When you have a baby demanding your attention throughout the day, practicing self-care may be hard, but that does not mean that it is not important. Self-care is ensuring that you take time to care for your physical and mental wellbeing. Taking care of yourself can give you more energy to care for your baby! Read on for some ideas on how you can practice self-care.
Getting Adequate Rest
A newborn baby has no fixed sleep schedule and will typically wake about every 3 hours to be fed. You may not be able to get an uninterrupted 6 to 8 hours of sleep until your baby has eased into a sleep routine a few months down the road. However, it will be best if you try to get as much sleep as possible to avoid feeling fatigued and overwhelmed. These are some ideas to help you get adequate rest:
- Follow your baby’s sleep routine
- Take turns with your partner to feed the baby
- Create a good sleep environment for better sleep quality
- Catch short 20 to 30 minutes naps
Finding Time to Exercise
Exercise is another great way for you to improve your mental wellbeing. It helps to alleviate your stress while taking care of a newborn. In addition, keeping to a regular exercise routine can help to give you a boost of energy as it gets the heart rate up and releases endorphins.
Though you might be busy taking care of your baby throughout the day, you can aim to find small pockets of time to squeeze in a quick workout. For instance, your partner can help to take care of the baby while you go for a quick jog in the morning or you could do some Pilates while your baby is taking a nap.
If you find it hard to take time out from caring for your baby, you can also consider involving your baby in your exercise routine. Talking a long walk with your baby in the stroller is a light and effective aerobic exercise that you can do together with your baby. Another example is dancing with your baby. This can be done by holding your baby close to you and supporting your baby’s head while slowly grooving to the music that you love.
Ensuring Good Nutrition
Keeping up with your nutrition might seem time consuming. However, it is important that you eat a healthy and balanced diet to boost your energy levels. You can consider prepping nutritious meals ahead of time that can be easily reheated when you need them. This can help limit the urge to snack on unhealthy foods to satisfy your hunger.
If you do need to snack, consider preparing healthy snacks to be eaten on the go to stay energized. We recommend trail mixes with a variety of nuts or Greek yogurt with fresh fruits which are nutritious and simple to prep. Healthy eating does not have to be boring, get creative and explore other combinations and flavors that you enjoy!
Staying connected with friends and family can help you avoid feeling burnt out by boosting your mood. You can schedule some time to connect with close ones on a regular basis. For example, having monthly brunch with your friends to catch up with each other’s lives or going on weekly date-nights with your partner. While spending time together, you may want to talk about other topics other than the baby.
Your health is of utmost importance. As such, you need to tend to your own health to ensure that you are in tip-top condition to take care of others. Consider scheduling health check-ups with your doctor to check in on your physical, mental and emotional well-being. Going to the dentist to clean your teeth is also vital as changes during pregnancy can result in gum disease. It might be harmful to your baby as bacteria in the cavities can be passed on to the baby.
You may want to look out for signs of postpartum depression such as excessive fatigue, feelings of hopelessness or severe mood swings. This is different from the baby blues as it lasts for a longer period of time and is greater in intensity. If you have symptoms of postpartum depression, it is recommended for you to seek help from your doctor or therapist as soon as possible.
It is easy to lose yourself in the hustle and bustle of taking care of your baby. However, taking time to care for yourself should not be a guilty pleasure. Remember to go easy and be kind to yourself!
WebMD (2019). Taking Time for Yourself. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/taking-time-for-yourself
Rodriguez, D. (2019). Why Exercise Boosts Mood and Energy. Retrieved from https://www.everydayhealth.com/fitness/workouts/boost-your-energy-level-with-exercise.aspx#:~:text=Any%20exercise%20or%20physical%20activity,and%20give%20you%20more%20stamina.
Kalpana, M. (2020). 21 Fun Ways To Exercise With Baby Post Pregnancy. Retrieved from https://www.momjunction.com/articles/exercises-you-can-do-with-your-baby_00330708/
Garone, S. (2019). We Asked Sleep Consultants How to Survive the Newborn Days. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/sleep-consultants-share-tips-for-new-parents#The-Donts
Pietrangelo, A. (2016). Everything You Need to Know About Postpartum Depression. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/postpartum-depression#treatment