Essential self-care* tips for new parents

Essential self-care* tips for new parents

on Jun 24, 2024

*For informational purposes only. Not intended to be medical advice. Consult your healthcare provider for any questions about your or your baby's health. 

Bringing a beautiful new life into the world is a miraculous, intense, sometimes overwhelming experience. And in the midst of this beautiful chaos – the diapers, feedings, and sleepless nights it's easy to forget about the person who brought this bundle of joy into existence you, YES, you! Self-care isn't selfish; it's a necessity. Taking care of yourself after giving birth is just as crucial as caring for your newborn. From sneaking in some well-deserved rest to nourishing your body and soul, let's dive into some self-care tips crafted especially for you, the superhero who just delivered a tiny human. 

 

  • Ask for help: It's okay to ask for help. Whether you need assistance with household chores, baby care, or simply someone to lend a listening ear, don't hesitate to reach out to your support system. Remember, you don't have to do it all alone, and accepting help doesn't make you any less of a supermom.  
  • Practice self-compassion: Cut yourself some slack, mama. You're doing an incredible job, even on the days when everything feels like a chaotic mess. Be kind to yourself, celebrate your victories (no matter how small), and don't dwell on the moments when things don't go as planned. You're learning and growing every step of the way, and that's something to be proud of. 
  • Rest and recover: After childbirth, your body needs time to heal. Rest is not a luxury but a necessity. Allow yourself to nap when your baby sleeps, ask for help when you need it, and don’t worry – your baby will eventually sleep for longer stretches and one day through the whole night!    
  • Nourish your body: Incorporate leafy greens, fruits, whole grains, proteins, and healthy fats into your diet. Focus on eating a variety of healthy foods for meals and snacks will give you the energy you need to care for your baby.  Continue to take your prenatal multivitamin with at least 0.4 mg of folic acid. And don't forget to stay hydrated—keep a water bottle handy wherever you go, and remember you will need a little more if you are breastfeeding.  
  • Move your body: Even gentle movement can work wonders for your mood and energy levels. Work back up to 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity per week.  This could include short walks with your baby in a stroller or carrier, practice some gentle postpartum stretching or yoga, or simply dance around the kitchen to your favorite tunes. Find what feels good for your body and make it a priority, even if it's just for a 20 minutes each day. 
  • “Baby blues” awareness: It’s common to feel overwhelmed, sad and even weepy in the weeks  after delivery. Fluctuating hormones, and the physical and emotional changes that come with having a baby, alongside anxiety about caring for your newborn and sleep deprivation can all contribute to "baby blues." Sometimes the baby blues do not go away. Trust yourself and recognize that if these feelings persist or get worse, you should talk to your doctor or healthcare provider.  
  • Connect with other new parents: There's nothing quite like bonding with other parents who are going through similar experiences. Join a new parents' group in your community, or connect with fellow parents through social media, such as the Good Start™ Baby Club channels. Sharing your triumphs, struggles, and laughs with others who understand can provide invaluable support and reassurance. 

 

As you navigate your new normals of parenthood, please don’t feel guilty about prioritizing your own well-being while you care for your little one. It’s important to practice self-care and be kind to yourself during this profound transition. Remember, you are strong, resilient, and capable of amazing things. And caring for yourself is not selfish; it is a gift to both you and your baby. So, take a deep breath and give yourself a pat on the back, knowing that you are doing your best each day. You've got this. 

 

References: 

Health Canada. Your guide to postpartum health and caring for your baby. 2023. Your Guide to Postpartum Health and Caring for Your Baby - Canada.ca Accessed April 2024 

Davis, GA, et al. Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada, (SOGC), & SOGC Clinical Practice Obstetrics Committee. Exercise in Pregnancy and the Postpartum Period. JOGC. 2003;25(6):516-522.   

Health Canada. Parents: Your Feelings after Your Baby is Born. 2018. https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/publications/healthy-living/your-feelings-after-baby-born-nobodys-perfect.html Accessed April 2024.