Self care IS important...it's okay to prioritize it!
By Katherine Williams, When The Baby Sleeps
Photo from Pexels
Becoming a parent is one of the most rewarding and fulfilling experiences a person can have, but it definitely comes with its own unique set of challenges—especially when it comes to taking care of yourself!
It's completely normal to feel overwhelmed by all the demands on your time and energy. We're all just trying to keep our children safe, healthy and happy, and it's not an easy journey. BUT...self care is essential to your health and well-being. Your needs are important too.
Self care can look different for everyone - whether it's an extra long shower, a nice nap or a day out while your kids are with a caregiver, it is so important to prioritize it! A cared for parent is the BEST parent.
Drinking plenty of water is essential if you're breastfeeding (and running around after crazy kids all day). It helps ensure that your body produces enough milk. Unfortunately, it can be easy to forget to drink water when you’re busy caring for a newborn. Try to remember to fill up a large water bottle in the morning and keep it close at hand so that you remember to take sips throughout the day.
I know, I know. We've all heard this before! Still, it is true - finding ways to fit in physical activity is important for both your physical and mental health. A quick walk around the block or doing yoga poses while holding your baby can help boost your mood and give you an extra burst of energy.
As a parent, but especially as a breastfeeding mom, it's so important to get all of the vitamins and minerals you need on the daily. If possible, aim for nutrient-dense meals such as lean proteins, complex carbs, fruits and veggies. If meal planning feels overwhelming right now, try opting for simple meals such as smoothies or salads with a protein when you can.
As silly as it might sound, decluttering and making your space a comforting environment helps a ton with mental health. Improving air quality by introducing natural plants reducing sources of household pollutants can also help create a more calming atmosphere!
Let's face it - there will be times that you're consumed by all the little things that need taking care of. It's really crucial to find a healthy way to destress and regroup. It can happen when your baby is down for a nap, when they're in a safe, contained area like a jumping swing, or after you put them to sleep at night. Find an outlet that works for you - it can be journaling, meditating, a nice, warm shower or 5 minutes alone in your room. These things might seem small, but they help you to feel human again!
It DOES take a village to raise a baby, and this has been a well-known fact for centuries! We aren't meant to do it alone. If you're struggling, reach out to your partner, your friends, your family...or even lactation consultants and midwives! All of these people want to help you - you just have to ask.
Encouraging your older kids to help look after their brother or sister is more than just a great way for parents to get some well-deserved "me time." It can also cultivate strong bonds between siblings down the road. Assigning small tasks like choosing outfits and making breakfast together not only teaches valuable life skills but helps strengthen relationships between brothers and sisters.
Taking care of yourself when you're in the thick of this journey isn't always easy, but it is necessary. You deserve rest, you deserve time to yourself, and you deserve help and support. These are all things that help to keep you healthy! It is okay to prioritize yourself sometimes!