As a proud mom of your new bundle of joy, I’m sure you have been focusing (probably exclusively) on how to take care of your little one. While keeping your new baby happy and healthy is vitally important, so it maintaining your own health and wellness and a little self-care can go a long way.
If you’re anything like me, then I’m sure that you are focusing all of your time on your newborn rather than taking any time to focus on you. Trust me when I say that this can only work for so long.
Not taking the time to do something for yourself can lead to a whole mess of nasty things like anxiety, depression, and a loss of identity. It is unfortunately quite common for new moms to feel like they have lost themselves when their babies are born.
Thankfully there are several ways to keep those ugly feelings at bay and allow you to be happier and healthier thanks to a little “me time” and an emphasis on self-care.
How to Have “Me Time” with a New Baby
I know what you’re thinking.
How in the world am I supposed to do something for myself with a crying newborn?!
Trust me, I get it.
I’m not saying that your me time has to be a weekend long spa vacation (though that would be nice). Even just taking a few minutes each day to check in with yourself to see how you are doing can be enough.
So here are some great things that you can do each and every day to get a break from being a mom and just be yourself.
Take a shower
Sometimes you will feel like you don’t have time to breathe, let alone time to take a shower, but I promise that you will feel better if you make it a priority.
It is impossible for me to be in a great mood if I haven’t showered and I have that nasty, greasy feeling to my hair. There’s something about dirty hair that just bums me out to no end.
So get up and go take a shower.
Get your partner to watch the baby for a few minutes. If you’re doing it on your own then grab a family member, a friend, a good neighbor, anyone that you trust to sit with your baby while you shower.
I used to try to plan my showers for nap time (though those didn’t happen nearly often enough for my liking). I’ve even gone so far as to put my baby in his rocker in the bathroom while I showered.
Once you manage to get clean, put on real clothes, not just clean pajamas. Being somewhat put together will help you have a much better outlook on life. You won’t just feel like you’re being lazy around the house while you’re on maternity leave.
I know that I got a little stir crazy sitting at home day in and day out. Getting up and starting my day, even if I didn’t go anywhere, really made a huge difference.
Bonus Tip: Once or twice a week, try doing something extra special for yourself.
I like to make up a sugar scrub to use in the shower. I just love how silky smooth my skin feels afterwards. It just makes my skin feel amazing and it’s hard to not be in a good mood when I feel good.
I just take some sugar and mix it with some coconut oil. Typically 1/4 -1/2 a cup of sugar is plenty, then just add as much oil as you like depending on the consistency you prefer.
You can even add essential oils or flavorings like vanilla extract for a little scent boost. So simple! Give it a try and you’ll be amazed at how great you feel.
Get a New Book or TV Series to Enjoy
Whether you are nursing, pumping, or formula feeding, you are going to be spending a lot of time feeding your baby. Make sure that you have something to do.
While you could always scroll through Facebook or Pinterest, that will get old after a while (trust me).
I kept myself busy for those late-night feeding sessions by having a book or a show to watch.
I downloaded a ton of books onto my Kindle app on my phone (because why would you go anywhere without your phone?) and that really helped to make all of those times being stuck underneath a baby from being so bad.
Don’t get me wrong, I love staring at my baby while he does anything and everything. To me he is the most adorable thing on the whole planet, but that still doesn’t mean that I didn’t want something else to occupy my time with when I was feeding him.
He also has a tendency to fall asleep or just close his eyes while he’s eating so I can’t even talk to him to ease my boredom. He isn’t a great conversationalist.
Having something to do will also help to prevent you falling asleep late at night while feeding. That could be dangerous.
One thing I suggest is to make sure that your book or show is not baby related. Make it something you’re interested in that has nothing to do with parenting.
This is supposed to be something for you, remember?
Take a Nap
I know you’re exhausted. You have a new baby, it’s pretty much required.
I urge you (I really, really do) to sleep when the baby sleeps, or just whenever you can.
Forget the dishes in the sink and the laundry that needs to be done. You built a baby and now you’re trying to teach that baby how to be a person. It’s exhausting!
Get as much sleep as you possibly can whenever you can.
Ask your partner to do some chores, or have a friend come over to help you out. Or just have someone come over to watch the baby while you rest. You will feel like a whole new person with a little extra sleep.
Take a Walk
Though you have to wait for the doctor’s official word before you can do any strenuous activity, walking is generally recommended if you had an uncomplicated delivery. Always check with your doctor to be safe though.
While I didn’t always make it out every day, I tried to get out of the house and take a walk around the neighborhood a few times a week.
I would just put my little one in his stroller and go. I’d even bring my headphones so that I could listen to a little music while I walked.
Going for a walk always made me feel better. I hated being stuck at home, but I was too worried about my baby getting sick by going out too often. Walking was a good compromise.
It allowed me to get out of the house and get my blood pumping a bit.
You don’t have to go fast or even try to “exercise” at all. Just breathing in some fresh air and getting your muscles moving is all it takes.
Another bonus is that your baby will most likely fall asleep in the stroller so your walk will be peaceful. I know mine always did.
Set Goals for Yourself
Having goals for yourself can really help you to make the most of your “me time”. Remember, this is all about self-care. Don’t make the goals about the baby.
Your goals don’t have to be huge monumental things. They can be small things.
Things like taking 5 minutes to meditate or do some deep breathing, spending 10 minutes doing some light stretching or postpartum safe yoga, or prioritizing working on your favorite hobby, even for just a short while.
Any of these small changes to your day can help you find peace and balance as a new mom.
It’s okay to spend a little time focusing on yourself. That doesn’t make you a bad mom, it makes you a smart mom.
I think as moms, we guilt ourselves into thinking that our whole world has to revolve our little ones, but that doesn’t need to be the case.
You are still a person that needs a little love. Make sure that you are taking care of yourself too.
Remember, the best mom is a happy mom.
Are you taking the time for self-care? What are you doing to make your transition into motherhood easier? Leave me a comment below or join the conversation in our Facebook group.
Until next time!