Caring for Yourself While Caring for a Newborn

Maybe your baby is due in a week or two. Or perhaps you’ve already welcomed your little one into the world. Either way, you might be concerned about meeting your own needs when you need to dedicate so much time and energy to caring for your baby.

It’s hard to master this balance. But as a new parent, it’s important to care for yourself, too. You do not need to push yourself to the point of burnout in order to give your baby what they need. These tips will help you find ways to practice self-care and feel your best when you have a newborn.

Prepare in Advance

Caring for yourself starts before the baby arrives. Make sure to invest in a comfortable postpartum wardrobe, stock your freezer with plenty of healthy meals that you can simply heat up, and get all of the baby gear that you will need.

Go over all of the postpartum care guidelines that your doctor has set out. Ask any questions that are on your mind. This is especially important if you are having a scheduled C-section. When you have plans in place that will allow you to meet your needs before your due date, you’ll be able to cope better with unexpected challenges.

Find Community

Finding a group of other parents who are in a similar stage with their children as you can be immensely helpful. Being able to bounce ideas off of each other, determine if what your baby is doing is “normal,” and just knowing that you are not alone are incredible ways to care for yourself.

Ask for Help

New parents often feel guilty about asking for help. But human beings need strong support systems. In the past, new parents would never have been expected to handle everything on their own! Before your baby arrives, talk to your relatives and friends about what you might need help with and find out how they can pitch in. Knowing that other people have your back during those exhausting first few weeks is such a relief!

Choose Hands-Free Leisure Activities

When your baby is born, it’s naturally going to be harder to have the time and energy for your usual hobbies. But there are plenty of low-energy, hands-free activities that you can engage in when you’re home with your baby. For example, you might want to watch documentaries about subjects that interest you, catch up on a TV show that you’ve always loved, or listen to audiobooks and podcasts about your favorite subjects. These are good ways to unwind with your baby.

Open Up Emotionally

Society places all sorts of expectations on new parents. You might feel like you’re supposed to be so in love with your baby that all of the hardships can’t shake your mood. But this is simply not true for lots of parents! If you’re feeling overwhelmed, upset, anxious, or irritable, turn to someone you can trust and allow yourself to open up.

Sharing what’s on your mind can make you feel like a weight has been lifted off of you. If you’re not feeling happy and blissful 24/7, there’s no reason to feel guilty! Chances are, many of the other parents in your life faced challenges after having a baby, too. Hearing their stories will be reassuring.

Limit Visitors

Yes, it is a good idea to ask for help. But you do not need to entertain every random visitor who asks to see the baby or happens to stop by your house. Let people know that you want to spend some time together as a family for a while before welcoming additional visitors into your home. Unless you’ve asked someone to help you with a specific task, you do not need to host them.

Are you struggling to care for yourself while caring for your newborn? Talking to a therapist can help. Reach out to us today to discuss your options for scheduling your first session in parenting therapy.