The moment you have been looking forward to for the past nine months is finally here. Wave goodbye to pregnancy hormones, random food cravings and morning sickness, and say hello to your new precious creation.
While it is easy to shower your baby with sweet kisses and unconditional love, it is hard to ignore the fact that you haven’t enjoyed a decent meal or a full night’s rest in forever. This is when self-care comes into play.
Why Self Care is Important
As much as we hate to admit it, the many sacrifices and added responsibilities of parenthood will often leave you busy, sleep-deprived, and beyond stressed. Continuing to live like this will only lead to deeper issues. Carrying the unhealthy belief that our needs are unimportant or nonexistent once we are gifted a child is why many parents lose themselves and lead unfulfilling lifestyles.
Here are some ways new parents can take care of themselves once the baby arrives:
Don’t Be Afraid of Babysitters
As much as you adore your new bundle of joy, you are only human, and you need your away time. If you are fortunate enough to know someone who is trustworthy and willing to watch your baby, accept the help. Use this free time to recharge and catch up with the outside world.
Rest as Often as You Can
Carrying a baby in your body is tiresome enough, but being on constant baby duty can be extremely draining for both parents. When caring for a newborn, sleep is a luxury; but without it, your overall health would be in shambles. Don’t feel guilty for snoozing before handling your household work and non-pressing responsibilities. Those tasks can wait until you are mentally and physically prepared to get them done.
A sedentary lifestyle is no way to live, especially when caring for an infant. Both parents should keep themselves active on a daily basis. If making a trip to the gym is too inconvenient, try taking a walk outside, dancing in between feedings, or practicing yoga in your living room while your baby is relaxing. Exercising will not only help to tighten up your postpartum body, but it will also do wonders for your mental and emotional state.
As tempting as it may be, now is not the time to start binging on junk foods. When you eat better, you feel better on a holistic scale. Take turns cooking meals to give each other a break. Replace fatty foods and excess sugars for whole grains and leafy vegetables. Try kale chips instead of potato-based ones. Snack on sweet berries and fresh smoothies.
Don’t Skip Date Night
When the baby is born, it is easy to neglect your relationship with your significant other. Make an effort to do the opposite. If you can manage to snag a babysitter, go out to see a movie or grab a cup of coffee in the afternoon. Tend to the needs of each other, and maintain a strong bond aside from your baby.
Sure, you probably won’t be leaving your house as much as you used to, but doing something nice for yourself can do wonders for your self-esteem and mood. If you didn’t miss a mani-pedi session before childbirth, now is definitely not the time to start making a habit of it. Fathers, go get a new fancy haircut. Buy a new outfit just because you deserve it.
Remember that Self-Care Means Allowing Room for Error and Growth
New parents have a way of being too hard on themselves. There is no way to have all of the answers. You have to learn as you go, and it is perfectly normal to make some mistakes along the way. Trust your instincts, forgive yourselves and one another, and continue to evolve as caregivers.
Parenthood is an emotional journey, and you must practice self-care to ensure that you are up for the task. Your new bundle of joy is here to add to your lives, not leave you deprived. Tending to your own needs will lift your spirit and allow you more energy and love to pass on to your child.