A Guide To Self-care For New Mums

A Guide To Self-care For New Mums

Life is tough for new mums. Aside from being faced with meeting the unending demands of your tiniest but toughest ever boss – your newborn - society has unrealistically high expectations of new mothers; to quickly recover from the birth and bounce back to their pre-baby selves. The pressure to swiftly resume all roles—as a mother, partner, friend, and career woman—can be overwhelming and, if you feel like you're not making the grade, trigger feelings of failure. But this is where self-care can really help. Admittedly, self-care can seem like another task on an endless to do list but it is important to build a self-care habit gradually and not feel guilty if you don’t have a perfect routine from the start. Remember, though social media may indicate otherwise, perfection is rarely attainable and striving for it only leads to disappointment. The best approach is to do your best, incorporate what you can, and allow yourself space to be imperfect as you adjust to your new life with your baby.

Self-care goes beyond the odd spa day or brunch outing. Concentrating on more fundamental aspects such as proper nutrition, sleep, mindfulness, and exercise will help you regain a sense of perspective and control as you navigate this new normal. While occasional treats are enjoyable, focusing on the basics is crucial for long-term well-being; mental and physical.

  1. Nutrition: After childbirth, your body needs nutrients, vitamins, and minerals to recover and support you. Focus on eating healthy meals, but don't hesitate to enjoy occasional treats. Eating healthily most of the time provides the necessary fuel for your body and also ensures you have (almost!) enough energy to deal with day-to-day life as a new mum.
  2. Sleep: With a newborn, uninterrupted sleep might seem like a thing of the past. Babies typically wake up multiple times during the night in the first few months. To cope, extend your bedtime to allow more sleep-in segments or share night-time feeds with your partner.
  3. Mindfulness: Newborns are rarely quiet, which is understandable given their new and unfamiliar environment. Finding moments of silence is valuable. When your baby is napping or nursing, take a few minutes to sit quietly and simply be. Close your eyes, become aware of your body from your feet to your head, and acknowledge any discomfort or tension. This will give you a sense of peace and allow you the headspace to reset.
  4. Socialising: New mothers often feel socially isolated. Days without adult conversation can be common, and social outings aren't as simple as they once were. Reconnecting with friends over a weekend coffee, or meeting other new mothers through baby groups, can bring joy and rejuvenate you mentally, breaking the monotony of nappy changes and feeding.
  5. Exercise: Exercise might be the last thing on your mind post-birth, and understandably so. But once you feel strong enough, a daily walk outdoors offers numerous benefits. Fresh air, sunlight, and movement can alleviate physical discomfort and mental stress and being outside can also be soothing for your little one. Start gently and ease into regular exercise.

Finally, one of the best things you can do after childbirth is to lean on your support network. Don’t hesitate to ask for help with caring for your baby, preparing meals, or even having someone visit to lend a hand or let you sleep. The saying "It takes a village to raise a child" was coined for a reason so let it be your mantra!