Think taking care of yourself goes out of the window once a baby arrives?
It’s more important now than ever before. “When on earth do I have the time to do things for me..” I hear you say, “I barely scrape the time together to do the housework!” But trust me, you’ll never look back on this time as a new mother, and think “I wish I cleaned the kitchen more” but you may think, “I wish I looked after myself more”, and here’s why. Cleaning is short term, needs constant maintenance, but ultimately always ends up dirty again. Looking after yourself however, goes along way in helping you to be the best person and mum you can be in both the short term and the long term. We’ve put together a list of small things you can do that will go a long way in keeping you sane, happy and most importantly, you.
Eating well takes on a whole new meaning once your a mum. If you’re breastfeeding, nourishing yourself with good food and lots of fluids is essential to nourish your little one. Breastfeeding burns around 500 calories a day so fill yourself with wholesome home cooked grub (think batch cooking and generous family and friends) and of course a brownie or two for good measure. It’s also recommended that you drink an extra pint of water for every feed, so get drinking ladies!
Even when bottle feeding, eating and drinking well will give you the energy you need to be at your best and sleep well. It may be tempting to rush into shedding the pounds to get your pre-baby body back but this is not the time to diet as you’ll need all the energy you can muster. It takes 9 months to grow a baby and 9 months for your body to recover/heal from pregnancy and birth so its important to not rush your body. You’ll get there in time.
Well this is going to be short…it does get better eventually, we promise! But seriously, even if you could never function on less than 8 hours before baby arrived, your body strangely adjusts to the lack of sleep, and there’s going to be a lack of sleep. You’ve probably heard it before but try and sleep when baby sleeps (the housework can wait) and don’t be afraid to ask for help so you can catch a few z’s.
In this age of celebrity mums, there is a lot of pressure to simply ‘snap back’ to our pre-baby figures, but our bodies are not elastic bands that will simply snap back. Growing a baby reconfigures our internal structure so we need to appreciate that it takes time for things to go back to normal inside before we can even think about honing those abs.
Speaking of abs, this is one key area that needs to be looked after post-baby. In pregnancy, our tummy muscles naturally separate to allow our baby to grow and it takes time and a bit of work to bring them back together. The muscles separating is called diastasis recti and this could be made worse and separate further if you jump straight back into exercises like crunches and planking. These only work the external muscles when its bringing together the deeper trans muscles that is required. These deeper muscles can be worked on daily by doing simple things such as tightening your stomach muscles when lifting and holding your baby, walking, reaching and generally being aware of and straightening your posture.
Diaphragmatic breathing also does wonders for your stomach post birth, learn more here. Other simple but highly effective movements such as pushing with your arms, gently working upwards also goes a long way in helping bring those muscles together. These movements along with gentle stretching are practiced in our baby yoga classes to help aid post natal recovery.
Taking some time to simply relax will do you the world of good. While baby’s sleeping or the other half is taking one for the team, aim to do the below suggestions at least once a week.
Close your eyes and focus on your breathing or listen to your favourite music. Apps such as Calm and Headspace are fantastic tools to aid meditation, especially for beginners.
Have a long soak in the tub. Use your best bubble bath or oils and enjoy just being.
File and paint your nails, especially now that you can reach your toes again!
Have a pamper evening and get the other half involved with face masks and hand massages.
Go for a walk. Daily walks can help reduce stress and the fresh air will also help baby sleep.
Stretching and yoga. Our baby yoga classes provide a distraction-free hour of special bonding time for you and baby while aiding their development and giving you a gentle stretch and a special time for relaxation.
Book a massage. If there’s ever a time a massage is needed more, this is it, right?!
Talking and sharing any worries can help enormously with any stress and frustration you may feel, helping you to relax.
Hire a cleaner. Even if its just for the first few months, banish that dread of having to clean your home for every visitor that wants to meet your new baby and revel in the bliss of not having to worry about it!
Whether you’re a mother of a newborn, a toddler or a teenager, a little escapism does wonders for soul. It may be difficult to fit in around a newborn who feeds every few hours, but it’s worth a try!
Read a book
Watch a movie
Buy yourself something nice; clothing, perfume, or something for the home.
Make plans, whether that be your first holiday as a family, a weekend away as a couple or lunch with friends, it’s important to have things to look forward to.
At a time when it’s easy to lose sight of yourself and your own needs, we hope this article inspires you to put self care at the top of your list.
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