The Must Have Self-Care Guide for New Parents – 9 brilliant tips on how new parents can take care of themselves and why you should be doing it.
This is a guest post by the lovely Tamra over at Nurturingtamra.com. Please do drop by her site for loads more great articles on parenting!
Well then, here we go!
The Must Have Self-Care Guide for New Parents
I loved being a new mom when my little one was born, but it was also very exhausting.
To be honest, I wasn’t quite prepared for what was to come after having a baby. I thought it would be easy to handle. However, one of the biggest things I wasn’t prepared for what was the lack of sleep. There were nights that I only slept 3 hours – if that.
I was mainly breastfeeding our baby, so I was the only one that was up and down for the most of the night.
There were some mornings I was so sleep deprived that I’d hallucinate.
I also wasn’t prepared for other things such as how to manage going out with a baby. Would my baby cry and scream at the grocery store? How would I handle this?
On top of this, my body was going back to the way it was before I was pregnant, so I was experiencing hormone changes. I also experienced some postpartum depression.
While I did experience these changes that eventually passed, I was always enthralled with my baby.
She was more than a blessing.
It was just super important that I take care of myself in order to be at my best and to take care of my baby. This article emphasizes how important self care is for your baby’s health!
According to the same article, Nadine Burke-Harris, California’s Surgeon General, was quoted as saying “We biologically have the capacity to calm our children’s stress response. But in order to do that, we have to… have our own stress response in healthy working order, and so that means that sometimes we have we have to do work on ourselves.”
So, as parents, we should take care of ourselves, so we can take care of our own babies in the best way possible.
I have felt guilty for taking time to myself, but this is something we all should do for our own children’s well-being.
Given the importance of self care for parents, here are my suggestions on how to best take care of yourself as a new parent:
Self-Care Guide for New Parents – Some Tips:
Self-Care Tip #1 – Sleep when the Baby Sleeps
I always feel the need to do something, so this one was hard for me. However, this is absolutely vital!
When your baby takes a nap during the day, take a nap too! It’s OK to let some of the chores and housework slide so you can take care of yourself.
Self-Care Tip #2 – Take help when you can
If someone offers to watch your baby for a while or to help around the house, take it! You will need the break and the chance for rest.
I felt some mom guilt when I would go out and leave my baby with someone, but I knew that this was what was best for me and the baby.
If someone offers to bring you dinner as well, take it! I appreciated this so, so much! This took a lot off of my plate.
In addition, I might even buy some disposable tableware, so if you do cook, you at least don’t have to do dishes for a while.
Self-Care Tip #3 – Try to get back into a routine
For me, it was important to try to still have some semblance of a routine. This may have meant going to the grocery store or the bank.
It was helpful to take this as a break, so I left the baby at home with dad. If you do go somewhere with your baby and you want a little extra help, bring a friend along too.
If you do go out with your baby alone, and you have concerns (I was anxious about taking my baby out with me for the first time), visit this website for tips on how to plan for it.
Self-Care Tip #4 – Exercise!
This helps reduce stress. It may even help to take the baby in a stroller and go for a walk to get some fresh air.
Self-Care Tip #5 – Do something for yourself
Take a relaxing bath.
Go out with a friend.
Read a good book.
Get your hair or nails done.
Just do something for yourself!
Self-Care Tip #6 – Talk to a friend or family member
If you are exhausted or overwhelmed, talk it out with someone you love and trust.
Self-Care Tip #7 – Take care of yourself
Make sure you still eat and drink well, as this will nourish your body and help keep you going!
Also, according to one article, if you are not getting enough micronutrients (especially when breastfeeding), this actually increase one’s risk for postpartum depression.
If you are interested in learning more about the types of food that will help nourish you after pregnancy, click here.
Self-Care Tip #8 – Find other ways to relax
Try deep breathing or meditation. Listen to relaxing music. You can find some more great tips here.
Self-Care Tip #9 – Don’t be afraid to ask for help
If you feel that everything is too overwhelming and that you might have symptoms of postpartum depression, please seek out the help of a medical professional.
Final Thoughts on Self Care for New Parents
Self care is so important for your sanity, but it’s also important for your child as well.
If you are taking care of yourself, you will be more attuned to your baby’s needs. This, in turn, helps to build a strong, emotional bond that will be your child’s foundation for life.
For more information on how to build this emotional bond, please click here.
I want to reassure you that you will adjust and things will get easier.
You will get to sleep again and things will eventually feel normal again!
It’s exhausting now, but you must make sure you enjoy this time. Babies are amazing, and this time goes by so quickly.
You got this!!
I hope you enjoyed this self-care guide for new parents! If you did please share using the buttons below and be sure to check out more of Tamra’s work:
I am a professor who teaches a lot of developmental psychology classes, so I decided to start a blog to help new parents learn how to best nurture their child’s development. I also am a mother of a 3-year-old girl and am married to a football coach.
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