Self-Care Isn’t Selfish when you’re a New Parent

After having your baby, things can move quickly. Sometimes, you may feel behind, spinning around trying to find your own way out of the tunnel full of sleepless nights, minute-long showers, and eating as quickly as you can — if at all.

“And self-care is not high on your list right now. Not rolling over on top of your baby when you pass out while nursing her in your bed is,” according to Julie Burton for That being said, it’s important for new dads and moms to work self-care into their daily routine and not lose themselves completely. Here’s how you can take your first steps.

Catch Some Relief on the Web

Before you start daydreaming about your next day off, pick up the phone or open your computer and start looking for help. For instance, search for online resources and mobile apps that can take something off of your overflowing plate.

Consider using grocery delivery sources from your local grocer for food you can use to whip up meals or consider meal delivery services to save yourself the time of making dinner. Every minute counts when your baby is newborn, and you need to find as many minutes as you can throughout the day to use for yourself.

Something as simple as eating a full dinner at the table can be a treat during those first few months as a parent. Another way you can save yourself some trouble is by handling as much as you can online, including paying bills.

Ally Yourself

Find time to contact family, friends or an online community, to be social — and selfish. Speaking to people close to you or online will give you an outlet that you wouldn’t otherwise have to ask for advice, help, and vent. Even if it’s just for five minutes a day, find the time to talk.

“Having someone to talk to about your children is essential for maintaining positive parent-child relationships,” says Melissa Lippold of the University of North Carolina. Plus, when you have a friend or family member on the phone, they’re usually more than willing to offer help.

And when they do offer some help, you take it. Whether they’re offering to watch your child long enough for you to take a long bath or for you to take a nap, accept the offer. During any bit of downtime, you can scrounge up, catch up on self-care.

Set Self-Care Expectations

The world we live in today is all about self-care, but self-care that can be bought. As a parent of a newborn, you might not have the money or time many of the advertised forms of self-care. Thankfully, there are many, many forms of self-care, which is simply “taking care of yourself.”

First, and perhaps most important to new moms, is treating sleep as a form of self-care. According to the CDC, “35 percent of adults don’t get enough sleep (7 hours per day).” As you are well aware, though, that number shoots up for parents of newborns.

Avoid sleep deprivation as much as possible, and take any chance you can to sleep, such as when the baby naps or when breastfeeding if you practice horizontal breastfeeding. Consider where you’re sleeping for optimal ZZZs.

Your home — specifically your bedroom — should be an environment conducive to relaxation and sleep. By decluttering your home, you can cut down on cleaning time and free up room for things like plants, which can help purify the air in your home.

The extra space will also give you more room for other self-care, such as yoga, meditation, or dancing. Whatever suits you, make space and time for it. You might not be able to take the day off alone, but you can give yourself time each day, with the baby even, to recenter yourself.

Take a look at self-care ideas or do what feels right for you. If that means taking the baby for a walk along a new trail or watching a funny movie while playing with your baby on the floor, do it.

Give yourself self-care goals to attain every day, and stick to it. From washing your hair to writing in a journal for a few minutes, there are plenty of ways for you to take care of yourself while taking care of your baby, too. There doesn’t have to be a sacrifice for you to thrive.

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Article by Member Alexis Hall