routine are all easy ways to keep your body moving as you start or return to being active.
Establish a strong support system
Turning to outside help is one of the best forms of self-care for new mothers. Rely on your friends and family for guidance and support in the months following pregnancy. Don’t be afraid to ask an individual you trust to watch after your baby when you need a few minutes to catch up on sleep, run errands, or just take a moment for yourself. Whenever possible, delegate tasks like cooking and cleaning to others to ensure you don’t overwork yourself.
Avoid isolating yourself completely as this can take a toll on your mental health. Instead, spend time socializing with friends. This could be as simple as meeting up for a cup of coffee to get out of the house and have some fun. If you’re not in the mood to go out, you don’t have to thrust yourself into the public social sphere. There are also online support groups for new mothers to connect and share their experiences with one another. Building a strong support system, whether in-person or online, will help you feel loved and supported during these stressful months.
Find what works best for you
Every woman’s postpartum experience is unique, so it’s important to determine the best way to show yourself some love. Whether it’s a warm bath, a new haircut, or a walk around the block, explore activities that make you feel good in your postpartum body. Consider your personal needs, and craft a self-care checklist that works with your schedule. Then, make it a point to stick to your schedule for some guaranteed time dedicated to yourself.
Motherhood is a full-time job and then some. It’s not realistic to tend to the 24/7 demands of your baby without a break. With these self-care tips, you’ll ensure you carve out time in your day-to-day to care for and reward yourself for all that you do.