Being a new mother is… a lot! Conflicting emotions, overwhelm, happiness, sadness, fear, pain, exhaustion… A need to heal physically and mentally get into the groove as a new mom. It truly is a new life!
This article includes new mother self-care tips based on my own experiences as a mother of three. Some things I did, some things I figured out a bit too late. :-)
Are you a new mother?
Congratulations, and welcome to your new life of worries, guilt, and exhaustion!
And of extraordinary love and happiness…
A friend of mine complained to her midwife about feeling so worried that something would go wrong during her pregnancy.
Her midwife looked at her, smiled, and said:
“Well, this is just the beginning of a life-long worry for your child. Get used to it!“
Another friend told me that having a baby was not that great. “It’s all about pain”, she said. Being pregnant hurts, giving birth is extremely painful, and breastfeeding hurts… Everything seems to hurt!
This woman is now the happy, not-so-new mother of two wonderful boys.
Why do I say all this?
Becoming a mom is a massive changeover, particularly for the first time. But also getting your second and third child is a big change. Less and less you-time! And your body changes too.
But there are a lot of things that can be done to make mom feel better! Check out our new-mommy-feel-a-lot-better tips below! (In no particular order of importance!)
New Mother Self-care Tips – Adapting To Your New Life
- Get some sleep (here’s how)
- Remember to Eat
- Ask for help
- Do something you enjoy
- Get a haircut
- Get a pedicure
- Do things when your baby is awake
- Get dressed (and some more)
- Get organized (really)
- Sex (say that again…)
- Lower your ambitions
- Plan ahead
Get some sleep (here’s how)
Sleep and life is OK. Don’t sleep, and life feels like a disaster.
A few little darling babies sleep long hours right from the beginning. Most don’t. And most new mothers (and fathers) go through periods of feeling completely exhausted.
One way or the other, you need to get those sleep hours. Not every day, but at least, say, twice a week. Make that your number one priority if you feel exhausted.
Actually, a long period of disturbed sleep can even make you sick.
One way to gain some sleep is to dream feed your baby. Yeah, that might improve your sleep.
Remember to Eat
With a screaming baby and exhaustion beyond belief, it is very easy to forget to eat properly (or at all).
Since pregnancy and breastfeeding deplete your body of essential substances, it is vital to eat well to get your energy back.
I’m certainly not saying that you have to cook for long hours every day, but eat vegetables, fruits, whole grain bread and so on and not only coffee and cookies. (Ha, who would eat lots of cookies when trying to lose the baby fat… eehh – I know some moms that would, but don’t tell anyone… ) ;-)
If planning what to eat feels like a stressful task, consider a meal planning service like this one. I’ve used that for years, and it is such a time and stress savior. I sometimes also use grocery home delivery, which is great but can be a bit more expensive.
Ask for help
It can be tough to let go of the impulse to do everything yourself when you are a new mother, especially with your first baby.
But let Dad, Grandma, your friends, or whoever help you! Or find a professional babysitter. For more tips on how to choose and work with a babysitter, click here.
Let the person who helps you carry your child, change diapers, take the baby out in the stroller for 15 minutes (or a few hours if you can handle it), burp him, and so on.
Do something you enjoy
When home with a baby, you are likely to spend quite a lot of time at home with a baby… That makes sense, right? :-) Do something you enjoy with that time!
You will be exhausted, and there won’t be much undisturbed time, but there will be time! If it was today and I was too tired to get up and out, I would probably play a lot of Candy Crush Saga… Not very productive! And not much fun after a while, either.
When I was home with my youngest baby, I started this blog! That was fun! I also tried answering surveys. I tried postnatal yoga. I shopped a bit from home. I watched movies.
It doesn’t really matter what you do – as long as you enjoy it!
If you do want to save or earn a bit of money while at home, check out the resources I gathered here, for good, legit websites you can try out.
You can also read about how to make a bit of money with answering online surveys here.
Get a haircut
This may sound like ridiculous advice for a new mommy struggling to get through the day, but honestly, it isn’t.
With my first baby, it took me eight months to get around to schedule a haircut. My hair became unmanageable, and I wore a ponytail all the time. Boring! And it adds to not feeling good and in control if you do not prioritize yourself enough to “give” yourself a haircut.
A haircut is a quick way to make you feel a bit better. It is also done quickly enough that you should be able to feed your baby before the haircut and then have an hour for yourself, with someone caring for you instead of the opposite.
Get a pedicure
Want to give yourself another treat? Then I suggest you book a pedicure.
If your baby doesn’t move around yet, you can even bring him (check that it is allowed). Either he sleeps, or you can hold him in your arms, cuddling, feeding, or whatever.
Better still, of course, let someone else take care of your infant during your treatment. But if that’s not possible, a pedicure is still possible compared to a body massage or a facial treatment.
So why do a pedicure? For one reason only – to feel good!
Do things when your baby is awake
I hear over and over again from new mothers complaining that they have absolutely no time to do anything but care for their babies during the first months.
If your baby has colic or hasn’t yet learned to sleep without your help, this is probably true.
Otherwise, if this is how you feel, think through your own behavior.
What do you do when your baby is awake?
