When you become a mother for the first time, it can hard to make sense of this new world you’re living in. This is due to being sleep deprived and attempting to figure out the mystery that is a newborn, this little human you just brought into the world.
This all being said, if you don’t make some efforts to put yourself first from time to time, you won’t be able to be the best mother you can be to that sweet baby and I say this from experience. Running yourself down to the point of no return is not good for you, and it is certainly not good for baby.
While some of these may seem obvious, as a mom to three, I am here to tell you that they bear repeating. In fact, if you aren’t doing them regularly already, you should probably print them out as a reminder to take care of yourself a bit better. You can’t be a good mom if you’re not taking care of yourself. This motherhood game is not supposed to happen at the expense of mom.
In the first weeks and months after having baby, surround yourself with those friends and family members that you trust the most to be with you and your baby. But, more importantly, make sure they are actually helpful family and friends who can not only hold your little one and tell you how cute they are, but they’re also willing to change a diaper, throw in a load of laundry or allow you to take a nap.
Speaking of sleep – you need to sneak it in whenever, and wherever you can. The saying ‘sleep when the baby sleeps’ hasn’t been a mainstay of new mom advice for no good reason. This isn’t the time to be shy about sneaking in a nap. Listen to your body and don’t be afraid to go to bed early in these first weeks and months. You’re recovering from having a baby, it’s warranted.
Take a Shower (or a Bath!)
There is nothing like a shower (or bath) to refresh your mind and make you feel like a new person. Sure, there is something indulgent about a jammie day, but when you’re dealing with those sleep deprived, exhausting early days when the baby blues are easy to creep in, a shower or bath can be the key to helping your daily routine along.
Nourish Your Body
Eat regular meals and snacks, and make sure they are good for you. If you’re running on empty and trying to keep up with a newborn, even if you’re not breastfeeding, it’s going to catch up with you. If you have family visiting, make one of their tasks for helping out to tackle your grocery list and fill your fridge before they leave with healthy meals that you can throw in the freezer for longer term. It’s ok to ask them to help you with this, we promise. They wouldn’t be there if they didn’t want to help.
Get moving as soon as you are able. Take a walk with your little one in their carrier or stroller and get some fresh air. It will do wonders for your body and mind.
Get Out of the House
Pull a Chrissy Teigan and have your John Legend take you out for a nice dinner in between those feedings. Ask Grandma to be on duty for a couple of hours and enjoy your favorite dinner spot while she’s still in town helping you get acclimated to life with your little bundle. Trust us, it will be so nice to put on a pretty outfit and enjoy a meal uninterrupted together. Or, throw on something super casual and hit up the movies since baby is too young to be in the loud theater. Either way, get out and indulge in some time on your own for just a bit.
Here’s how the strategy works – feed baby their late afternoon feeding. Immediately jump in the shower afterwards and get ready. Top baby off with another feeding and head out the door. This top off feeding will buy you your two hours out. If your favorite dining spot has call ahead seating, make sure to plan ahead so you can spend the bulk of your time seated and enjoying every item you can from the menu.