Whether yours is a long-awaited rainbow baby or a happy surprise, it’s normal to feel like you need a break. There’s only so many nappy explosions and vomit stains you can take before becoming a bit desperate for 15 minutes alone with a cup of tea - a hot cup of tea, we should say!
Taking care of a baby is a demanding job. It’s really important to make time for yourself so you can get through those sleepless nights and long days with a smile on your face.
Going for a walk with your baby in their stroller is a gentle way to exercise soon after birth and gives you time in the fresh air and sun (hopefully) to clear the cobwebs from your mind. Very new babies can be wrapped up warmly and placed in the carry cot attachment or in their capsule which clicks straight into the stroller. Ideally, your new baby will sleep peacefully to give you a few moments to yourself but that’s not always the case. If your baby is very fussy, just relax and check the basics as sometimes trapped wind can make a baby uncomfortable when put down on their back. Are they warm enough/not too hot? Have they been fed recently? It’s really just a guessing game with babies.
Of course, having some baby-free time is a great way to fill your cup but sometimes that’s not always possible (or at least, not as regular as you might like). Catching up with friends who have babies a similar age will help you to feel normal as you talk about baby poo, spew, sleep and milk. Having a few trusted family members or friends on hand to hold baby while you take a shower or pop to the loo can also make your day after a rough night. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Friends and family will jump at the chance to do their bit but some need a bit of prompting first!
Here’s our top tips for looking after yourself:
Yup, seriously, every day. It doesn’t have to cost a lot of time or money; it can be something simple like using a special body wash in the shower or watching an episode of your favourite series. As long as you do it mindfully, you’ll appreciate spending time doing something just for you.
Every so often you should spend a bit more time and money on yourself. You can’t pour from an empty cup! To be a better parent/friend/partner, you might need to buy a new winter jacket, get your eyebrows done, or take a Pilates class. How often do you buy new clothes or toys for the kids? Or schedule in play dates and Mainly Music classes? You’re important, too.
This is a biggie. We also know that you probably won’t listen to this piece of advice but...the washing can truly wait. Go and take a nap, or at least lie down, at any and every chance you get. We’re not saying “sleep when baby sleeps” because some days the baby won’t sleep but when they do, go and put your feet up.
We’ve always said, “this parenting gig is tough, no matter how many useful doohickeys you buy.”
Be kind on yourself and don’t be afraid to ask for help. You might feel like you’re in the deep end but most people will think it’s pretty brave of you to be out grocery shopping with a baby only a few weeks old.
Do you have any self-care tips for fellow mums and dads? Share them on our Facebook post or over on our Instagram.