Self-care for the New Mom
It happens all the time when we become moms: we forget ourselves. Not just a little bit, but completely, 100%. Our babies come first, all the time, and we don't even think about taking time for our own self-care. Today, I'd like to invite you to start a solid self-care practice. You need it, I promise.
I became a mom almost eight months ago and I'm still not good at taking time and space for self-care. The baby comes first, and when he's asleep I clean, I meal prep for the family or I get some work done. This article is about the things I do when I do take time off for myself. I hope it gives you ideas to do the best things for yourself, too.
Decide on what you need
Is it a warm bath? Is it a walk without the stroller? An hour with a great book? A journaling session? A talk with a friend without baby distractions? Eating a meal and actually tasting it? A floating session? A yoga class? Meditation?
Self-care doesn't have to be expensive and doesn't have to be at a fancy spa. Pick something that gives you energy or brings you peace. Something that lights you up and brings you back to yourself.
For me, self-care can be half an hour on my yoga mat. I can be journaling before the baby wakes up. Going to a cafe by myself. Dinner with a friend. A manicure. Or listening to a podcast while coloring.
Get some alone-time
When you're a new mom, you probably don't spend a lot of time alone. It's so easy to forget to eat, to drink or go to the bathroom, let alone actually spending time on getting grounded again or creating new energy for yourself.
I think it's crucial that we as mothers spend time without our babies. For me, this felt unnatural in the beginning, but once I learned to let him go, I got so much more back. I learned how to be alone again. How to get balanced, calm, energized. I came back to myself and this is so important.
Once my baby started going to bed earlier, this became a little easier. I can now spend a part of my evening on yoga, for example, while he sleeps. If you can't get alone-time at home, then I'd suggest leaving your baby with your partner, family or a babysitter you trust. Even if it's just for an hour. It's divine, I promise.
Scheduling things that I did just for myself, felt strange in the beginning. But once I started blocking time for yoga, for a long shower, or for dinner with a friend, it actually became easier. I also stopped using silly excuses, such as "I'm too tired to do yoga" (you're never too tired for yoga. Yin or restorative yoga are always an option).
I did learn that scheduling my self-care at a fixed hour ("yoga at 7 PM") didn't always work that well. Sometimes it would take me longer to put my son in bed, or I needed to finish work). That's why I now simply write down Evening: yoga. That gives me the whole evening to do it. I might start at 7 PM or it might be a short session just before I go to bed. This helps me avoid getting stressed about it.
Self-care with baby
But what if your baby is always there? What if you don't have space for alone-time today but you're in need of self-care? Don't forget that you can practice caring for yourself even when you're not alone. I love going on walks with my baby and practicing mindfulness at the same time. I try not to get caught in too many thoughts, but I simply look around, observe, breathe. I try to be very mindful when I play with my baby, too. I put away my phone, follows his eyes, watch him discovering textures and sounds, and try to be fully present. I also do breathing exercises when I breastfeed and I love doing yoga with the baby.
This is not easy and many times I reach for my phone to browse Instagram. I often nurse with my phone in my hand. I get stuck in my head all the time. But I keep on trying. I hope you're coming along on this self-care journey. We need it.