Having a baby is one of the most exciting things you’ll ever experience. In many ways, it can also be one of the most overwhelming.
You probably already know that you’re in for a lot of sleepless nights, fussy infants, diaper changes, and midnight feedings. As a new parent, it’s natural to put your little one first.
Unfortunately, that often means your own needs take a back seat.
While that might seem okay, at first, it’s not sustainable. As the old saying goes, “you can’t pour from an empty cup.” If you don’t take care of yourself and prioritize self-care, you won’t be able to take care of your baby as well as you want to.
With that in mind, let’s look at three tips you can use to prioritize yourself after your baby is born, so you can focus on your well-being while giving your best to your little one.
1. Accept Help
Chances are, you have people in your life who are willing to help you. While it can be tempting to do everything yourself, it truly does take a village to raise a child, and that can start right away.
Let your partner split responsibilities with you as often as possible. If that’s not possible, lean on family members or friends for support. Things like meal trains are great for giving you one less thing to worry about and providing the nutrition you need to have energy and strength.
Letting someone take care of laundry or cleaning can be another big help and take away some extra stress. Even letting someone watch your little one for a few hours so you can take a nap can make a big difference in how you feel. Let people help you, and don’t be afraid to ask for exactly what you need.
2. Make Time for Hobbies
Right now, your identity is rooted in being a parent. However, you don’t stop being “you” just because you have a baby. It’s important to maintain a sense of purpose and meaning outside of parenthood.
So, make time every day for your hobbies and passions. That could include things you’ve always enjoyed doing. Or, you might consider trying something new. Take a dance or art class. Start exercising. Write in a journal each day.
Whatever you can do that is solely for you – and something you look forward to – will be beneficial. Even if you can only find a few minutes for your hobbies each day, it will help you feel more connected with who you are and what you want.
While having a baby can keep you busy, it can also be a lonely experience at times. If you don’t have a partner or they’re not home most of the day, you might be craving some adult conversation.
Thankfully, it’s easier than ever to stay connected with other individuals nowadays, thanks to technology.
Consider joining an online support group for new moms. You might be surprised by how many women are feeling and experiencing the same things as you. Being able to talk to them and show vulnerability can help to reduce your feelings of stress, depression, or even guilt.
Try to connect with people in person as often as possible, too. Ask family members to come over if you’re comfortable with it. Or, meet a friend for lunch, and bring the baby along! It’s important to maintain strong connections with other adults, so you’ll feel supported, understood, and heard.
Self-care is never selfish, especially after having a baby. The more you take care of yourself, the more energy and attention you’ll be able to give to your child, and you’ll both experience the lasting benefits. If you’re struggling to make time for yourself or prioritize your well-being, don’t hesitate to contact me for more information on postpartum counseling.