Becoming parents for the first time can be an overwhelming phase in life. You can face many unfamiliar struggles, and seeking guidance from experienced parents can help you overcome these challenges.
Huge efforts are essential to execute your tasks as first-time parents, so you must look after yourself as you navigate life with kids.
Your well-being should be preserved as you overcome new challenges. This is why you need to understand self-care and develop effective ways to look after yourself. To help you with this, we have collected tips on physical, emotional, mental, social, and practical self-care that you should remember as a first-time parent.
Importance of Self-Care
As first-time parents, finding time to look after yourself could be challenging since caring for the baby consumes most of your time, leaving only crumbs for a few hours of rest. Remember that when you take care of yourself, you are preventing the possibility of getting sick, which means compromising time with your baby.
Self-care shouldn’t sound like a luxury for parents. It’s not like you must pay for a gym membership or join yoga classes to keep yourself healthy. You only need to focus on the following essential things:
● Importance of Sleep and Rest
Self-deprivation is part and parcel of becoming a parent. However, getting a persistent short amount of sleep could lead to becoming inattentive, especially to your baby’s needs. Moreover, self-deprivation could lead to irritability, anxiety and depression, and longer reaction times that could lead to accidents and injuries.
Of course, you have to put the baby to sleep first before you can take your rest. You can do that by establishing a consistent bedtime routine . For instance, you can give your baby a warm bath, sing them a lullaby, or give them a gentle massage in a quiet space with a comfortable temperature. This way, you can promote better sleep for both you and your baby.
● Nutrition and Healthy Eating Habits
Preparing and eating balanced meals is essential to a nourished and energetic body. As a new parent, your schedule is always packed, so your body must run at its peak. Your meals should include foods from the five food groups: vegetables, fruits, grain foods, protein, and reduced-fat dairy. You can also consider dietary supplements per the advice of your doctor. To save on these medications, consider exploring an rx discount available for you.
Of course, make sure to drink lots of water to prevent dehydration and avoid becoming sluggish and tired all day.
● Quick Exercise and Movement
Your mental health and well-being can be boosted by exercise and movement. These can increase hormones like serotonin, dopamine, and various endorphins that can help improve and maintain feelings of well-being.
Additionally, exercise and movement could help you improve your energy levels, thus keeping you more capable of fulfilling your responsibilities as a new parent. A real quick exercise you can try is baby squats, where you hold the baby against your chest, facing you, and just do the regular squats for around 10-15 repetitions. You can also do planking as you place your baby in a soft blanket or mat on the floor. You can hold the planking position for 20-30 seconds.
● Small Moments for Personal Care and Hygiene
When you’re a parent, you should maintain hygiene and personal care because you constantly interact with your baby. They are more delicate and sensitive, so it’s essential to keep everything clean and sanitized, starting with yourself!
Some quick tips you can practice include taking a bath at night and using dry shampoo in the morning to freshen up yourself. When the baby naps or is busy playing, take some time to focus on personal care tasks like brushing your teeth and fixing your hair. Take small moments to do simple self-care routines like applying nourishing lip balm and deep breathing.
● Acknowledging and Managing Postpartum Emotions
The first year after the delivery, the mother could feel the signs of postpartum depression. This could trigger fear, anxiety, excitement, and joy. The good thing is that you can manage such a horrible mood disorder with self-care. Maintain a diet that’s rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Moreover, do your best to sleep when the baby sleeps .
Also, dedicate time to breathing in the fresh air and feeling the sun outside. Lastly, indulge in your favorite pastimes, like watching your favorite show or enjoying a relaxing bubble bath.
● Connecting With Other Parents
You have to talk to someone who can relate to you to help you overcome new struggles as a parent. Making friends with fellow parents and leaning on each other when you need support is one way to promote self-care. With their company, you can feel less alone and more confident with the parenting tips you share with each other.
● Maintaining a Sense of Self-Identity
When you give birth, you may feel that you’ve lost your identity as an individual. However, there are ways to rediscover yourself as a parent. You can do this by giving yourself a break through short getaways like having coffee or afternoon walks.
You can also resort to flexible work if you feel like it’s time to redeem your career. But if you think you’re not ready for it, you could also try reviving old friendships or making new ones. This way, you can lift your spirit by having someone to talk to regarding your struggles as a first-time parent.
● Five Minutes of Meditation
When you become a parent, you sometimes get stuck in a routine loop. It might seem inescapable, but you can take a break from your monotonous daily life with continuous learning and mental stimulation.
You can try learning the five-minute meditation at home. Wake up before the baby does and seek a comfortable space where you can sit and meditate. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Pay attention to how the air enters and leaves your body.
Try to relax your body as you continue to focus on your breathing. Acknowledge distractions but gently let go of them in the process. To end the meditation, take the time to thank yourself for your efforts in taking care of your baby and think of the support and love you’re getting from the people around you.
This way, you can improve your ability to focus and manage your emotions more effectively. You can also engage in online learning that covers your favorite subjects, keeping your brain stimulated as you discover more about your interests.
● Seeking Support From Loved Ones and Professionals
You feel more confident when you have the support of the community you belong to. You can find guidance and tips from your family, co-workers, and friends. Of course, seeking advice from parenting experts can help you discover answers to your current problems and become a good parent as you learn from them.
Prioritizing self-care is crucial to effective parenting. Experiment with the tips we have covered here and develop your own routine of self-care. Self-care strategies don’t need to feel expensive and time-consuming; you only have to encourage yourself to take care of your physical, mental, and emotional health so you can continue looking after your baby more confidently!