9 Ways to Get in More Self Care for New Moms
Congratulations on being a new mom, and welcome to this new journey. Whether you’re pregnant or have a newborn, you’re part of the no sleep, no time to think, motherhood club. Self care for new moms is crucial to success but doesn’t come easy. While you can read a thousand articles about motherhood and parenting, let’s look at caring for you as you start this journey of motherhood.
When we bring a new baby into our home, whether through birth, adoption, or foster care, things are turned upside-down. All of a sudden your needs go out the window because there is a tiny human, that you created, and they are completely helpless. They look to you for every need because they aren’t capable of caring for themselves. The schedule, lack of sleep, and complete change it brings into your home is completely overwhelming.
Sleep when the baby sleeps, or so they say
You’ll hear tips a lot, and they’re generally revolving around “sleep when the baby sleeps” which is decent advice because you’re crazy tired, but you’re also being pulled in 30 different directions. You have a house to care for, you have laundry to do (so much laundry), and you need to shower. This advice isn’t all bad though.
This comes from people knowing that you need to take care of yourself. It’s hard, and you have other things you might feel compelled to do instead, but your house will not fall into shambles because you left a few dirty dishes in the sink for a few hours. Nothing will happen if you don’t get the vacuuming done right now. You not only need time to rest & recharge, but you need to not lose yourself in motherhood.
Take it from a momma who burned out
When my Little Miss was born, I poured myself into motherhood. I did everything I could do for her. I breastfed & when that wasn’t working I supplemented with formula, but still breastfed as I could. When that started failing, I started pumping, seemingly nonstop, while continuing to supplement, because I just didn’t produce enough to feed her in a day. I was waking up to give bottles and pumping away. I was trying to keep up with housework and have dinner cooked every day.
All of this worked for a little while, but then I hit a wall & knew I couldn’t continue the way I was going. I didn’t want to get up out of bed, I began to resent everything about pumping, and I seriously wondered where the true me had gone. It had been so long since I had truly connected with the real me, that I didn’t know what to do that would make me feel like more than a mother.
Now, for me, and I’m not starting anything here, because I wish things would have gone differently, I stopped pumping for my daughter. It wasn’t my plan, but I had come to a point where I knew I needed to quit. I had done the tea, cookies, etc., and nothing was improving. Little Miss was having more and more formula each week, and all the pumping was starting to affect my mental health. So I stopped. I cried, I hated that I gave up, but I knew, for my own mental wellbeing, I had to stop.
Once I stopped, I started to feel better, but something was still missing. I still felt like I had lost myself.
One day, during nap time, I went in the bathroom and put on makeup, for no reason, I wasn’t going anywhere, I just put it on. Makeup has always been my happy place. It is a love of mine and I hadn’t put on makeup in months. I hadn’t touched it because I was so lost in motherhood. That day I felt a little connection to the old me. A light bulb went off, I had stopped doing everything I loved, the things that make me, me.
I created a plan and found that by sneaking 5 minutes where I could, that I gradually found myself again. I can connect with who I am as a woman outside of motherhood. As my daughter has grown, I have begun adding more and more time to my self care, but it all started with 5 minutes.
Ways to get in more self care
- Find your 5 minute window to do something you love. Using a journal like this one will help.
- Utilize your spouse, family or friend, go take a bath or long shower.
- Get dressed. It’s easy to stay in pj’s and sweats, but you will feel better when you get dressed for the day.
- Hire someone to do a chore you hate
- Utilize your spouse/ significant other. Let them have some alone time with baby while you do something for yourself.
- Take baby for a walk. You most likely bought a stroller, put it to good use and get out of the house
- Find a moms group to join
- Carve out some time after the baby is asleep for something you love, even if it is watching Netflix, playing a game, or even scrolling the internet.
- Trust your gut! In your heart, you will know what you need to do for yourself, just give yourself the guilt-free time to do it.
Make it guilt free
Here’s the thing, as moms, even first-time moms, we feel guilty about EVERYTHING!!! If you sneeze when little one falls asleep, you feel guilty. If you have to lay them down to pee, you feel guilty. This guilt makes no logical sense, but you feel it regardless.
When you take your 5 minutes for yourself, do so knowing it is to make yourself a better, more productive mother. You will feel more like yourself, more energized, and able to pour more into your baby (or babies) when you stop to take care of yourself first. There is no need to run yourself ragged. There is no need to feel guilty to make sure you’re doing okay.