September is Baby Safety Month, a time when parents are encouraged to childproof their homes, triple check that car seats are installed correctly, and educate themselves on the latest guidelines and technologies surrounding infant safety.
And while all of that is profoundly important, we thought we might use this as an opportunity to also remind new moms out there that one of the safest things you can do for your child is to take care of yourself. Here are four simple self-care ideas for new parents, so you can be firing on all cylinders as you cherish and protect your new bundle of joy.
1. Drink Up
While wine is always encouraged, what we’re talking about here is good old-fashioned water. Whether or not you’re breastfeeding, looking after a new baby is a potentially depleting task when your body isn’t getting enough H2o.
Avoid unnecessary fatigue, headaches, and brain fog by keeping a water bottle with you throughout the day, and setting hourly reminders to chug and refill as needed. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how much clarity you’ll gain from being well hydrated. It’s a simple habit that can have a significant impact.
2. Prioritize Rest
There’s no way around it: a well-rested mom is a mom who is more likely to be attuned to her new baby, and better-able to tackle the unique challenges of early-parenthood. While the old “sleep when the baby sleeps” advice isn’t always realistic, we do suggest that you give yourself permission (especially in those precious early days!) to at least rest whenever your little one is asleep during the day.
This might mean laying on your couch scrolling through Instagram, taking a quick power nap, or simply sitting and enjoying a few minutes of silence before catching up on emails during naptime. Whatever these bursts of rest look like for you, just make sure that you are exhaling and resetting, even if just for a bit, throughout the day.
3. Give Up The Idea of Doing It All
Don’t confuse being a superhero (which every mother is) with the idea that you should be able to do it all (which no human can or should). Release yourself from the pressures of perfection by leaning on a partner, phoning in favors from friends and family, and outsourcing household chores and other non-essential tasks whenever possible.
Your number one priority right now is taking care of yourself, so you can take care of your baby. So try not to waste time and energy stressing about the dishes that are piling up. They (and pretty much everything else) can wait.
4. Embrace Your Village
We were never intended to raise babies alone, and trying can make for one isolated, out-of-sorts mama bear. Whether it’s family members who live nearby, a local moms meet-up group, or intentionally connecting with friends who are also new parents, being able to share with and lean on a trusted village is so important to the mental health and overall well-being of new moms.
Even just engaging in an online community of other moms can be profoundly beneficial, and serve as a reassuring reminder that you are not alone in the beautiful insanity that is raising tiny humans.
These are just a few of the many ways new moms can safely prioritize their own mental health and set themselves and their babies up for success. Parents, let us know in the comments below what your go-to self-care practices are!