Ideas to Promote Self-Care
Here are six suggestions provided by Dr. Beth Krause, a maternal psychological and wellness expert, on how to make time for yourself while juggling your daily routines on top of caring for your little one:
Try to get out at least once a day and start developing a rhythm and routine!
Carve out time each week to do something for yourself.
Take good physical care of yourself. We’re talking nutrition, hydration, and rest.
Get help with (and lower your standards for) housekeeping.
Take that necessary break! Meet up with a girlfriend (virtually if we are still social distancing) for lunch, watch a movie, exercise, etc. You can allow yourself this at least one morning each week.
Get Some Consolidated Sleep.
Prolonged sleep deprivation is not good for you or your baby. Major suggestion: share nighttime responsibilities. If your partner is available, split the nights into 4-hour shifts and sleep separately with the baby. Your partner can give a bottle (pumped breast milk or formula) so that you can take turns sleeping.
If you are doing all the feeding, let your partner do all the diaper changing!
Recruit close family or friends, or hire a night nurse, to take the night shift once or twice a week (if this is a safe option for you right now).
Any time you can get help, try to sleep in a quiet, dark place (where you can’t hear the baby).
Get Out of the House!
Try to get out at least once a day and start developing a rhythm and routine! Check out a mommy-and-me class at your local library (or, in the age of social distancing, many resources are now offering "virtual" options) or go for a walk in your neighborhood or on a local trail.
Start to build a community of new moms going through what you are going through. When it is safe to do so, attend local mom outings, get-togethers, and events! In the meantime, check out online support groups, including this free weekly group from our friends at The Postpartum Stress Center.
If your body feels good you can start with some light exercise such as walking before your first postpartum visit. Wait to do any strenuous exercise until after your postpartum visit.
Build a Shared Experience of Parenthood with Your Partner.
Stay connected by building in couple time! Take 10-15 minutes at the end of the day to talk about you. Share stresses, express affection, and validate one another.
Schedule date nights or overnights without the baby (only when/if it is safe to do so).
Develop a sense of “we-ness” that includes the children.
Involve partners in caretaking! The earlier they are involved, the more they bond with the baby and the more help moms get!
Engage with your partner about how you are feeling and check in on how he/she is doing.
Integrating some of these ideas slowly into your life will help you survive the early months and not lose yourself in the business that is motherhood.
With warmth and wellness,
Your EmmaWell Team
P.S. We are so thankful for the team of amazing advisors that support us at EmmaWell. A special thanks to Dr. Beth Krause for her help with this post.