This Is What Self-Care for New Moms Actually Looks Like – You may have visions of being that perfect mom who can simultaneously feed her baby while whipping together a home-cooked meal and doing an aerobics workout, but the truth is that self-care for moms is often much less exciting than magazines make it out to be. Here are seven tips for real-life self-care after giving birth:
Create a support team.
You definitely don’t have to do everything by yourself as a new mom. In fact, we highly suggest against it! Most people are happy to drop off a meal or help you clean up your house in exchange for some baby snuggles. Some friends and family may not proactively reach out for fear of disturbing you while you’re busy with the baby, so don’t be afraid to be the one to initiate and ask for help. And if your friends and family are the ones volunteering their help, then say yes to it! And the more specific you can be about what you need, the better. Real friends won’t mind doing unglamorous things like grocery runs on your behalf.
Take care of your body.
Whether you do it vaginally or by C-section, birth is a major physical event that your body needs time to recover from. You will likely experience cramping, bleeding, and maybe even postpartum incontinence in the aftermath. For the first few weeks, your doctor will likely order you to rest and focus on staying hydrated, eating healthy, and taking care of the incision site. Once you have healed up, you might need to cut calories to lose the rest of your baby weight or do pelvic floor exercises with Kegel balls in order to rebuild your muscles. It took nine months to grow your baby, so your body won’t recover from it overnight. Be patient with yourself and go at your own pace!
Schedule enough time for sleeping.
Before you had a baby, you might have planned to go to bed at 11 p.m. and wake up at 7 a.m. because you knew that you could spend all eight hours sleeping. Once you have a baby, however, uninterrupted sleep goes out the window. In order to get enough sleep, you actually need to schedule 10-12 hours “in bed” each night to account for middle-of-the-night feedings to make sure that you are still getting enough sleep. If this sounds like a lot of time, well, it is — but thankfully this phase only lasts for a few months. Most babies can sleep regularly through the night by the time they are six months old.
Establish a new personal routine.
You might not have time for that 15-step nightly skincare ritual now that you have a baby — but that doesn’t mean that you should let personal hygiene go completely. Now that your baby is born, experiment around with a new routine so that you can still shower, brush your teeth, put on deodorant, wash and moisturize your face, and all the other essential activities that need to happen during the day. You might not have time for a face mask every single day now, but that doesn’t mean that you should completely let the basics go either. It might take some trial and error to figure out a routine that works with your baby’s schedule, but it’s so worth it.
Create a haven in your home…
You’re understandably going to be spending a lot of time in the nursery after you bring your newborn home. Indeed, it can feel like the baby takes over your entire house in those first few months after giving birth. This is why it’s really important to have a room or a space where you feel like you can go to rest or recharge, even if it’s just a chair in the corner of your bedroom. If you can, try to figure out where this space will be and spruce it up a bit before giving birth so it’s all ready for you when you come home.
…but know when it’s time to get out of the house.
During the first days or weeks after the birth, you might not feel up to leaving the house much as your body recovers, except maybe for quick walks. However, as you begin to regain your strength, getting out of the house is a really great idea. It will fend off cabin fever and also means that you don’t have to scour your house from top to bottom every time someone wants to meet the baby — or have your partner watch the baby while you take yourself on a field trip! Your house can get claustrophobic really fast, so take breaks from it when you can.
Spend time with your partner.
After you give birth, you might feel like you see your partner more than ever as you both dedicate yourselves to taking care of the baby. But just because you and your partner are co-existing in the same space all the time doesn’t mean that you are actually sowing into your relationship. After you settle into a good routine with your newborn, carve out time to spend together as a couple that doesn’t involve zoning out on the couch with watching reruns. Having a baby can put a strain on your relationship, so it’s important to still dedicate time to each other as a couple even as you focus on your little one.
Self-care for new moms isn’t all fun and Pinterest-worthy, but it’s so worthwhile. Follow these seven tips to take care of yourself as you take care of your baby.
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