Life with a newborn is full of extremes. There’s so much love, laughter, and amazement at the tiny human you’ve created. There’s also a lot of anxiety, doubt, and tears (the baby’s and yours) as you try to navigate life on broken-up sleep, loads of tiny laundry, and the dozens (and dozens) of questions constantly swarming through your mind.
It can be hard to find a moment to sit down for a meal, let alone a nap. But self-care during this time isn’t just important, it’s crucial. Even more so if your baby is on the fussy side.
For me, any time my son hit a growth spurt, had a day totally out of his routine, or had an upset stomach (exclusively breastfeeding didn’t work out and we had to try different formulas), he was particularly fussy and I felt it as much as he did. I knew I had to take care of myself so that I could take better care of him. Here are a few of the things I’ve added into my routine so that I’m taken care of too.
1. Take 5 (or longer!)
I try to find some downtime every day. It could be the 15 minutes before the baby wakes in the morning, during his afternoon nap, or just whenever I have the chance. Sometimes I just take some deep breaths, close my eyes, and rest. (At this point I occasionally fall asleep, but that’s great too!)
One of my favorite times of day has become the 20 minutes or so I take at night to get ready for bed while my husband cares for the baby. I sometimes take a quick shower or use a facial mask to pamper myself a bit. It’s usually the only time of day I’m completely alone and I relish it.
2. Fuel up
During my first couple of months as a mom, I often checked the clock at three in the afternoon and realized I hadn’t yet had lunch OR breakfast! I knew I needed to change that. I also knew that I wasn’t going to spend 20 or more minutes preparing myself a lunch, and that prepping the night before doesn’t work for me either, so I’ve had to make other plans.
What does work for me is having fast and easy meals on hand that take just minutes to prepare: a peanut butter sandwich, canned soup and a salad, even frozen convenience meals. What’s important is making sure I’m fueling my body ALL throughout the day with food and water, no matter how I get it!
3. Get dressed
I’m definitely not putting on a pencil skirt and heels every day (or any day lately!), but I do try to take the time to change out of my PJs and into “regular” (but still comfy) clothes each day. Some days I don’t get there until after lunch, but hey, I made it!
Getting dressed and even putting on a little makeup occasionally makes me feel more like my old self and you know what? I like that old self! She needs to be reminded she’s still there, even if she’s a mom now.
I don’t know about him, but I feel much better when I get dressed for the day!
4. Treat yourself
I’m not spending my days shopping online (though the occasional midnight-feeding shopping spree has occurred). No, I mean treating myself to things like a warm bubble bath once or twice a week, or looking forward to a hair appointment I’ve got scheduled. Even something as simple as painting my own nails feels like a real treat these days.
5. Get out of the house
As a work-from-home mom, I can go a little stir-crazy sitting inside all day long. One of my favorite activities has become taking my baby on a walk. I move my body and get some fresh air, and the baby falls right to sleep in the stroller. Win/win! Just taking a 30-minute walk a few times a week helps to clear my head and makes me feel refreshed.
6. Let some things go
Recently I surrendered to the fact that I’ll never catch up on my laundry. There will always be a pile to fold, something to throw in the dryer, or things I forgot to take out of the washing machine (again). I’m ready to accept this as my new normal. Letting go of some of the tasks I had told myself were necessary (they totally aren’t) frees me up to have more relaxed days with my baby.
7. Be easy on yourself
I’ve had plenty of bad days as a new mom. Even some bad weeks! There are days the baby seems to do nothing but cry, I haven’t taken a shower since I can’t remember when, and things that used to take me an hour to accomplish now take days. Bad days (or weeks) don’t mean I’m a bad mom, though. I’m learning to give myself a lot of grace as I navigate motherhood. My plan? Try again tomorrow.
Go easy on baby’s belly with Plum Organics® Gentle® Infant Formula. While most brands reduce lactose, or add corn syrup solids or maltodextrin, we use 100% organic lactose (from cow’s milk) as our primary carbohydrate. The difference is that our formula contains easy-to-digest* proteins, which is gentler on baby’s sensitive belly. So you can provide calm and comfort, without compromising quality or nutrition.
- partially hydrolyzed proteins
This post is sponsored by Plum Organics. All opinions are truthful and my own.
All photos by Jamie Reed