Every pregnancy is a unique experience for every woman. Women who experienced pregnancy and childbirth more than once would attest to that. But the first time is always special. Our body changes a lot as we accommodate a new life inside us. Because of this, self-care tips for first-time moms are crucial for the health of mother and child.
I’m Going to be a Mom! Now, What?
When I found out I was pregnant, I was filled with different emotions. I was excited, scared, elated, and anxious. If you’re like me, that anxiousness translates to learning anything you can about pregnancy. From the moment you saw the two lines on your pregnancy test, you will start reading and asking for tips for first-time moms. I know I have.
In the months that will follow, your pile of information grows as the baby inside you does. You would visit the doctor for your prenatal checkups. The food choices you’ll make will change because you want to eat healthier for your baby to grow healthy too. Few of the many things you would do to be the best mother you could be to your child.
Motherhood is About Selflessness but Self-care is not Selfishness
Sometimes, in our aim to become the best mother we could be, we forget to take care of ourselves. Motherhood doesn’t end even after your children learned to feed and dress themselves. My brothers are all grown up, but my mother is still mothering them. So, ditch the idea that you would start to have more time for yourself when your children are older.
Self-care is helpful to keep your postpartum depression in check. Even when you’ve recently given birth and your lady parts or C-section are still throbbing, start a routine to take care of yourself. Creating a habit to take some time off for self-care activities is essential in helping you become the best mother you can be. Self-love is vital whether you’re a stay-at-home mom or you have a career that takes you away from home. Take note of these important self-care tips for first-time moms:
Self-Care Tips for First-Time Moms
Tip #1: Sleep or Take a Nap When you Can
Newborns need to feed every two to three hours. Yes, even in the wee hours of the night. Toddlers can have unlimited energy at times. A night of good sleep is one of the luxuries you can get when you become a parent. Sleep while your baby is sleeping. Nap next to your toddler. Grab as much ZZZs as you can, when you can. This is one of the most common tips for first-time moms and sometimes the most overlooked. You need this self-care activity to function better and avoid the crankiness brought by lack of sleep.
Tip #2: Enjoy your Coffee or Tea Break
If your newborn is sleeping and you don’t feel sleepy, take that time to fix yourself a cup of coffee or tea. Take a few minutes to relax and enjoy your drink. Chores can be endless, so you need to sneak in some time to take a breather. When my son was still a toddler and until he was in preschool, I find that early mornings, while my little one is still sleeping, are the best times to enjoy a quiet moment while I drink my coffee.
Tip #3: Take a Leisurely Bath
After a long day of doing chores or running after the little ones, your body would be sore. Leave your babies to your partner, spouse, or like in my case, my mother, and so you can do this self-care activity without distractions. Grab your favorite shower gel or drop your luxurious bath bomb and dip into that warm, relaxing water. Savor the moment and take a leisurely bath.
Tip #4: Pick a New Hobby or Read a Book
When you have a child, your priority shifts. It becomes easy to let go of your hobbies and passion because now, your focus is on your baby. But, it is also essential that you grow with your child. That means putting importance on your mental health and personal growth. Pick a new hobby like knitting or sewing and learn how to make clothes for your family. Read a book or better yet, read a book to your kids. There are plenty of self-care activities that you can do while taking care of your family.
Tip #5: Connect With Family and Friends
I had to move across the country when I got married, where I am unfamiliar with the local language, and I am away from family and friends. My mother’s presence when I have just given birth was a huge help, and even after she left, I am always on the phone with her.
You would read in other tips for first-time moms to connect either with friends or family members. It is essential to have that support group to get you through postpartum and give you advice. Sometimes, it helps to have someone to talk to aside from your spouse or children.
Tip #6: Be Part of a Community
Having your family and friends around is a beautiful blessing. Their presence and guidance help you adjust to motherhood easier. In their absence, or if you happen to be the first one to have a child among friends, it helps to be part of a mommy group. If you’re a working mother, talking to other mothers like you would give you insights on how to manage career and motherhood. Having more kids doesn’t make one an expert in parenting, but talking to experienced mothers would help avoid unnecessary worries about your child. Befriending other mothers with whom you can relate and connect with can make being a mom a little less stressful.
Tip #7: Love Your Body
Of all the self-care tips for first-time moms, this may be the hardest to do. You have gained weight. Your body stretched so you can accommodate a new human inside it. You look different from before you got pregnant. It’ll be challenging to accept all the changes that have happened to you.
Motherhood changes you. All of you. Don’t focus on physical changes. Motherhood also increased your capacity to love so you can better appreciate yourself — the new you — and the new life that came out of you.
Tip #8: Do Not Be Afraid to Ask or Accept Help
So you have bought volumes of self-help and self-care books and read tips for first-time moms. All of those can fly out the window once you and the baby came home. Things can get overwhelming once the chores, lack of sleep, and work piled up.
Being a great mother doesn’t rely on how well you juggled everything. You are still a badass momma even if there are dishes in the sink or there are toys everywhere or when the house isn’t spotless. Do not be afraid to ask for help from your spouse or partner. When someone offered to watch the kids while you take a breather, don’t feel bad. Accept the support provided to you.
Tip #9: Discover What Works For You
As you prepare yourself for motherhood, you will receive many tips for first-time moms. You will read and research. On top of that, there are also traditions, customs, and superstitions that the elderly family members will remind you to do.
Then when your baby is born, people will comment on your parenting style. Some would give unsolicited advice. Most mean well, so don’t let that put you down. It’s important to avoid comparing your parenting style with others. Every child is different. So does every mother — different ways of showing love or imposing discipline. Discover what works for you and your child.
Allow yourself to enjoy each happy moment in your lifeSteve Maraboli
Tip #10: Live in the Moment
In the age of social media, it is tempting to document every event and milestone that our child accomplish. It starts from the moment you find out you’re going to be a mom. While it’s fun to share these beautiful moments, be sure to unplug every now and then. Live in the moment. Make the most of the days that you can spend with your child. Because whether you like it or not, the little boy who never leaves mommy’s side would soon want to explore the world on his own.
Motherhood is a selfless job because mothers put their children first. You must remember though that you cannot give something you do not have. Loving yourself will give you an unlimited source of love for everyone around you. Get this self-care checklist for first-time moms and put somewhere you can see to remind you to replenish your self-care meter.