easy self-care tips for new moms
What does self-care really mean when you have just given birth and are winding your way through the postpartum phase of your new life with a newborn? Well, here are some of the simplest self-care tips for new moms. It often looks like you’re supposed to be having bubble baths, while someone feeds you grapes and cools your sweaty postpartum body off with palm fronds. But no. We know you don’t have time for that. Your newest addition needs to eat every 1-2 hours right now! We want to talk real self-care. Sometimes it’s just about finding those short and sweet moments that are just for you. You, the person who grew a human in your body. You, the one primarily responsible in these early days for feeding the baby. Your new baby is getting plenty of attention and care, but don’t forget to care for yourself as well. On the airplane, they tell you to give oxygen to yourself before your child. Take that to heart and remember that if you’re needing a recharge post-birth, allowing yourself to give it, is the most selfless act; not the most selfish. As a postpartum doula, the number one emotion I come across when working with new moms is guilt. Guilt at letting me hold the baby, while they take a short nap or a shower. Guilt for not doing it all alone. Guilt for feeling emotional.
In the spirit that nourishing yourself allows you to be a better mother, parent, partner, father, person, what might self-care be for you? We offer you a few new, bite-sized ways of caring for yourself.
How to care for yourself as a new mom? It might mean:
- Having a family member come over to help. Even for an hour! Even for 30 minutes! Having someone hold your baby while you take a shower can do wonders. Especially if you have a new baby that just doesn’t want to be put down.
- Hiring a postpartum doula. A postpartum doula is a person who cares for the family as they transition to parenthood. The doula will listen to you tell your birth story, hear your joys and disappointments, help you go to pediatrician appointments, support your feeding journey, whether that’s helping with breastfeeding, teaching you how to use your breast pump, or working on paced bottle feeding with you. The postpartum doula is like your family member with baby experience, but no baggage! They can help you take much-needed naps, teach you babycare tips, and so much more!
- Going on a date around the corner (even for just 45 minutes!) Bringing in a friend, family member, or sitter for the shortest date ever, but a date nonetheless. Even if you and your partner or a friend literally go around the corner and eat scrambled eggs at your local diner, being out in the world, remembering what it’s like to be a separate adult, all those things help…even just for 1 hour in between feeds. If you have been chained to your bed or your nursing chair, the change of scenery alone and the fresh air can do wonders.
- Peeing with the door locked. Go to the bathroom, lock the door, sit with your eyes closed, breathe in and out a few times. Take these moments as yours and yours alone.
- Listening to comedy (or meditation) on headphones. Feeling stressed or overwhelmed? There is nothing like switching your brain by using comedy! Listen to stand up, laugh for 6 minutes, you’ll feel like a new person. A guided meditation can also do wonders.
- Take a walk. It’s the trifecta of movement, fresh air, other humans, that can completely change our entire outlook on life. Even one loop around the block with or without your baby will help increase your endorphins and give you a moment of calm.
- Cry when you need to, but if you need to more than feel right to you, talk to someone! Your mental health is critical not only for yourself but for your baby. Try a therapist who specializes in pregnancy and postpartum.
- Close your eyes and take 5 deep breaths. Sometimes that’s enough to center yourself. You got this!
Caring for yourself after your baby is born is not selfish, it’s healthy. You took this approach to heart while pregnant and it is as important now as it was then. The pressure to bounce back quickly is prevalent for new moms, but know that it often takes up to a year to recover both physically and emotionally after giving birth. Do what you can to practice self-care and give yourself that little boost, and remember that getting help does not mean you are a bad mom. Generations of women relied on their communities to support each other when becoming mothers. In this modern world, finding help is both harder and easier. At boober, we are here for you, whether you need a doula, a mental health professional, or a lactation consultant.