The first few days and weeks of motherhood can be absolutely overwhelming, exhausting and, of course, full of love. When a child is born, so is a mother, and it seems like in an instant everything changes, with your self-care perhaps naturally coming in last. While it’s expected for a newborn to rock your entire world (especially at first, and in the best way possible!), you still have many important needs that should (make that need) to be met.
To help, we’ve narrowed down six self-care practices we believe, as moms ourselves, all new mothers should tryto prioritize. You might not always check everything off in one day, or even in one week, but don’t underestimate the power of the “Take-Care-of-Me-Too” to-do list.
Here are a few new-mama tips from the moms of Emilie Heathe.
“Sleep when the baby sleeps” can be an infuriating phrase to hear as a new mom. You’re exhausted and foggy-headed, often left questioning what day or time it is. Plus, anyone with a newborn at home knows that IF and when the baby sleeps, the mountain of housework, errands, and simple tasks like showering or eating a nutritious meal await. So, while sleeping when the baby sleeps may not be entirely possible, prioritizing rest is of paramount importance for a new mom. Have your partner watch the little one while you get some much needed R&R, and do the same for them when they need it. Having Grandma and Grandpa babysit for an afternoon is a great option too. They are the pros, after all!
Even if you can’t get all the sleep you want in this world, you can fake it till you make it! Eat hydration and antioxidant-rich foods to help combat eye bags and dark circles, so even if you are falling asleep at the breakfast, lunch, or dinner table, you’ll be doing your body some good. Some great foods for this are fruits and veggies that you might already have lying around the house. Try tomatoes for their high lycopene content, which helps to protect blood vessels and improve circulation. Eat celery for its high electrolyte content, which helps limit water retention, therefore limiting facial puffiness. Also, blueberries are high in lutein and anthocyanins, antioxidants renowned for their anti-inflammatory and eye-benefitting effects, amongst a plethora of other benefits.
Believe it or not, asking for help is a form of self-care, as it means you’re recognizing an area that you need assistance or support in for yourself and your baby. You cannot do it all on your own, so articulating those specific needs to your partner, family, and friends is crucial in helping you find your groove as a mom without becoming completely overwhelmed. After all, they say it takes a village for a reason!
In the earliest days, it can seem like an all-day affair just to get out of the house for a quick 30-minute walk, but trust us when we say you’ll be so glad you did. Enlist help inpacking your diaper bag, try to plan ahead as much as possible and, of course, check the weather before you head out, but get out! Breathing in the fresh air, moving your body, and having a brief change of scenery can do wonders for your mind.
Did you know that plants are proven to reduce mental and physical stress? This is why a walk in the park after a particularly stressful week feels so good-- humans naturally crave being close to nature. If you’re overwhelmed as a new mom, a nice stroll might do the trick.
Just because you’re a mom now doesn’t mean you can, or should, stop taking your prenatal vitamins. Postpartum is a time you’ll need those essential vitamins and minerals to heal, help support breastfeeding if you are nursing, manage emotional and physical health, and ensure you’re not falling short in nutrients despite your meal times not looking quite like they used to.
When it comes to prenatal vitamins, it's important to keep an eye out for some key ingredients. The list is pretty lengthy, but they should contain folic acid, vitamin D, calcium Vitamin C, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin b12, vitamin E, zinc, iron, and iodine. Sounds glamorous, right?
These are our top picks:
Last, but not least, don’t underestimate the importance of reading—ideally something other than Twitter or those mommy message boards—when you have a moment and feel up to it.
If you’re nursing, try to spend a few minutes a day reading a breastfeeding book for tips. If you’re trying to get on a schedule, a newborn parenting book can equip you with knowledge and confidence.
Or, if you want a break from all the baby-related content, spend even just 5-10 minutes a day reading the hottest new novel, newspaper, or magazine. Staying connected to some text can help you relax, while still feeling and like your old self.