As a new mom, you might be amazed at how often people, some you barely know, are willing to give you advice about the days ahead. They’ll tell you things like, sleep when the baby sleeps, and they’ll ask if you’ve reached your ‘nesting’ phase yet. All of these nuggets of wisdom have merit, but it can be overwhelming and contradictory sometimes. Today, we’ll drill down on some of the most essential self-care tips for new expecting mothers. After all, taking care of your baby’s mom may just be the most important step you take in motherhood.
Mental and Emotional Self-Care
Your mind, spirit, and emotional balance will play a huge role in your ability to cope with a tiny new person to care for in your life. Here are a few mental and emotional self-care tips to consider. Experienced moms say these three steps are worth prioritizing.
Prepare Now with Your Very Own Mantra
Think of it as finding your rhythm. Find that saying, mantra, or pressure release valve statement that you can say to yourself when things get tough. There will be sleepless nights, you’ll feel helpless at times, and overwhelming emotions creep in during some of the darkest moments. Having a mantra, you can repeat to yourself during these trying times will help you let go of the burdening mental pressures. Some examples might be, “c’est la vie,” “I’ve got this,” or “this too shall pass.”
Get Out of the House, and Your Head
New moms may feel the pressures to be all about baby all the time. But experienced mothers will often warn of burnout and a need to step away and reset mentally. Preserve your sanity by getting out of the house, even if it’s just a quick walk down the block. Go for a solo drive and crank the tunes. You’ll find these brief moments to step away, are great for catching your breath and resetting your mind. And all of those friends and family members looking for ways to help can sit with baby for your alone time.
It’s Good to Have Selfish Moments
Treat yourself when you need it. Drive-through Starbucks for that guilty pleasure, morning latte. Buy and eat the double stuffed Oreos. Light the aromatherapy candles when you’re ready for a bath. These small rewards are well-earned and are much-needed as new moms navigate their new normal.
Physical Health Tips for New Moms
New moms will need to make physical self-care a priority, as well. While you might not feel like hitting the gym or cutting carbs, there are a few things you can do to promote your best physical health. Baby will thank you for it, too.
Get Your Food Groups
As a first time mom, the last thing you may feel like doing is cooking a square meal. But you need to eat, and meal skipping can leave you malnourished, feeling sluggish, and at risk for illnesses. Consider meal prepping and freezing meals that are easy to drop in the oven or crockpot. Let other people bring food, as well. Allowing others to prepare meals and snacks for you will mean you’ll have lunches and dinners without the burden of meal prepping yourself.
Once your doctor gives youthe official green light to get more active, you’ll want to find your best way to exercise. This doesn’t mean weight lifting or rigorous runs. Instead, consider yoga stretches, short walks around the block, or climb your stairs a few times. Do only what your body permits you to do, and don’t overexert yourself. But any amount of movement, promoting a healthy heart rate and engagement of muscles, can help in your postpartum recovery.
Finding Ways to Catch Your Z’s
Not everyone can sleep when baby sleeps. And if you’re the new mom who feels like baby’s nap time is the perfect time to catch up on laundry and dishes, you’ll find zero time for sleep. Experienced moms might instead suggest going to bed early with baby in the evening and going back to sleep after your morning feeding. Doing this, even with those nighttime interruptions, will average to about eight hours of sleep each night and provide you with the rest you need.
The Official To-Do Lists
Bringing home a tiny person for the first time can leave new moms with their heads spinning. And in the chaos of feedings, sleeping, and settling in, there are a few official tasks that might be overlooked. Here are a few new mom to-do’s to prioritize when arriving home with baby.
Set the Visitor Schedule and Expectations
Now is not the best time to concern yourself with being a gracious host and accommodating to others. Set your visitor schedules first thing, including any preferences you have about not holding or touching baby if you choose to do so. If you don’t want unwanted guests, tell friends and family when they can come or call. Otherwise, you’ll find they’ll be dropping by or calling at inopportune times, even if their motives are genuinely kind.
Order the Postpartum Comfy Clothes
When you get a free moment, and you’re browsing your social media, go ahead and add those sweatpants and hoodies to your shopping cart. You likely won’t be back to your original pre-baby size for a few weeks, and you’ll want to be comfortable as you adjust to life with baby at home. Drawstring joggers, easy-to-button flannels, and fluffy socks are completely in order these first few weeks.
Add Baby to Your Insurance
You’ll have a host of pediatrician appointments coming up soon. And you’ll likely have follow up visits with your doctor, as well. Now is the time to contact your health insurance provider to announce the new member you need to add to the plan. Giving birth is also considered a qualifying life event, affording you a special enrollment period to change plans via the marketplace.
Join a mom group. Get your hair appointment scheduled. Sit outside on the patio for an afternoon cup of tea. Wherever you find your peace as a new mom is perfectly acceptable. But if you’re still not sure what to expect, hopefully, these self-care tips can offer insights. And when you’re ready to browse for health insurance plans, do so with W3LL. A few brief and easy questions can put you on the path to sorting plans, available tax credits, and costs, as a completely free service to you.