If you are in any way struggling after giving birth, it’s important you ask for help. Even if you feel fine we need to all remember that giving birth is a big deal. It is tough on our bodies and minds and we need to be kinder to ourselves and practice some self care as well as taking care of those lovely little babies.
At the end of my week 1 session, I set the mums on my course some homework. They need to do something for themselves. I struggle as much as the next mum to find time for myself, but it really makes a difference when you do.
Here are my top 10 self care tips for new mums:
1. Schedule your sleep
One of the most common things you’ll probably get told when you have a new baby is to sleep when the baby sleeps. It might be totally alien to you to have daytime naps but they will save you, I promise. But if you’re a “do-er” like me it’s hard to take leisurely cat naps throughout the day.
As well as trying to go to bed early, I also tried to go back to sleep when my little ones did after their 7:30/8:00am feed. Some days I would sleep until nearly 10:00am. This SAVED me. Yes, you feel like you should be doing other things but they can wait. When you’ve slept, the world feels like a much better place.
2. Join a class
One of the parts I enjoy the most in my classes is the friendships which form as a result of meeting other local mums on a weekly basis. It really helps to connect with other mums who are going through the same things. Some of my closest friends are those who I met through NCT, baby classes and sitting in the park!
3. Go (online) shopping
Everyone talks about maternity clothes, no one talks about postpartum clothes. I’m certainly not saying ditch the maternity jeans. I was happily wearing these for months after my two were born but after months of being in maternity clothes, you’ll feel so much better if you have a few new items of clothes to put on. The postpartum body is much harder to dress than the pregnant body, especially if you’re feeding. If you’re having a baby in the winter consider super stretchy leggings and long, cozy sweaters.
4. Get out
Getting out and spending time with friends and family is good for the soul and will help you feel like yourself again. I’m not talking about in the first few days or weeks but in the first few months. It’s easy just to opt for staying at home, especially when it can take so long to leave the house with a newborn but once you’ve done it you’ll feel so proud of yourself and that’s the biggest motivation.
5. Book a hair appointment
Seriously, do it right away. Schedule it for a month or two after the baby is born… as soon as you’re able to leave her for a few hours. I know it may be hard to time the feedings and get out the door. Choosing a salon close to home will help. You deserve a little pampering. Babies often love the sound of hairdryers, so you never know they might even sleep the whole way through the appointment. Just think of that magazine time!
6. Sign up for meal delivery
This has taken me a while to find but my recent self care discovery is a weekly Hello Fresh delivery. I meal plan for 4 days of the week and let Hello Fresh take care of the other three. Our box gets delivered on a Wednesday, which means that on the days when I have both kids all day I have quick and easy dinners all ready to be thrown together after bedtime. We don’t have any family nearby for babysitting so getting out for a meal is a very rare treat but most of the dishes we get from Hello Fresh, I’d be happy if they were served to me in a restaurant. Their recipes are all super easy to make and finished in under 40 minutes. If you are interested in trying HelloFresh you can use this link to get £20 off of your first box!
After you receive the go-ahead after your 6 week check, find ways to incorporate exercise into your weekly routine. It’ll do more good for your mind than you realise. Instead of jumping the car, why not walk to your baby classes or whilst baby is napping find a yoga video on YouTube. The Mum & Babies Adventure Group holds weekly walks all over East Lothian and is a great way to meet new mums as well as get some fresh air. Buggy Busters is also a new fitness class held in Haddington for new mums.
8. Treat yourself
Find little ways to treat yourself throughout the week. For me, this is a nice coffee. For you it may be something else. When we moved to Haddington I would really look forward to getting a weekly takeaway coffee. After having dropped Ella off at nursery, I would walk along to the Loft and get a coffee whilst Leo napped before heading home and getting on with the rest of the day.
9. Make your bed
This seems like such a silly thing but for me, getting back into a bed which is in the state it was left at 7am isn’t nice. Making your bed is a simple act with powerful consequences. To rise in the morning and complete the first task of the day will give you motivation to do more; even if it’s the only non-baby related thing you do all day!
10. Establish a routine
I know some people love routines and some don’t, but in my opinion a routine is super helpful in maintaining sanity as a new mum. I’m talking routine here though, not a schedule, there is a difference. It needs to be flexible and you need to be happy for it to change according to your baby’s needs, but having a routine and structure to my days and week allows me to make the most of my time with and without the kids.
What tips would add to this list?