Oh, new mama. We are so filled with joy for you, and we’re also very aware of how challenging, tiring, and depleting those first few months (gulp – years…) of motherhood can be. To that note, there are two words that we want to become your new mantra: self-care, self-care, self-care.
While it may seem impossible, remember that the best things you can do for your baby is to take care of yourself. Without you being as whole, nourished, and rejuvenated as possible, you won’t have the resources to give it your best.
5 Self-Care Ideas for New Mothers
If you’re thinking, “I don’t have time for that…” we beg to differ and have created this list of 5, relatively simple things you can do to honor yourself.
1. Sleep when the baby sleeps
This tip has been around forever, and yet new mothers often have the hardest time honoring it. Your baby’s nap time is NOT the time to wash dishes or do laundry (unless you actually enjoy those tasks.) While you don’t need to actually sleep when the baby sleeps, we do encourage you to rest:
- Read a book, magazine, blog, etc.
- Lie down and listen to meditative music
- Do some restorative yoga stretches (Click Here for a free, 35-minute restorative yoga series ((but not until your OB has given you the exercise go ahead))
- Crochet, scrapbook, knit, or journal
- Make a cup of tea and sit quietly while sipping it
Get the drift? Your baby is now resting in snippets throughout the day and night, rather than honoring your clock-based schedule. If you can let go of the clock, reframe what 24-hours means for this next while, and rest when s/he rests, you’ll be less frazzled. As for the chores, see #2.
2. Ask friends/family for nourishing meals (or chore support)
Asking for help is one of the best gifts you can give to those who love you. They’re dying to help and your, “no thank yous,” and,” I’m/we’re fine,” replies don’t give them the chance. Ask for MealTrain or create a helpful chore/errand list and put it out there into your network of loved ones. Even those who can’t cook can give contribute $$ through MealTrain that you can use to get deliveries from favorite takeout restaurants.
3. Create your new mom support network
Do you have a new mom support network? Are you getting together at least once a week or once every couple weeks with other new moms and their babies/toddlers? Expanding your social network gets you out of the house and connects you with all kinds of different parent/baby activities and opportunities you’d never know about otherwise.
Visit Support Groups for New Moms in Kansas City and see if anything resonates. If groups aren’t your thing, take that baby to the park and start walking. Eventually, you’re bound to connect with someone who you’re meant to be mom friends/supporters with.
Among other things, your new network of new moms will help you cope with the baby blues, and recognize and support you through postpartum depression. If you meet with a group of moms who have the “we’re so perfect and happy all the time” façade, run like heck and try a new group out!
4. Move that body
If you’re able to get to a new mom exercise class, Mommy and Me yoga, or a walking/jogging group – that’s fantastic. That’s not always realistic, though. The key is that your body needs to move, stretch, and strengthen that core. That can be as simple as putting on your favorite tunes and dancing it out with your baby, dancing or stretching with baby happily entertained by watching you in his carrier or crib nearby or setting him/her up in a comfortable space outdoors while you stretch, lift and move while doing some gardening.
Read our post Making Exercise a Natural Part of Your Day for tips on how to move the way you need to without having to go to a gym or a class.
5. Practice mindfulness on your own or with an app
Breathe in that baby smell and be present. Listen to that cry you can’t staunch no matter what, and be present while you breathe (a little more calm on your end can’t hurt right?). Really soak up the colors in the sunrise/sunset and marvel that a whole world is still going on out there, even as you cocoon yourself in the New Mother Universe.
Or, if those sound like a crock of baloney, check out these mindfulness apps you can use to help you center, ground, and relax throughout your day using a nearby gadget and earbuds.
You deserve to cherish yourself, new mothers of the KC area. If you’re struggling to do that, get in touch with us at Women’s Health Associates, and we’ll see how we can help.