New Mama Self-Care

Woman Lying in a Bathtub Holding a MugSelf-care can be a real challenge in the early postpartum and throughout early motherhood.  With a little one needing care 24/7, a home to keep somewhere in the realm of clean, adult relationships to nourish, maybe other kids to care for, and often additional work inside or outside the home, it can be hard enough to get food in our bellies and count on more than one hand how much sleep we had the night before. But self-care is paramount, especially in the postpartum and first year of motherhood when we are often depleted and giving far more than we are receiving.  Mamas need a full well of their own to keep giving as motherhood requires.  They also need a full well because they deserve to BE well.

We probably all have enough checklists of things we need to do.  Here is a simple little check IN list for mamas—a way to become more aware of how well you are nourishing and caring for yourself.  Notice where you fall on the spectrum (how many “yes” and “no”s) and allow this to guide you towards greater self-care.

Check IN list for Mama Self-Care

Yes           No

____           _____    I allow myself to rest when I am tired

____           _____    I nap regularly or as often as I can

____           _____    I drink enough fluids daily

____           _____    I am eating well—I am able to eat when I am hungry, I eat often throughout the day, and the foods I eat are healthy and nourishing, particularly for me as a postpartum (breastfeeding) mother

____           _____    I eat something fresh and natural at least once daily

____           _____    I spend time in nature at least once, if not several times, a week

____           _____    I get sunlight (nearly) everyday

____           _____    I take care of my physical needs and wellbeing

____           _____    I get help or take measures to address physical issues that may arise.

____           _____     I take good care of my teeth

____           _____     I am able to keep up on personal hygiene as I’d like (bathing, nails, hair, etc)

____           _____    I exercise regularly and in ways that replenish (not deplete) my body and make me feel good

____           _____    I make time to relax and slow down

____           _____    I find time for things I really enjoy

____           _____    I regularly engage my creativity in some way

____           _____    I ask for help when I need it

____           _____    I speak up when my needs are not being met and seek solutions

____           _____    I forgive myself and others

____           _____    I take time to laugh

____           _____    I make time for my partner, my friendships, and other important relationships

____           _____    I practice kindness toward myself and my mothering, knowing I am doing the best I can in every moment

____           _____    I release expectations that don’t serve me

Take Action

Answering these three questions after checking in may also help to clarify what action you might take to enhance your self-care:

  1. What are three to five ways I could improve my self-nourishment?
  2. Whom can I ask for help or support to improve in these ways?  What would help or support look like?
  3. I deserve to take these actions because:  (you fill in the blank).

Be as kind to yourself as you are to your child. 

Give yourself permission. 

Advocate for yourself.

Ask for support. 

Forgive.

Breathe deeply. 

Laugh daily.

Be well.