The postpartum time is INSANE. A new life and a new routine that are full of diapers, feeding, bleeding, and more. Self care is probably the last thing on your mind. Sometimes it feels like even a quick shower is out of reach, so how on earth are you supposed to find time for anything else. But take it from moms who’ve been through it - we’re here to remind you how important it is for you and baby, as well as hopefully make it a little easier for you to plan in advance and set yourself up for success.
Adjusting to the new role of becoming a mom (or a mom of more than one) can be tough. You might feel like you have a whole new identity, and you might default to putting your own needs on the back burner. But remember, mothers need mothering too. It's cliche, but you really can't pour from an empty cup.
Self care is a necessity that can empower you to be the best version of yourself as a mom, partner, and individual. Plus, you and your baby are highly interconnected so what is good for you, is good for them! As you navigate this new chapter, embracing self-care will not only support your energy and mood, it will also help you establish positive habits that build the foundation for a sustainable balance between motherhood and personal well-being. So, let's dig into how you can craft a personalized self-care calendar designed exclusively for you, the incredible new mom!
What is Self-Care for New Moms?
Becoming a new mom is an extraordinary yet undoubtedly challenging journey. You find yourself embracing a new role, learning the ropes of caring for your child, and navigating postpartum changes. But amidst it all, it's crucial to prioritize self-care – physically and emotionally. Self-care during this time is important and a compassionate act of love. And it doesn't have to be complex or time-consuming.
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Self-care is a term used to describe any activities or practices that people do to take care of their emotional, mental, and physical health. Self care might include a focus on any of the following lifestyle choices:
Sleep can be a big challenge with little ones around, but try different ways to make it a priority. For example, you can try alternating nights with a partner so one of you gets a full night's sleep. Even if you're breastfeeding, let your partner get up with them and do all the other stuff (diaper changes and rocking back to sleep) so you can get yourself back to sleep.
You could also consider pumping (or getting donor milk or formula) to allow someone else to take the baby all night. Yes, you might still need to pump, but at least you can find a time that works best for you.
One of the easiest things you can do for your health is to stay hydrated! And since sometimes, water alone isn't enough, consider adding electrolytes to your water. We love LMNT.
This especially means being more clear than you ever have been about what you need and want. Women are traditionally not taught to be comfortable asking for support, and this is a time when that is critical and one of the best things you can do for your baby. It truly takes a village, and many people in your life want to help, they may just need to be told how.
Exercise and eating habits
Healthy eating and healthy movement can look a little different for everyone. Maybe it means eliminating added sugar, or maybe it means taking a walk every day. We all define success in these areas differently, just remember, the goal is good, not perfect.
Routine medical visits
As well as other alternative care like postpartum doula, acupuncture, chiropractic, massage, etc. Remember what is healing for you is healing for baby!
What Are the Benefits of Self-Care for Moms?
Self-care for moms comes with a multitude of benefits that positively impact both their physical and emotional well-being. Here are four key benefits of practicing self-care:
- Reduced Stress and Anxiety: Motherhood can be overwhelming and demanding, leading to increased stress and anxiety levels. Engaging in self-care practices, like meditation, exercise, or journaling, can help moms manage stress and find moments of calm amidst the chaos. By taking time for themselves, moms can recharge and approach challenges with a clearer and more composed mindset. Stress can lead to decreased milk supply and even cause baby to feel stressed.
- Improved Physical Health: Caring for a newborn often involves sleepless nights and constant physical exertion. Neglecting one's health can lead to exhaustion and burnout. Prioritizing self-care allows moms to maintain a balanced diet, stay hydrated, and engage in regular exercise. These habits contribute to increased energy levels, better immune function, and faster recovery from the physical demands of motherhood. This can even lead to baby being healthier.
- Enhanced Emotional Well-being: Motherhood can bring about a rollercoaster of emotions, from immense joy to feelings of self-doubt or even guilt. Self-care provides a safe space for moms to process their emotions, seek support from others, and practice self-compassion. By attending to their emotional needs, moms can build resilience and maintain a positive outlook on their motherhood journey. This will not end with postpartum. Part of being a parent is learning new ways to set boundaries and ask for help, for yourself, your child, and your family.
- Strengthened Bond with Baby and Family: When moms take care of themselves, they are better equipped to care for their little ones and nurture healthy relationships within the family. Self-care fosters a sense of balance and contentment, allowing moms to engage fully with their children and partners without feeling overwhelmed or emotionally drained. This, in turn, strengthens the family unit and promotes a positive atmosphere for everyone involved.
In essence, self-care is not just a luxury but an essential practice for moms. By investing time and effort in their own well-being, moms can reap these benefits and create a positive and fulfilling motherhood experience for themselves and their families.
23 Top Self-Care Ideas for Moms
Since the postpartum time is so crazy, it can be helpful to establish your self care routine in advance, as part of your postpartum plan. Setting you up for most success, and setting clear expectations for your partner and other loved ones about how they can be prepared to support you.
