Bringing in a child to your home is a wonderful experience but it causes a huge shift in life as you know it, especially for first time moms. Adjusting to the new demands can be a challenge and like any great mama, our needs tend to fall to the bottom of the list. There is a problem with this however. If we aren’t ensuring we are taken care of mentally, emotionally and spiritually, we will quickly deplete. This can lead to frustrations, resentment and starting our new family in some horrible habits that keeps mommy’s needs not being met for years to come.
Here are some tips that may help you get your needs met while adjusting to the newest member of the family. I include some of what worked for me after some trial and error to help get your creativity flowing!
Prioritize Your Needs
When you have a few minutes free of holding your new little one, it is tempting to try to get anything done that you can. Dishes, laundry, phone calls, etc. hit the top of the list. These things, however, aren’t nearly as important as your own self-care. Sometimes you aren’t sure exactly how much time you will have so it is important your needs are above things that can wait till later. Take the moments when someone else is holding the baby or they are off to sleep to check in with your body and see what you need. Eat, sleep, shower, walk or do whatever you feel you need to be healthy. This will help your energy maintain throughout the day and ensure you don’t deplete. Here are some ways that this has worked for me:
- Whenever my baby wasn’t in my arms I went through a mental checklist – bathroom, food, sleep, shower (in that order). Only when I felt I didn’t need any of these things did I move on to other things that needed to be done around the house.
- My mom had told me “Sleep when the baby sleeps” and she is right! At least one of her naps during the day I rest at the same time. This keeps me moving throughout the day without loading up on caffeine or unhealthy foods.
- I allowed others to hold my baby every chance I got. It is sometimes hard for new moms to let the little one go but it will give you some time to do the things that only you can do for yourself. This is especially true for moms who breastfeed as there will be plenty of times that only you can give your baby what they need.
- I made sure I had food planned that was easy to grab with one hand and eat (great advice from my midwife). Protein bars, premade sandwiches, apples, bananas, boiled eggs, etc. all gave great options for me to make sure I was eating while my little one was in the other hand.
- Whenever I feed my baby I make sure I drink at least 8 oz of water. It is so easy to forget and to get dehydrated which will drain you to exhaustion quickly. Building this reminder helped me keep from hitting that point, another energy win!
Still Do What You Love
It is easy to lose yourself in the constant needs of the new love in your life. From feeding to diaper changing, the little one suddenly consumes the majority of your day, especially at first. Keeping your own identity, even in the early days, is important in staying energized and not feeling drained. This will take some creativity and you may have to do things differently than before, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t do them. Here are some examples on how I kept some of my favorite hobbies in my life:
- I absolutely love to read so feeding times are when I do reading (thank you iPad for making it hands free and kindle unlimited for giving me my fill of books). I am actually reading more now than I did before!
- My fill of dancing is done as I am rocking my baby to sleep to some of my favorite music; this is especially great for keeping me calm when she is on the fussy side.
- My meditation practice is done after my little one’s morning feeding (around 5am), often as she goes back to sleep in my arms.
- Yoga and writing happen when my girl hits slumber land at night. (Unless I am doing gentle baby yoga)
New moms will read this in many articles and probably be told by many people, and it is well worth repeating. It is hard for many of us but it is so important to make sure you have the time and space to determine the best routine for you. No one can do it all so don’t try.
Invest in Things that Make it Easy
There are so many things out there that are made to help things be a little easier on you. Everyone will have different preferences but it is important that you find what works for you and don’t hesitate to spend the money on it. The Boba Wrap, for example, was a lifesaver for me, giving me the chance to cuddle with my baby as much as she needed but still clean and cook. Another great gift I received was a LillyBit bag, making it easy for me to run in and out of stores without bringing a huge diaper bag with me. These types of things save you energy and time, making it a little easier to take care of yourself. Look around online and ask friends, you will uncover a whole world of helpful tools.
Being a new mama will be filled with so much joy and excitement, make sure you take care of yourself to ensure you can enjoy every minute of it!