15 Self Care Ideas For A New Mom (That You Can Do With A Baby Around)
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The thought of self care for a new mom kind of sounds like a bit of a joke doesn’t it? Like a one-liner meant for comedy night… but before you quickly brush off the possibility, take a moment to think about just how important self care is, especially for new moms. And I assure it, it’s possible, you just have to be creative with these self care ideas for a new mom, and a little focus on yourself.
As new moms we tend to put ourselves on the backburner, making everyone else a priority before us. Our baby, our family, our house, our friends… it all seems to come first. But at some point, your cup is going to run out and you’re not going to have anything left to give.
Self-care as a new mom is perhaps one of the most important things you can do. It helps improve your mental health, and until you take care of yourself, you cannot possibly take care of others. Liken it to putting on your own facemask in an aeroplane before others.
By adding in time for self-care you’ll see other little changes take place too. Your hormones will be more stable, your sleep will be better (as good as it can be with a newborn), your milk supply will be more stable or perhaps even increase. This is because self-care has physiological changes on our body that we don’t even realise on a day to day basis.
So if you think you don’t have time as a new mom for self care, then check out this list. These are all self care ideas for a new mom that you can do with babe around, or while at home with your baby, and will still give you the perks of self care. It may not be a spa day, but it will help you feel good nonetheless.
1 – Drink Your Favourite Tea In The Fancy Tea Pot & Cups
How often do you avoid using the fancy teacups because they’re for ‘special occasions’. Well Mama, you just gave birth to a small human and you’re rocking the fourth trimester, there’s no more of a ‘special occasion’ than this.
Splurge on some beautiful tea leaves (peppermint is my fave, and I even tried a chocolate and mint tea leaf blend once – amazing), and pop it on to brew just as your baby is going down for a nap (to capitalize on brew time and to maximize zen time to drink it of course…).
If tea isn’t your thing, then maybe go for an indulgent hot chocolate (with marshmallows) or even a beautiful coffee blend.
The point is – fancy drink + fancy cup = self care bliss.
2 – Soak Your Feet
When my little girl was born it was hot, like sweaty, stinky hot. And because of the heat, my feet would swell and they’d feel all hot and uncomfortable. My favourite self care thing to do was to pop my feet in a lovely foot bath while sitting nursing my daughter.
It seems like such a trivial little thing to do but it can be so relaxing and make you feel so much better.
I used cool water and added some drops of essential oils (lemon and peppermint – I really like peppermint) and while it wasn’t quite up to a pedicure at the spa, it was total bliss. Plus, my daughter was sleeping on me after feeding her so I couldn’t move. Even better.
You could use warm water in the cooler months if you want and even rope hubby into using a nice scrub on your feet too. Aahhh…
3 – Ignore The Chores and Read A Book Instead
The chores tend to pile up, but you know what? They can wait. Ignore the chores for a day, or even just for a few hours, and sink your teeth into an awesome book instead.
I love the Kindle for this, because I can cart a ton of books around with me at all times and it’s easier to hold than a book (in case the baby is sleeping on me, again). It also has lit display that doesn’t strain your eyes and it means I can read it even when the lights are off for babe to sleep. Current fave read is ‘Sleep Like a Baby’ by Pinky McKay – so good.
4 – Outsource a Task
One of the best ways to free up some time for self care when you feel like there just isn’t enough time is to outsource a task you don’t like doing (or don’t want to do). It could be the cleaning at home, even if it’s just someone to come in and clean the bathrooms and floors. Or you could find someone to come and cook meals for you for a few weeks. And it’s a lot easier than you might think.
If you are part of local groups, like churches or mother’s groups, often there are people willing to lend a helping hand, and are more than happy to be asked (you just have to overcome the hurdle of asking for help).
Otherwise, there are sites like AirTasker where you can post what you need and hire someone to do it. You could also go with simply searching for businesses in your area to see if there are people who can help out.
While it can be a little daunting spending money on this when you’ve just had a baby, the money is so well spent if it makes you feel better and gives you time to take care of yourself too.
5 – Sit Outside In The Sun And Soak In The Rays
Sunshine has been shown to increase serotonin levels, the neurotransmitter responsible for reducing depression and anxiety as well as regulating moods. Also, 10-15 minutes in the sun each day can give you enough Vitamin D to help reduce depression, as well as enough to pass through your milk to your baby too. Plus, it feels nice on your skin.
As a new mom it’s easy to get stuck inside the house, the days pass quickly in a mass of washing and feeding and more washing, and it seems like it’s never going to end.
Take some time to get outside, even if it’s just for a picnic in your backyard (of course, remember to be sunsmart with yourself and babe, and only spend small amounts of time in direct sunlight).
My favorite thing to do is to close my eyes and face myself towards the sun for just 60 seconds, allowing the sun to wash over my face, feeling the heat on my skin, and imagine all of my worries just melting away.
6 – Hire A Movie You’ve Been Keen To Watch
Thanks to Google Play and other various instant hiring services, we no longer have to head down to the video store, hope our movie of choice is still in stock, take it home and watch it only to have to repeat the process to return it a day later. (I know it’s not that difficult, but when you have a newborn, the effort seems to be magnified).
