Congratulations on your new baby, mommy! To carry a baby in your tummy for nine long months, labor for hours, and undergo childbirth—whether it was C-Section or normal delivery—is no easy feat. You are a real superwoman! And after going through so much, the practice of self-care will be needed now more than ever. However, with the new responsibility and major life changes you have now, practicing self-care might be difficult.
Find out what self-care means to new mothers like you and why you must take the time to practice it despite the challenges.
What is self-care?
Self-care is popularly associated with bubble bathing, lighting aroma therapeutic candles, and going to spas on weekends. When you hear of self-care, you’ll immediately think of going to the salon and maybe buying yourself that high-calorie ice cream. While all of these are amazing self-care ideas, they do not define what self-care is all about; they are only a part of a much bigger picture.
Self-care is activities that you do to take care of your physical, mental, emotional health. It is about ensuring that yourself as a whole is being taken care of and securing time to look after your well-being.
When you practice self-care, you ensure that you are getting enough rest, sleep, nutrition, exercise, and ‘me-time’ to reflect. Spend time for your passion projects, interact with friends and family, and look after your mental wellness. This may sound a lot for a new mother who only wants to watch her baby all day, all night, but you also need time for yourself for your child’s sake.
Entering motherhood makes moms caregivers. During postpartum, commonly the first six weeks after giving birth, their bodies will feel sore and very tired. They could experience sleepless nights, a roller coaster of emotions due to hormones, they could feel sad, hopeless, worthless, anxious, and the list of negatives emotions goes on. All of these while taking care of your newborn. This can make you prone to caregiver burnout, or worse postpartum depression. This is when the practice of self-care must come into play. It must be put in high priority because it can immensely help mothers recover from postpartum depression or prevent it from happening in the first place.
About 75% to 80% of new moms experience the baby blues, and it may be normal for some. However, if the feeling does not subside for longer than two weeks, you need to talk to a professional. You might be having a more serious mental health challenge such as postpartum depression.
Taking care of yourself
Now that you have understood the value of self-care practice, here are a few ways on how you can take care of yourself while you take care of your new bundle of joy.
Get enough rest and sleep
Sync your sleep to your newborn’s to make up for all the sleepless nights of feeding. While on some days or nights, rest and sleep sound impossible because the baby won’t sleep, do not be ashamed of asking for help from your husband or your relatives.
Every mom is different. Some workouts may be strenuous for you, while it’s okay for others. Ask your doctor which types of exercises you can do.
Eat nutritious food
The best kind of love you can give your body is feeding it with healthy food. Planning your meals can help you eat healthily at the right time. If you are breastfeeding, you also have to consider the food you’ll eat to keep you lactating.
No matter how busy being a new mother can be, find time to bond with your husband and your friends. It’ll help you avoid feeling isolated, which is common during your postpartum period.
Visit your doctor regularly
Your physical and mental health is just as important as your baby’s. Always show up at your doctor’s appointment and follow their recommendations.
The bottom line
With so many things going on in your life as a new mom, finding the time to practice self-care can be challenging. Despite the struggles, you should not take self-care for granted. You have to make time for it because it is a necessity, especially for moms who just gave birth.
Why? Because you can’t pour from an empty cup. This means that for you to be able to take care of your baby properly and be at your best, you have to start taking care of yourself first. Maintaining your overall health through self-care is critical to your baby’s overall health too.