A week ago, I was in panic mode- 37 weeks pregnant, running out of time and nothing was ready. The house wasn’t up to scratch, the Moses basket needed to come out of storage, I still had work that needed to get done- it felt like I wasn’t ready to have a baby, and I couldn’t imagine feeling ready to give birth. My days were spent barking orders at the hubby, crying from the pressure and feeling rather grumpy and tired with life.
Just a few days later I’m sat here so happy and grateful. I feel so ready to meet my baby. I’ve been painting, writing, taking long strolls on the beach, pampering baths and enjoying the sunrises with a deep peace.
My “To-do” list is still the same length
My kitchen cupboard door is still resting on the floor
My washing machine is on the blink
And yet I’m so ready to give birth
I’m so ready to meet my baby.
So, what’s the difference between then and now and what does that have to do with creating time for self-care when you have a newborn?
The only real difference is my mindset. None of my external circumstances have really changed- The items I was frantically ticking off my to-do list were replaced with just as urgent tasks.
Everything remained the same apart from my view of the situation.
I thought I’d be writing this article with a newborn in my arms (instead I’m sat on my birthing ball) and it seems crazy to think that by the time you are reading this my belly will be saggy and I’ll be up to my neck in stinky nappies and taking in those amazing big eyes.
It actually scared me to write this article. How can I write this as I’ve never loved myself or practiced self-care with a newborn before?
It's All about the Mindset for Self-Care
Read about how to get started with self care
Now I know that self-care is so important that it’s something I can’t ignore or put on the sidelines. I also know from experience when I have a newborn I will be in full out zombie mode and I’ll be living without any sleep. I’ll also have two other little kids to keep alive, home education to keep up with and that’s without spending time with my gorgeous teenagers, dog and I guess the hubby will have to get a look in at some point too. It’s going to be tough- but here’s where the mindset kicks in and I have to remember there is no right or wrong way to do this- I have to make time for myself- I have to show love for myself and find ways to make me feel good too- I’m just as important as the rest of my family.
- Just 5 minutes of self-care can make all the difference
- Self-care is not just getting nails done or pampering yourself- It's basically anything that you consider an act of love towards yourself- so anything can count if it’s something that makes you feel good (if that’s getting your nails don’t- that’s fine too!)
- You are worthy of feeling good too- especially after having a baby! In fact, this is probably a point in your life when you are MOST worthy of giving yourself some care, love, and empathy- think about what amazing things your body has just done for you! How tired she must be! She really needs your love right now.
- In order to keep giving to your family, you need to take care of yourself
- Sometimes you will need to ask for help and that’s ok!
So what can you do?
Some (most!) women view a shower in the morning as a necessary part of their routine, a quick 5 minute wash. However, some women (especially those with a new baby) view it as an act of love towards themselves, as a treat to have 5 minutes to care for themselves. The shower is the same but it’s all about mindset on how you see the act that makes it “a treat” or everyday selfcare and neither one is right or wrong.
So here’s some practical Selfcare Ideas for moms with newborns:
- Loose yourself in one of your favourite songs.
- Dance if you feel able, take yourself back to your teenage years or close your eyes to a song that makes you feel really good.
- Write yourself a love note
- It can be one sentence or a full letter to yourself. Remind yourself how important you are. Tell yourself to have empathy with your body. Write in capital letters: I AM ALREADY ENOUGH. Keep it in your purse or on the fridge and look at it when you are feeling overwhelmed or upset.
- Moisturise your whole body
- Pick something that smells so good and really love your body as you look after your skin.
- Try a 5 min Guided meditation
- There are loads to choose from on YouTube. You can sit or lay down, with your earphones in and take 5 minutes to just listen and relax.
- Drink water
- I know you already feel like you are going to pass out from thirst every 2 minutes but the temptation to not bother drinking after you’ve had a baby (especially if you haven’t got someone else to get it for you) is strong when you’ve been up all night. Care for yourself enough to get water and keep a bottle near you at all times!
- It’s hard to switch to a gratitude mindset when your head is clouded with the baby and zero sleep but try to take a few minutes to write down (in a gratitude journal) or even on Fb something that you are grateful for every day. It really can help to lift you up.
- Eat some real food!
- There’s two things newborn moms look for in food- It’s got to be easy and quick to grab from the kitchen and it’s got to be able to be eaten with one hand! Also, because we are so tired our bodies crave sugar and carbs so often the food we are grabbing is from a packet. To show your body some love you can ask a friend to make you some nourishing food or even just keep packets of healthy snacks in the kitchen so you at least have the choice to eat some real food even just once a day.
- Watch something funny
- The great thing about newborns is they don’t get innuendoes and won't copy swear words! so watch something that makes you laugh out loud but if you have older children you may have to stick to cat videos!
- Have a “No Should Day”
- For one whole day, every time you catch yourself saying- “I should do this” stop yourself. Unless it contributes to keeping your baby & kids alive there are no “should” for the whole day. Enjoy yourself, chill in your pj's- do whatever makes you happy- there’s nothing that can’t wait until tomorrow.
- Try out the 5-minute reset
- Join our group over on Facebook and there’s a link for a 5 minute MP3 that I created to reset your mindset if you are having a bad day- it’s completely free and really works.
- Do one thing you’ve been putting off
- Choose something super easy that only takes between 5-10m mins. It can be making yourself a dentist appointment or throwing out that green thing that looks like it’s starting to grow legs in the fridge.
- Connect with someone you love
- A 5 min phone call or invite someone round who lightens up your day. Talk truthfully about how you are feeling and really connect.
- Sit outside
- If you can and the weather is playing nice, get outside for a few minutes and just breathe in that fresh air
- On YouTube (good ol’ YouTube) there are guided EFT sessions that take between 3-8 minutes. EFT is tapping on certain parts of your face and body while you repeat what the practitioner is saying. That sounds weird, right? But it works!! It helps unblock fears, lifts your mood and even can help you get more energy! I’m a total convert.
- Whenever you can! Goes without saying, right?!
- ASK FOR HELP!
- Ask your family, hire a postnatal doula or recruit a friend. Even 15 minutes of help could completely change your day & your mood.
- Listen to your body
- This is perhaps the most important one on the list. Lay down for a few minutes and listen to what your body is trying to tell you. Take note of any pains or niggles but ultimately just feel empathy for your body who not only grew your baby, birthed him/her safely into the world but who now is so tired and trying her best to keep you & your baby safe. Treat her well and promise to love & respect her because she has done such an amazing thing for both of you- she really needs your kindness and love now more than ever before.
More advice for mums with newborns
- Nursing box an activity solution for when you have a baby and a toddler
- Some activities and play ideas you can do with your newborn in the first month
- What you really need for a newborn