Treat yourself to whatever movie has been on your ‘to watch’ list, crank up the air conditioning and snuggle under a blanket, grab a bowl of popcorn and indulge!
7 – Cook A Fancy Dinner
While the thought of having to cook dinner doesn’t exactly scream ‘self care’ hear me out.
When we have a new baby we tend to opt for the quick and cheap options for dinner, which is totally understandable. Anything that can be thrown together in a rush and half resembles something healthy is a winner for sure.
But sometimes it’s nice to have something a little fancier.
What’s your favourite meal? Schedule in a day to make it, and be sure to enjoy eating it, even if you have to eat with a baby in your arms. Focus instead on being able to enjoy a beautiful meal that you love.
8 – Have a Nap
Need I say more? If you can sleep when your baby is sleeping then go for it! A nap is a brilliant self-care option as it refreshes you, has tons of health benefits, helps reduce your sleep debt you accumulate with a newborn and can even help babe sleep longer if they are a contact sleeper.
If you find sleeping during the day a little difficult try blocking out light in your room, making the room a little cooler and wearing comfortable clothes (yes, yoga pants totally count).
9 – Book In With A Mobile Hairdresser
Finding time to get to the hairdresser can be insanely difficult as a new mom. Combine lack of sleep and time to tend to your hair, with crazy pregnancy hormones that can leave you with broken and flat hair after your baby is born, and you’ll quickly understand why so many new moms rock the ‘mom bun’.
Thankfully, there are glorious angels known as ‘mobile hairdressers’ who will come to your home, set up their gear, pamper you, and clean up before they go! I know, miracles.
Book in with a mobile hairdresser, even if it’s just for a fresh cut and treatment (oh and don’t forget the head massage…).
10 – Go For A Walk
Exercise releases endorphins, a group of hormones that make you happy, decrease pain and provide a euphoric effect. No wonder so many people get addicted to it!
Post birth can be a difficult time to kick off a new exercise regime which is why I always suggest walking first (with permission from your care provider of course).
Walking has tons of health benefits, can help you to get moving after having a baby, gives you time in the fresh air and sunshine, and you can even increase the enjoyment by popping in your headphones and listening to your favourite music, a podcast or even an audiobook.
11 – Journal Your Thoughts, Feelings and Anything Else You Want
I said it after my son was born, and I still didn’t do it after my daughter was born, but gosh I wish I journaled more when they were little.
There are so many things I felt and wanted to remember from that time, even the struggles I faced. I’m the kind of person who finds writing therapeutic and I feel that if I had taken time to write and journal more during this time, I would have felt better about myself in the process.
If you’re the kind of person who loves writing, treat yourself to a beautiful notebook and take time each day to make a little note to yourself, to get your thoughts and feelings down. You don’t need to share it with anyone, but it would be interesting to read back on in years to come.
12 – Buy Your Favourite Magazine and Read While Eating Cake At The Coffee Shop
When was the last time you sat down and read a whole magazine, from cover to cover? Head out with your babe to your favourite coffee shop, (bonus points if you walk there and babe falls asleep on the way… winning), and sit with coffee (or tea) and a piece of cake and read a magazine you love.
Avoid the temptation to invite friends, or use it as a meet up with someone. Enjoy the time alone and enjoy the cake too.
13 – Listen To Your Favourite Podcasts
There are so many brilliant podcasts out there, you’re bound to find a bunch that resonate with you, no matter what your interests are. From self care through to parenting and every niche in between. Load up your phone with your faves, pop headphones in, or even just let them play on the speakers and enjoy.
14 – Connect With People You Love
Taking the time to connect with good friends and family can be just as therapeutic as time spent alone… as long as you spend it with the right people.
You know the people in your life who are energy sucks – they are the people who are high maintenance, who have good intentions (most of the time) but after spending an hour with them you feel like you’ve run a marathon. These are NOT the people you need right now.
Instead, find the people who will sit with you and listen, who will bring coffee without being asked and never show up empty handed, who look at you and as ‘how are you’ and truly care about your answer.
Invite them over, meet them at the coffee shop, or go to their house, whatever you need. Enjoy the adult conversations about things other than diaper changes and feedings.
15 – Take Time For A Hobby You Loved ‘Pre-Baby’
Depending on your hobby, you may or may not be able to do this with your baby around, but even if you can’t, do what you can to schedule this time in for yourself.
One of the biggest challenges after your baby is born is trying to connect your ‘new’ self to your ‘old’ self. It can feel unfamiliar and awkward in this new role and one of the ways you can get through this and overcome it is by taking time for a hobby you love.
This one may be more difficult to fit in, but if you can work out with your husband or other family members to help out in making it work, explain to them why it is important and schedule it in so it does happen, you’ll feel so good for it.
Self care as a new mom doesn’t have to be something of fairy tales and fiction, it is highly do-able. All you need is a little creativity and determination and you can make it happen.