The first few days of motherhood are surreal. You’re sleep-deprived, you’re coming down from a weird adrenalin high, plus what you once knew to be your world has been completely overhauled (especially when you realise that your baby wasn’t born with a manual.)
Needless to say life after a newborn is messy…and it’s raw, but it’s also filled with a love so, SO deep it reminds you of that 90’s Dru Hill you used to listen to on repeat.
Nothing will ever compare.
Not even that one time you backpacked through South America and your tour guide left you high and dry. Your tour guide came back didn’t he? But this time?
You’re on your own babe. With your delicious newborn. And perhaps a partner who will undoubtedly rely on you (at times) like a newborn too.
But you know what? Before anything, a mum has to remember to look after herself. Because without her, this delicious new world of motherhood could come crumbling down.
Just think of a family structure like a house. A mum is the wall (that needs to stay strong) and hold everything up. Which is why we’ve rounded up some self-care tips for new mums to help her do just that.
Food glorious food. It’s fuel and it’s the nourishment that your body needs after the marathon that giving birth tends to be. It’s such an annoying thing to be reminded that you are what you eat, but you are. Protein, lots of veggies, good fats, delicious (and nutritious) carbs like brown rice, potatoes and minimal processed food and sugar – should really be a new mama’s staples. Especially if you’re breastfeeding. (Also; remembering to drink at least 3 liters of water a day will do wonders too.) Just think: Wholefoods! Because reaching for caffeine and sugar might seem like a fun thing to do in the short run – but in the long run it’ll only make you come crashing down.
It is the ghastly truth that you will sleep many less hours than you probably have EVER before. MANY less. But the weird thing is, that your body will just do it. You could even feel like you’re coping, then one day, BAM you’ll come crashing down, there’ll be tears and you know what? Lack of sleep will be to blame. Many midwives, doctors and other mama bears will tell you to sleep when your baby sleeps, to take naps during the day; so if you can do that then fab! BUT if you can’t nap, get your partner to take over some feeds (if you can) or diaper changes, just get them to help you out whenever, wherever so you can get those much-needed extra hours of rest.
This is probably the most important rule of all. Be aware you can’t do it all so there’s no need to pretend to be a superwoman and try. People will offer help and you need to say yes. Just think of all the time you’ll save by saying yes to your friend who’s offering to deliver you home cooked meals? Or your mum who wants to pop round and hold your delicious newborn so you can get a little extra time to blow dry your hair/take a nap/shower. Just let them. And don’t forget to ask for help if you need it too. You’ll be surprised at how many people close to you will be willing to help you out! Especially other mama bears who have been through the same thing, so don’t forget to be gentle with yourself.
Moving your body a little every day and getting some much needed fresh air out of the house is probably just as good physically as it will be for your mental and emotional state. Post-baby exercise is tough but if you can pop out for a 10-20 minute walk every day to clear your head, plus get a dose of vitamin D. You’ll probably come back refreshed and ready to deal with your next feed/nappy/baby life in a calmer more relaxed way. Popping out on your own might also be a fun way to get some much needed alone time too.
(DON’T FORGET!) BE YOURSELF
So you’ve just had a baby and you’re now a mum – congratulations. The journey of motherhood is not only one of the most amazing and character building experiences you will ever commit to but it won’t be your only identity. It’s important to remember who you were prior to having a baby. Remember to dedicate some time to the stuff that you used to love. Your passions, or things that you used to do for fun. Whatever that might be. And don’t forget to stay connected to your friends. Do what you need to do to keep feeling like ‘you!’
Ps. Don’t forget to have fun! Laugh. And be silly with your newborn. They’ll only be teeny, tiny for such a short time so soak them all up while you can.
Yadira (Yads) is a freelance journalist, health coach and new mama to a teeny, tiny baby boy who is slowly taking over her life. She writes about beauty, health/wellness and mum stuff on her website Clean Beauty Talk (www.cleanbeautytalk.com / @cleanbeautytalk) and probably spends a little too much time on Instagram ‘researching’ than she should. She also really loves eating chocolate, drinking coffee and eating peanut butter with a spoon when she works. They’re essentials to her deadlines…and her life.