Any new mum will hear lots of advice in the first six months but the one piece of advice that you hear most often is the message of self-care. This is one of the most important things for any new mum and also one of the hardest to fit in between breastfeeding, settling and nappy changes. Here are the top 5 ways that I’ve managed to fit in a little something for me in the last 6 months.
- Take a walk – once I was physically able to (and once the freezing Canberra weather started to thaw) I made an effort to try and get out of the house every day for a walk. This was after the Husband went back to work and I was so anxious about being on my own. I would walk in the afternoons as those seemed to drag by and this was a good way to pass the time. Baby B would sleep in the pram, I would put in my headphones, pick a Pandora station and just walk. Sometimes I went for up to 2 hours. B got a nap, I got to listen to music in peace and it helped me on the road to getting my fitness (and figure) back – everyone won.
- Go for a drive – This is very similar to number one except you can do it in the rain! I also found that being able to just drive anywhere I wanted while B was asleep in the back made me feel just that little bit of extra freedom I was afraid that I had lost.
- Take a shower – This is a tough one to get the hang of. In the early days you sometimes need a system so maybe your other half or a friend can take the baby. These days I duck into the shower as soon as B goes down for his morning nap. If I need to shower while he is awake I carry his activity centre to the bathroom doorway and he has a play while I wash my hair. If I’m showered and have had breakfast, I can usually handle whatever the day has for me.
- Buy yourself a present – This might seem like a cop-out to some or perhaps money is short while you’re on maternity leave but if you possibly can, get out to the shops and get yourself something new and just for you. It doesn’t have to be expensive or over the top. A new scarf or lipstick might do the trick or maybe even a great book you’ve been dying to read. Sure you might not have a chance to read it right away but maybe it can be a goal or milestone that sometime soon you will.
- Do something by yourself – Another tough one. This is particularly true for breastfeeding mums. I’ve been lucky that Baby B has been ok with taking a bottle but this isn’t always the case for everyone. However, as long as you have someone you can trust to leave baby with (such as Dad!) you can at least get an hour here and there. Going for lunch by yourself (As in the picture – my first lunch out by myself after baby!) or to the shops for a browse can be enough to make you feel like yourself again. I highly recommend going for a haircut, mani/pedi or other treat. Personally, I’m building up to an evening out with friends but one step at a time.
These tips are more for the early days and they may seem like small things but it is the little things that really make a big difference.