Being a new mum is a mix bag of emotions and feelings, and it really isn’t one size fits all. Pregnancies, births, experiences; they are different for all of us. Some of us feel complete joy, while others are full of restless anxiety. Some feel on top of the world, and others a bit lost. We often feel happy, sad, excited, in love, worried, and confused all at the same time too! The one common feeling we all seem to feel at the end of the day is pure exhaustion! It’s so important to take care of ourselves as well in this busy, yet amazing time of our lives. It may seem all about the baby right now, but we know it needs to be also about mum, and dad too.
1. Nourish Your Body With Really Good Food
Feed yourself! Eat breakfast and second breakfast if you need it. For many mums we are literally the source of fuel for our babies, so we need to make sure we are full of fuel first. Even if you aren’t breastfeeding, new mums need to prioritise their food intake. We are up all night and up all day and we need good, nutritious substance to keep on going. As a new mum your body is still healing from birth too, so take of yourself. Eat fruits and vegetables, good fats, lots of snacks and a few sweet treats too! Don’t forget to drink plenty of water.
2. Get Outside and Get Fresh Air
In the early days you can sometimes find yourself trapped within the four walls of your house. It’s hard to grab a shower, let alone try to venture outdoors. When you’re ready and physically able to do so, start with a quick 10-minute walk around the block. You will be surprised by just how much you need it! Aim to get outside every day, even if it’s only a little bit. There are lots of little things you can do when your baby is still new and you might be a bit weary; take a little walk with the stroller, eat lunch outside, go to the corner store for bread, visit a nearby friend. A little fresh air, goes a long way.
3. Find Your Own Groove
When you have a baby, you quickly realise just how many “baby experts” there are out there. Read the books if you want to, listen to the advice that’s given, but then remember to trust your gut. No one knows a newborn baby more than its mother. You just spent 9 months together, trust that instinct that has grown in both of you. Having a baby is a whole new ball game and in this new chapter of your life, you have the chance to carve your own way. Find your rhythm and go with the flow.
4. Make a Plan and Take Your Time
At first the idea of going for a walk, going to a yoga class, or even showering before noon, will seem impossible. Try making a plan. Start simple, and don’t be strict with your deadlines. Say things like, “next week I’m going to take the baby for a walk in the pram around the block”, and “today I am going to attempt 10 minutes of meditation”, or maybe “next month we will run an errand!” It’s all about the baby steps, but you’ll get there. Try setting a date with a friend. Often the accountability of a close friend is the encouragement we need to step outside our comfort zone – even if it’s just for a bit.
5. Gather Your Tribe
There’s a reason the saying “it takes a village,” has stuck around for so long – it’s true! You may feel like you have to do it all, or prove to someone that you got this, but we say “gather your tribe!” Let your friends in, share the responsibilities with your family. Raising a baby is a lot of work, and they are all so different and none of them come with a manual. While you will have your ideals of what you want to happen, having the support and guidance from trusted friends and family will benefit everyone in the long run. This will be especially important when you want to shower alone! Surrounding yourself with good people will ground you.
6. Nourish Your Soul and Do Something For You
The days of early motherhood can often feel a bit lonely and repetitive. You may have gone from a fast paced social life to now stuck in the routine of feed, change, sleep, repeat. Just as its important to surround yourself with good people, it’s important to surround yourself with something you can focus on (even just a few moments a week) that is just for you. It will make you feel like a free human in the robot world of motherhood. Maybe it’s yoga, or an art class, either way find something you are passionate about and explore that.
7. Take a break
If you light a candle from both ends, it will eventually burn out. Remember that you need a break too. You need good food, rest, friends, family and fun. You also sometimes just need a break. Maybe it’s a day out by yourself, and maybe it’s a 15-minute meditation to clear your mind. A break looks different for everybody and can depend on the situation. Try scheduling regular breaks and you might see that you aren’t feeling as burnt out as you used to.
8. Nourish Your Mind and Be Mindful
Being a new mum can be a tad overwhelming at times. There is information overload coming from every angle these days for mums and dads. You must do this, and you need to have that – the truth is it can bring on a lot of parental anxiety and sometimes depression. Try to give yourself moments in each day to bring your awareness back into the present moment. Stop those racing thoughts, stop those growing to do lists or those comparisons racing through your mind. Pick something each day and try to do it as mindful as possible. This is a great way to ground yourself and not get lost in the overwhelm of motherhood. Ideas are to mindfully wash each dish at a time, mindfully set an intention for you and your baby during a feed, mindfully give your baby a massage noticing each tiny wrinkle and roll. Mindful thinking can make even the most mundane task a mind strengthening exercise.
9. Take it Easy and Take a Moment Each Day
Most of all, take it easy. No one is born knowing how to be a parent. Everyone is winging it. Don’t compare yourself to other mums, because everyone is in their own journey and for the most part everyone is just trying to survive. Try to find a few moments in each day to do something just for you, be mindful, nourish your body or just be. Enjoy this journey of your life. It will have hard parts, but try not to react, instead acknowledge that they are hard, accept they are hard, and keep going anyway.
10. Ask for help
If everything gets too much, ask for help. If you just want to drink a coffee while it’s still hot, ask for help. If you want a friend to help you get motivated and go for a walk, ask for help. Always remember, you are not alone, there’s a whole mumma tribe out there waiting for you.
Got a little bub with you, why not try our series Yoga for Mums and Bubs, free for all A Live Yogi members.
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