Becoming a new mom is tough, but these postpartum self-care tips can help give you the nurturing you need.
Welcome to the rollercoaster ride of motherhood, where each day is a whirlwind of sleepless nights, a flood of emotions you never knew existed, and baby coos you wish you could play on repeat.
If you’re a new mom, congratulations on this incredible adventure you’re embarking on. Whether you’re just days, weeks, or months in, we can only imagine how the arrival of your tiny bean has left you feeling—unparalleled joy with a side of “oh gosh, I’m lost in a tornado of diapers and baby bottles”?
Though, it’s within this bittersweet chaos that you can easily forget the most crucial passenger on this wild ride…you. Yes, you, the superhero who brought a small human into the world.
As your friend, your confidant, and your friendly voice of reason, we’re here to help you navigate the postpartum journey (because you don’t need to do it alone!). From taking care of your mental health to recognizing when you need professional assistance and everything in between, let’s dive into our top postpartum self-care tips.
1. Take Care of You!
There’s no denying that parents put themselves on the back burner when it comes to their children. While you can’t help but make your little ones your number one priority, refusing to dedicate time for self-care can affect your overall parenting.
With your body requiring extra care and nourishment upon giving birth, it’s important to stay hydrated (is that water bottle on your nightstand empty?), eat a well-balanced diet rich in nutrients, and get some hard-earned rest—we know, it’s easier said than done! Incorporating gentle exercises into your routine can also expedite your recovery. It could be as simple as light walks or pelvic floor exercises, but the key is to move at your pace.
2. Keep an Eye Out for Signs of Postpartum Depression
Motherhood brings forth a lot of change, including a spectrum of ever-changing emotions. While some shades are less joyous than others, it’s crucial to recognize if you’re feeling trapped in a prolonged shadow of sadness, hopelessness, or worthlessness.
These feelings are correlated to postpartum depression, a type of mood disorder that affects up to 15% of women after childbirth. The medical condition, which is often mislabeled as “baby blues,” can develop within the first few weeks to months after giving birth. It’s also marked by other serious symptoms, like a lack of interest in once enjoyable activities, the inability to connect with your infant, and thoughts of self-harm. Acknowledge your feelings during this transitional period, and if you find yourself experiencing any of these symptoms, seek immediate help.
3. Seek Professional Help When Needed
Your mental health as a new parent is vital. Not only does it play a direct role in how you navigate the unpredictability of parenthood, but it also impacts the quality of your relationship with your baby. If you’re feeling like you need an outlet to work through what you’re experiencing, that’s okay. Know that seeking professional assistance is a courageous step—and one that should be met with praise and support.
With BetterHelp, an online therapy service, you can take appointments right from the comforts of your home, and on your schedule. That means you have a licensed therapist at your fingertips, available through text, phone, or video, all wrapped up in an affordable monthly subscription.
As the world’s largest therapy service, BetterHelp also gives you access to one of over 30,000 licensed therapists in their massive network based on your needs, preferences, and location, so you can match with a therapist in as little as just 48 hours. If you’re looking for a little extra support from other moms facing similar challenges, you can opt for group sessions. It’s like a virtual village just for you.
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4. Find Your Village
Moms, we know you carry the weight of the world on your shoulders, but navigating this new era shouldn’t be an act you bear alone. Finding a support system can be paramount for both your mental and emotional well-being, whether it’s your significant other, family, friends, or a mommy support group. Surrounding yourself with comfort, laughter, and shared experiences can be the safety net that’ll uplift you when you need it most.
5. Carve Out “Me Time”
Oftentimes, it’s easy for moms to fully embrace their role as caretakers, devoting all of their time and energy to their new bundle of joy. But it’s important to not lose sight of who you were before children, and to not forget about what brings you happiness and relaxation in the process.
Devote time throughout each week that puts your first, so you can maintain your identity outside of motherhood. Reconnect with hobbies you love, or indulge in a guilty pleasure—maybe a TV series that’s just for you. This time is crucial for recharging and preserving your mental and emotional health.
6. Recognize (& Celebrate!) How Far You’ve Come
With so much always happening at once, it’s easy to overlook the small victories of parenting. Take a step back and celebrate all that you’ve achieved and how much your baby has developed—because of you! Whether it’s your baby sleeping through the night or you mastered the art of one-handed diaper changes, these small wins contribute to your growth as a mother. Acknowledging them can give you the feel-good emotions you need to keep going.
7. Set Realistic Expectations
Hooray, you’ve been promoted to the new role of mom, but like any new job, this period comes with some adjustments and level setting. Set realistic expectations of what you can and cannot accomplish in one day to gift yourself some much-needed compassion and grace.
Consider simplifying your daily routines to manage the demands of caring for a newborn. Rather than going to the grocery store, try ordering your meals weekly from a meal delivery service. If you’re overwhelmed by neglected household chores, tackle one area of the house every few days or divide and conquer with your partner. Every day may not be picture-perfect, and that’s more than okay.
8. Nurture Your Relationship with Your Significant Other
Amidst the sleepless nights and never-ending sea of bottles, don’t forget to nurture the bond with your partner. Communication is key and understanding each other’s needs in this new chapter of life is a must. Even simple gestures can go a long way in maintaining a strong and supportive relationship.
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