New moms often express to me that they had no idea what to expect in the first few days, weeks, and months after giving birth. Many times these new moms feel overwhelmed, exhausted, and like there is no time in the day for self-care. While much of your time will be spent learning how to understand your baby’s needs, your needs are also very important. In order to best care for your baby you have to feel your best too, so here are a few tips for making self-care a bigger part of motherhood.
Be Quite and Still
Your friends and family will tell you to “sleep when the baby sleeps” and that is great advice but it is not always that easy for some new moms. A wonderful time to rest your body and mind is while nursing or feeding your baby. This will take up a large part of the day so make this a time to be quiet and relax. Find a comfortable place in your home that is free of electronics, noise, and distractions and make it a point to go there when feeding the baby. Use a nursing pillow to help support the weight of the baby and take stress off the neck and shoulders. Also, lying down while feeding is great way to rest your body and relieve tension from looking down.
Find Time to Yourself
This may be a challenge since your baby needs constant love and attention but as the weeks go by a routine will be easier to establish. Ask your partner, friends or family for help so you can find some time to yourself or to get some much needed sleep. A 15 minute shower or 30 minute nap can leave you feeling refreshed and revitalized.
Short walks or even just sitting outside on the front porch with the baby is a wonderful way to help increase those feel good hormones. An added bonus to time outside is just 15 minutes in the sun is enough to absorb your daily dose of vitamin D. Studies show that being outside in a green environment can help boost self-esteem and mood. A tip I share with all my new moms to help the baby establish a normal wake-sleep rhythm is to take the baby outside as early as she or he is awake and the sun is out. This will help the baby better understand if it is day or night.