Having a baby for the first time is one of the best feelings in the world, but soon enough, first-time parents will realize the hard work needed to sustain a new way of life. We forget to take care of ourselves.
Many things change for new moms and dads, including your sleeping and eating habits. While you act out of love, you may forget to take care of yourself when you juggle a career, a personal life, and a wailing baby every few minutes.
We’ve compiled essential self-care tips for new parents that aren’t just about taking a shower.
1. Preparation is key.
There are a ton of resources in preparing for a baby, but not too many for preparing yourself for what’s about to happen.
While you can prepare baby clothes, diapers, milk bottles, sterilizers, a crib, and baby-proofing the house, preparing your mind and body can be tricky.
There are a list of self-care tips you can do, but about-to-be parents usually take on a vacation before the baby is born. OB-GYNs recommend doing this in the second trimester of pregnancy. It’s when a mom-to-be feels best with less nausea and vomiting.
2. Adaptability: Embrace the change that works for you.
You’ve planned and prepared everything, or you haven’t. Maybe you haven’t even picked a name yet. That’s OKAY.
What’s equally important with preparation and planning is your level of adaptability. When you experience prenatal stress, for example, it’s important to find out what works to alleviate that negative feeling. A mom won’t be able to know how to act until the moment comes, which is why adaptability is a strong suit you will need.
3. It takes a village, they say.
Raising a baby takes a village, they say. And true enough, it’s not a one-man or one-woman job. You will need the help of family, friends, or even neighbors while you maneuver through the first few weeks of parenthood.
Remember to ask for help and accept help when it is given. Not only will it be healthier for you to sustain the parenthood maze, but it will also be beneficial for your baby when you can properly recover from childbirth.
If you decide not to expose the baby in the first few weeks, there are other forms of help you can consider. You may opt to get household cleaning, running to the grocery, and household cleaning help.
4. Journal your way.
It doesn’t matter if you write it down with pictures on a scrapbook, take videos and post them on your social media, or record them in a podcast.
It can be as simple as words in a notebook. However you want to journal, you’ll have something to ease your burdens on and maybe even look back to after a few years.
Journaling has been a known method to unburden yourself, unpack your thoughts, and reduce the weight of your daily struggles. It also cultivates growth as you learn to be more self-aware when you write. It also helps arouse a deeper sense of meaning and overall mental well-being.
5. Meal prep can do wonders.
Deciding what to eat seems to be one of the hardest questions that ever plagued mankind. Meal prepping may take half a day, but will help remove the burden of deciding what to eat throughout the next few days.
By prepping your meals, you will also have greater control over your nutrition. Otherwise, you will end up making poor food choices for the sake of convenience. Take it a notch further by adding CBD oil for a mood-boosting meal. CBD is popularly known to help alleviate anxiety, stress, and chronic pain.
You might also want to consider bringing in new appliances that will help you cook faster, like an air fryer oven, which is also touted to be a healthier way to cook.
6. Recite your affirmations, daily.
Daily affirmations are what you verbally tell yourself in front of the mirror to start your day in a meaningful and positive way. You can do it any time of the day, too — any time you need a quick reminder to take care of your mental and emotional self.
You can find examples of affirming statements for different struggles. You can also make your affirmations by using meaningful “I” statements:
“I will choose to let go of the things I can’t control.”
“I am willing to take on this tough day and know that it will all pass.”
“I love the way I look today.”
7. A 15-walk can go a long way in self-care.
“But it’s sooooo hard,” you say? You’re too busy?
When you get used to the routine, you can up it to 10 minutes, then 15 minutes to the nearby park. Walking improves your cardiovascular fitness and improves your mood for the day.
Once it becomes a habit, you’ll forget it’s a task and you’ll even look forward to it. When you miss walking on some days, don’t be too hard on yourself and consider ways to get back on track.
8. The healing power of showers or long baths.
It’s true. Taking a bath or even a 5-minute shower can do wonders for your mood.
There are countless compelling reasons apart from cleanliness. Bathing improves your mental and emotional health. It will even help you sleep better at night.
Warm baths are a self-care activity that is known to regulate your mood and lower stress levels. When you start a bath, you can also add mood-boosting aromatherapy through candles or reed diffusers in the bathroom.
9. Care for your overall health with hydration.
Why is hydration so important? For one, humans are 60% water. You won’t be surprised that many human functions require water, including the manufacturing of hormones and neurotransmitters, regulating body temperature, and delivering oxygen all over the body.
When you are dehydrated, you experience many different issues like tiredness, lightheadedness, and migraines which can last for hours.
It’s highly recommended to take 3.7 liters of fluids for men and about 2.7 liters for women. Harvard suggests eating water-rich foods like lettuce, squash, and melons, which take up 20% of our water intake.
10. Keep doing a dopamine-inducing activity (from your pre-baby period).
When you have a baby, your own life seems to take a big shift. We sometimes unintentionally lose ourselves between the diaper changes and the feeding sessions.
After the recovery period from childbirth, you can choose to bring back a hobby, a routine, or any dopamine-inducing activity you once loved as self-care. You don’t have to lose yourself in bringing up a human being. It’s okay to keep or bring back parts of yourself that are healthy for your physical and mental well-being.
Or you can also start a new hobby! It can be anything from joining a book club, running, reactivating your gym membership, swimming, yoga, or meditating.