The newborn bubble is meant to be wonderful. You can sit back and enjoy time with your new baby, have all the cuddles you could possibly need and show off your new perfect little family.
While it is wonderful, the newborn stage is also hard. Really, really hard. You are sleep deprived, working out how to breastfeed and have a constant stream of visitors when you really just want to rest. Your baby is your number 1 priority – but what about you?
When my eldest son was born he spent time in the neonatal unit. I was discharged from hospital and had to go home without him, so I spent 8 days at his bedside willing him to gain weight, learn to feed so we could remove his feeding tube and be strong enough to come home. I woke through the night to express, I phone the unit as soon as I woke at 6am to see how he had been overnight. It was easy to completely forgot about myself, and my diabetes and general health suffered as a result.
When JJ was born I spent 7 days with him in hospital. It was extremely frustrating at the time as I really wanted to get home and be with Piglet and JHogg again. In hindsight though, it was the best thing for me – not just for JJ. It forced me to slow down, limit visitors and look after myself a bit. JHogg could visit, bringing food from home and little treats to lift my mood.
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Lots of women are on the look out of postnatal depression and when they don’t see any of sign of it they forget to look after their general wellbeing. It’s important for all new parents to check in on their wellbeing and mental health regularly – because a happy mum makes a happy baby!
Tips For Self Care As A New Parent
I cannot stress this enough. I didn’t want to be seen not to cope and insisted on doing everything myself. Nobody thinks that way though, so take all the help that is offered. Let someone cook you dinner, handle your laundry or just make you a cup of tea. They are offering because they want to help – so let them!
This goes for your partner too. If they want to hold the baby while you have a bath or have a nap then let them. It’s good for you to rest and it’s a chance to bond with their new baby too.
Acknowledge The Little Wins
Some days it can feel like nothing has gone right. The laundry isn’t done, you have baby sick in your hair and no fresh veg in for dinner. It can feel overwhelming, but think back and think of things that DID go right. Did baby have a nice long nap while you cuddled her? Did you have a good catch up with your mum when she popped in to see you? Was there a cute moment between your baby and their big brother or sister?
Looking for the positive in each day can keep the overwhelm at bay. Chores can wait till tomorrow.
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Get Some Exercise
No one expects you to start jogging 10k before breakfast with a newborn – it’s just unrealistic. But moving your body with some light postnatal exercise is proven to be good for your health, both mental and physical.
Once you are out of the heady new-born days you may want to look for a mummy and me exercise class. There are lots of baby yoga classes out there, and even some mummy fitness classes. In these classes you take your baby with you, so you don’t have to worry about spending time away from them. It’s also a great way to find a few new mum friends too.
We are really lucky to live next to a park so I often take the boys out for a walk to see the ducks, and once they got older we started using the swings too. Feeling cooped up inside isn’t good for anyone, and if you feel unable to get out by your self then call a friend to keep you company and be an extra pair of hands.
Join A Group
But don’t over commit! It is great to get out and meet people who are going through the same things as you, but you don’t have to commit to an activity every day. Lazy days are ok too!
My favourite groups are ones with a purpose. We love swimming, music classes and gymnastics best. I found them less intimidating than a general baby group as you were there to do something, rather than just be expected to chat. The friendships flowed more naturally in those groups, and some of them I have been going to for years now.
Know You’re Doing A Great Job
No matter what you see on social media, no body finds being a parent easy all the time. There are good days and bad days, but you are always doing a great job. Struggling to master feeding or wishing your baby would sleep for more than 15 minutes at a time doesn’t make you a bad mum – it makes you human.
If you’re not sure if what you’re feeling is normal then check out Emma’s Diary’s guide to postnatal depression. It has more information on what it may look like for different people and how to go about seeking help to get you on the right path to feeling yourself again.
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This post was sponsored by Emma’s Diary