Self-care for new moms

by Christina on September 22, 2014

“In order to be a great mom, you must feel great about both yourself and your life.”  ~Mia Redrick 

I am *loving* this time with our baby and being on maternity leave, but being home with our new baby is definitely the hardest job I’ve ever had.

It’s being on call 24 hours a day to feed, love, and tend to this tiny beautiful helpless soul who is completely dependent on me. I am totally in love, overwhelmed, and exhausted at the same time.

I’ve been reading some great articles lately about self-care for moms, and collecting advice from friends on how to avoid isolation and mommy-blues. Self-care for moms is so important, because it’s really true that if you take care of yourself you can take better care of other people.

Some of my favorite pieces of collected advice:

  • Have a morning routine. No matter how bad the night is, it helps to have a morning ritual as a start to the day. For me this means making a big cup of coffee, reading the news or watching The Today Show while nursing, and then doing at least 15 minutes of yoga practice. Even if it’s been a rough night (which most are), I look forward to this time.
  • Stock the kitchen with healthy snacks and meals. Essential. If I am hungry it is not good for anyone.
  • While baby naps, take time to do something for yourself. Read the paper, write emails, do a little exercise. I’ve been using morning nap time to get back into my yoga practice.

  • Listen to podcasts or watch videos while nursing. I spend over 6 hours a day nursing. That’s almost a full workday! A lot of that time I’m happy simply staring at my baby, but it’s sometimes nice to learn things. My favorite podcasts have recently been:
  • Have a weekly ritual scheduled the same time each week. Find someone to watch the baby. Still trying to figure this out… might be going to weekly yoga class, doing a long run, or having a date with a girlfriend.
  • Connect with other women and moms. This is a big one. It’s easy to get isolated. Go to baby massage classes, get on neighborhood listserves, join mom groups, etc.
  • Write down a few simple goals. Run 5 miles? Read a book?  Cook something?
  • Do something you loved before pregnancy. There were so many things! Drinking coffee without feeling nauseous, my yoga practice, running, wine, eating and digesting normally.
  • Get out of the house at least once a day. Might be as simple as a walk around the block.
  • Text a friend and/or family member daily. Don’t forget you have relationships other than your baby.
  • Set aside a regular date night with your partner. Even if just a 20 minute walk to a coffee shop together.
  • Hug your partner at the end of the day for 10-20 seconds. A long hug! Long enough for oxytocin to release.
  • Say “yes” to things. I mostly think about saying “no” more often, but this article says saying yes “can provide a positive distraction from the daily grind of parenting.”

“The great news about taking care of yourself is that it allows you to share more of who you are with your family.” ~Mia Redrick 

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