Here are 23 self care ideas to get you started. Of course, we encourage you to brainstorm your own unique ideas too. Choose some that resonate with you, and then decide how often you'll do each. Put it on the calendar and commit!
1. Prioritize a healthy diet
Perfection is not the goal, but nourishing your body with healthy food is so beneficial to your physical and emotional wellbeing.
2. Practice self-compassion and positive talk
Oftentimes, we are more compassionate to our friends and family than we are to ourselves. Try to bring awareness to this and talk to yourself as if you were talking to your best friend. Give yourself grace and use kind words.
You might start by writing down the things you most appreciate about yourself, and then keep revisiting the list, or post reminders.
You can also start identifying your limiting beliefs - write down any time you have a thought that you can't do something, or are not worthy of something.
Movement can be therapeutic, especially when you add music. Choreographed or not, dancing can bring real joy to some people.
4. Call a friend
A good conversation with a friend can support your mood and help you feel seen and heard. Even a quick 15 minutes while you take a walk can feel good.
5. Ask for help when needed
Asking for help can be a challenge for a lot of people. You might feel like you know you can do something, so why put the burden on someone else? But just because you can doesn't mean you should. You might also feel like somebody else wouldn't do something the way you would. Whether it is prepping a meal or loading the dishwasher, release your expectations around how something needs to be done, so that you can more freely ask for and accept help.
6. Practice healthy boundaries
Know that it is OK to say no, and know that no can be a complete sentence - you don't always need further explanation.
7. Read 20 pages of your favorite book
Reading a book might feel like a big undertaking, but commit to just 20 pages a day and it'll feel a lot more manageable. If you think you can't find the time, add up the amount of time you spend scrolling your phone and redirect some of your energy from screen time to book time.
8. Aim to be great rather than perfect
Sometimes in life and especially in parenting, lowering your expectations of yourself is a form of self care. Striving for perfection can be exhausting, and often not attainable.
9. Stay hydrated
Proper hydration is one of the easiest ways to nourish your body. Especially when you are in recovery mode during postpartum and if you are breastfeeding, hydration is critical to so many bodily functions, from energy to digestion.
10. Spend time with family or friends
Relationships can be hard to maintain when life gets busy, but making time to meet up with some supportive family or an old friend can be incredibly nourishing. It doesn't have to be fancy, you can just grab a coffee or take a walk.
11. Take a bath
If baths are relaxing to you, take one! Amp it up with some epsom salts (a good source of magnesium), candles, and a podcast or music.
12. Learn a new skill
Learning a new skill might sound absurd for a new mom, but it's doable, and it can give you a great sense of accomplishment. Think of something you've been wanting to try and jump onto YouTube or grab a book from the library and get to learning!
13. Find caring, calming, affirmation phrases
Affirmations can help with self love and reframing your mindset. Find some ideas here.
- Sleep well
This might be easier said than done with little ones, but do what you can to prioritize sleep, and to focus on sleep quality if the amount of sleep you can get is not always ideal. Tools like red light in the evening (or blue blocking glasses), a cool and dark room, and stopping the mindless scrolling an hour or so before bed (try a book instead!) can help support your sleep quality.
15. Practice a guided meditation
16. Connect with nature
Getting outdoors can be incredibly grounding. Whether it's a local park or your own backyard, soak in some sunshine (if you have it), breathe the fresh air, and if you're up for it - get your bare feet into the grass.
17. Practice yoga
Movement + mindfulness is a great way to reset the body and the mind. It doesn't have to be an hour-long formal class. A simple 10-15 minutes with an online class is still supportive.
18. Clean your social media and email
Declutter your life a little by unsubscribing from email lists that you never open and unfollowing accounts that don't add value or joy to your life.
19. Celebrate your victories
Scheduling time each week to reflect on and celebrate your victories is a great way to track even the small wins you had that week. Maybe you got out for a walk each day, or maybe you stopped your negative self talk. No matter how small, take time to celebrate your progress.
20. Get a massage
Yes, massages require time and money, but if you can swing it, your body and mind will be thankful. If money is tight, consider requesting a gift card to your favorite spot for the next holiday or your birthday.
21. Take a nap
It might feel like you don't have time, but even a 15 minute power nap can do wonders for your mental health.
22. Plan your week
Parenthood can sometimes feel like you lack control, but planning can give you a sense of control. Even if you don't
23. Watch a new documentary
Documentaries can temporarily take us to a different mental place, just like a good book. Some documentaries we love are Kiss the Ground, Sacred Cow, and The Need to Grow.
Remember, self care isn't a luxury. It needs to be a part of your life and routine in order for you to be a present and pleasant parent and person. We hope this article helps you to brainstorm some self care activities yourself so that you can commit to prioritizing your own self care!