It wasn’t until I was home with our third child that I started taking showers when my baby was awake. Why? I simply didn’t think it would work. But it does!
With our third child, I suppose a combination of lack of time and more experience simply made me put him in the baby bouncer in the bathroom and take my shower. When he was slightly older, I let him join me in the shower sometimes. Or I’d put him in his little baby bathtub next to me (when he could sit steadily). Wonderful!
Well, it is my experience that babies can cope with their moms doing almost anything if they are allowed to participate.
- If you need to eat, talk to your baby while eating. Sit on the floor next to him if necessary.
- Cook with your (old enough) baby sitting close to you in the kitchen sink for a while. (They love that!)
- Make your bed with your baby on top of it.
Do you see what I mean?
Also, invest in a suitable baby carrier or a baby sling, and you’ll be able to get many things done while your baby is awake. (BabyBjorn Baby Carrier Active is by far the best, in my view. )
Hmmm, my everlasting bad conscience… But exercising makes you feel better, trust me! At least take a brisk walk every day. And a few sit-ups, maybe. Another nice thing to do is to sign up for a post-partum yoga class if you find one in your neighborhood.
But don’t start too early. My advice is to wait until your baby is around eight weeks old. I started too early once when one of my babies was only 5 weeks old.
I sat through most of the classes breastfeeding…
An excellent option when it comes to postpartum yoga is to simply buy a good postpartum yoga DVD. Then you can do your yoga whenever it suits you and your child, rather than at a certain time every week.
Get dressed (and some more)
No matter how tired you are, brush your teeth, wash, brush your hair, and put on clothes every day, even if you will just stay at home. Use a concealer so you don’t have to see those dark-circled eyes whenever you spot yourself in the mirror.
Actually, did you know that breastfeeding (together with the lack of sleep) can make your skin and hair really dry and boring? Click here for some skin and hair care tips for new moms!
If you think that your hair is really boring post-pregnancy, try a homemade hair treatment.
If you really have no time, check out these 5-minute makeup tips.
Looking miserable because you only concentrate on baby care rather than on some nice new mother care will only make you feel worse.
Get organized (really)
Once upon a time, it was probably entirely possible for you to have life run smoothly without putting too much effort into organizing your life. Not anymore. A baby – or a few – adds many more things to do and a lot less predictability as to when you can actually do all these things.
But thinking through which parts of your life need more organizing and then doing something about it will help a lot! If you are a couple living together, try to agree on how to organize your life and take time to get it done. Deciding on who does what can also be very helpful in a life situation when everyone is exhausted, and life is quite chaotic.
If you prefer something more ambitious and focusing on combining parenting of young kids with a business or career, check out Time Management Mama: Making Use of the Margins to Pursue your Passions. I found it very inspiring!
Sex (say that again…)
Have great sex for at least one hour each day…
If you are a new mother, and especially if you breastfeed, chances are you won’t feel like having sex at all. Exhaustion, hormones, lack of you-time, and maybe pain from giving birth all work in the wrong direction.
I’ve heard new mothers saying that they almost feel ill – their bodies don’t react at all as it used to.
It will pass.
In the meantime, don’t ignore sex completely. It is nice to be a woman instead of only a new mother and to be close to your partner.
Lower your ambitions
I guess you’ve heard it before, but it is worth repeating.
Lower your ambitions!
Don’t have a perfect home, cook perfect food, do all the perfect things you planned to. Listen to your heart and prioritize. Skip all musts that aren’t that necessary when you think again.
Enjoy being a new mother and have fun with your baby instead. And don’t think you have to show up a perfect life to be able to meet with your friends. Invite them home and ask them to bring a pizza instead of sweating in the kitchen for hours.
There will be plenty of time in the future to excel in all kinds of ways. Being a new mother; now is the time to excel in “being” rather than “doing”!
Everything takes much longer to do when you have a baby. Not to mention if you are the lucky new mother of two or three children. To get anything at all done on time (if you really have to), plan ahead.
Make shopping lists, shop once a week, cook while your baby is asleep even if it’s hours before dinner time, set the breakfast table in the evening if the mornings are stressful, and so on. And count at least one extra half hour just to get out through the front door if you have an important appointment.
Do all you can to reduce your own stress and achieve an easy baby life!;-)
Being a new mother can be overwhelming, whether it is to your first, second, or fifth baby. I hope these tips will help you enjoy this short period even more. Feel free to share your own tips and experiences by leaving a comment below! :-)
Read Next About Being a New Mom
- How to Start Your Morning Well (and Why it Makes You a Better Mom)
- 8 Awesome Sleep Tips For New Moms, Even If Baby Won’t Sleep
- What’s It Like To Be A New Mom? Better Or Worse Than You Expected?
Paula Dennholt founded Easy Baby Life in 2006 and has been a passionate parenting and pregnancy writer since then. Her parenting approach and writing is based on studies in cognitive-behavioral models and therapy for children and her experience as a mother and stepmother. Life as a parent has convinced her of how crucial it is to put relationships before rules. She strongly believes in positive parenting and a science-based approach.
Paula cooperates with a team of pediatricians that you find here. They write or review all health-related articles.