Becoming a parent brings about many new and exciting challenges. It’s likely you’ll feel a mix of emotions which can vary quite often. With all your attention and energy focused on your precious bundle of joy, it can be easy to put your own needs on the backburner. Below, we’ve compiled a list of ways in which new parents can practice self-care and ensure they’re maintaining their health in order to take the best possible care of their new addition.
Make Time for Romance
Let’s face it, having a baby will change a relationship. Between late night feedings and constant diaper changes, it may feel like you have little to no time to spend with your partner after the baby comes. While this may be right of passage into parenthood, it’s still important to make time for one another. It may not be possible right away, but once you’ve established some type of schedule, make a conscious effort to incorporate romance back into the relationship. Whether it’s enjoying a glass of wine and your favorite television show or heating things up in the bedroom, reigniting the spark with your partner postpartum can help to keep the relationship strong.
It’s important to understand that men and women may not be on the same wavelengths of desire, especially after a woman undergoes hormonal changes post-baby. However, there are many options out there to help women dealing with low libido. If you’re a female concerned about low libido and are looking for a way to regain your sex drive, visit your doctor. They may suggest incorporating exercise into your routine, encourage more open communication with your partner, or prescribe Addyi, a medication designed specifically to combat low libido in women. Either way, once you’ve discovered the root of the issue and taken action, you and your partner can regain that intimacy you had pre-baby.
Spend Time Apart
As important as it is to spend time together, having a little “you” time every now and then is also a crucial part of self-care. It may feel selfish, especially with a new baby at home, but taking time for yourself positively impacts your mental and physical health which will in turn help you to be a better parent. The best part about self-care is that it varies depending on the individual practicing it. For a new parent, self-care can be something as simple as an hour-long nap or an uninterrupted shower.
There is no need to feel guilty, or allow others to make you feel guilty, when it comes to making time for you. Taking a break is necessary, especially if you want to avoid burnout. Just because you’re a parent does not mean you are superhuman, although at times it may feel that way. Take time to do whatever it is that makes you feel relaxed and in your happy place and you may find that your calm energy rubs off on your baby as well!
Ask for Help
Being a parent, especially for the first time, can feel quite overwhelming. Everyday is a new challenge and you and your baby are learning together. While you may not want anyone to see you slip up or fumble, it’s important to put your pride aside and allow others to help you. Accepting help from friends and family does not make you a weak parent or a bad parent, but instead a parent who is doing what’s best for their child. It’s likely there are many people in your life who have been in your shoes and are happy to teach you the ropes. They are not there to judge you but instead help you learn and grow as a parent and an individual. You may even find that someday the shoe is on the other foot and you’re the one helping a friend or loved one who is a first time parent work through the trials and tribulations.
Rest When Your Baby Does
For many new parents, the capability to sleep will be limited and sometimes even non-existent. Even if your baby is a fantastic sleeper, you may find that it’s impossible to fall asleep. However, in order to be on your “A Game” for your new bundle, you need to get a little r and r of your own. Consider sitting down to read a magazine or catch up on one of your favorite television shows while your baby naps. Keep a monitor close by in case the baby needs you, but be sure to try your hardest to relax.
Some new parents think that the baby’s sleep time equals time for them to go on a cleaning spree or take care of other things they may have let go by the wayside, but that’s actually the best way to subject yourself to burn out. Rest comes in all types of forms and finding what works best for you will help you on the road to being the best parent to your new baby possible!
Embrace Your Parent-Friends
As sad as it can be, sometimes part of becoming a new parent is learning who your true friends are. Your friend group prior to your new baby may have consisted of people who expected you to throw caution to the wind and go out at any given moment. These people may not be understanding of your new obligations as a parent and feel as though you no longer add value to the friendship. This is when it becomes more important than ever to embrace your friends who already have children or are planning to have children in the near future.
These are the types of friends who understand you can’t make dinner plans at 9pm as your baby will be ready for a feeding at this time, or those who are happy to bring over take-out and hang out on the couch instead of going to a noisy club to dance all night. Spending time with these friends will not only help you learn to become a great parent but also reassure you that although life does change after a baby, your real friends will be there no matter what.
Being a parent, whether you’re on your first child or your fifth, is no easy feat. Practicing self-care, making time for your partner and yourself, and accepting help when it’s offered are all small parts of what will help you be successful in your parenting journey.