10 Self Care Tips For New Moms

I’m only 3 months into motherhood, so I write this post as a novice and as a fellow new mother who is trying to figure this thing out as she goes…

You all know I’m passionate about self care, that’s why I love my career. And although I struggle as much as the next woman to find time for herself, I have a strong conviction to practice what I preach.

I know myself well enough to know that if I neglect self-care, everything suffers. My health, my mood, my marriage…everything.

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I was nervous that I would end up with the baby blues after giving birth to my first child. It’s super common. In fact most moms feel the blues in some way or another during the first few weeks.

But I was scared that the blues may get the best of me for 3 reasons:

1. I’m a do-er. I like to be out, I like to be active, I like to busy.

2. I’m prone to anxiety. Did you know postpartum depression also shows up as anxiety? It’s often overlooked and I’m so thankful for one of my honest clients who brought this to light by sharing her experience with me.

3. Since we’re still relatively new in town I feared that I may be sad that all of our old friends weren’t around during this momentous time in our life.

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So I sought out advice from friends and tried to set myself up in the best way possible to enjoy the first few months of motherhood. So that I could enjoy time with my little one and avoid feeling like a stressed out, anxious new mom.

I’m happy to say it has paid off.

Keep in mind, one of the greatest gifts of having a newborn is how life slows down. Give yourself permission to lounge around with your baby as much as you’d like. Soak up the precious hours and days with your new bundle and let yourself rest and recover from labor & delivery.

Don’t rush the return to “normal life.” It will come soon enough.

The following tips come into play when you feel ready to resume “get back in the game” so to speak:

Note: the baby blues I’m referring to are different from postpartum depression. Postpartum depression is a medical condition that occurs due to the wild emotions that comes along with pregnancy and childbirth. It’s not something you can fix in 5 easy steps. If you’re struggling be sure to seek help. You’re not alone. You can read about the symptoms of postpartum depression here.

10 Self Care Tips For New Moms

1.  Schedule your sleep

A lot of people say to sleep when the baby sleeps, which is great advice for some people. But if you’re a “do-er” like me it’s hard to take leisurely cat naps throughout the day.

Instead, I chose to go to bed with my baby around 8:00 pm every night and also went back to sleep with her after the 7:30/8:00am feeding. I slept until nearly 10:00 am every morning for the first few weeks. This SAVED me. I can honestly say I rarely felt sleep deprived. Yes I was waking up every 2-3 hours during the night but I was getting a total of about 8 hours which kept me sane and rational throughout the day.

The point being: be intentional and schedule your sleep in a way that works for you. If you don’t, you may never sleep and everything will feel 10x harder.

2. Join a group

Find other moms in your area through Meet Up, MOPS or local baby stores. Community lightens the load of motherhood and it helps to connect with other moms who are going through the same changes and season of life.

3. Buy postpartum clothes

Everyone talks about maternity clothes, no one talks about postpartum clothes.

A week before Blake was born I went out and purchased a handful of big, flowy dresses that I would be able to wear postpartum. I was SO over my maternity clothes but also knew that I’d be months away from fitting into pre-pregnancy clothes.

I’m so glad I did this. I think the postpartum body is much harder to dress than the pregnant body. This helped me  (and is still helping me) during those awkward weeks with an ever-changing, oddly shaped body. If you’re having a baby in the winter consider super stretchy leggings and long, cozy sweaters. 🙂

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4. Get out

A friend of mine who had the baby blues with her first child told me to force myself to get out. Not in the first few days or even weeks, but in the first few months. She told me it would seem hard and be tempting to not go places with friends because it’s easier to just stay home but to force myself out at times.

This may seem counterintuitive to self-care but I think it’s really great advice. Don’t pressure yourself to be a social butterfly but getting out and spending time with friends and family is good for the soul and will help you feel like yourself again.

This one has been big for me, even if it’s just a trip through the drive through Starbucks 🙂

5. Schedule a hair appointment

Seriously, do it right away. Schedule it for a month or two after the baby is born…as soon as you’re able to leave her for a few hours. I know it may be hard to time the feedings and get out the door. Choosing a salon close to home will help. You deserve a little pampering. It will be good for you, good for your marriage and good for your baby.

6. Let people bring you food

Have a friend set up meal delivery calendar with Sign Up Genius. I had a friend insist on doing this for me even though I tried to resist (remember we’re new here so this was a new friend who has turned out to be a lifesaver for me over the past few months). If people want to come visit, tell them they’re more than welcome to as long as they feed you. 🙂

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7. Exercise

Not right away, but eventually. After you receive the go-ahead from your doctor find ways to incorporate exercise into your weekly routine. Don’t worry about exercising to get your body back (9 months on, 9 months off…quite possibly more) but exercise for your mood. The benefits are real and proven. Get out for walks, do yoga in your living room, join a mommy & me class, take an hour for yourself to hit the gym…whatever you like to do, take the time to do it.

(Join The Balanced Life Sisterhood to get new at-home workouts every month and a become a part of a super supportive, encouraging community of women.)

8. Treat yourself

Find little ways to treat yourself throughout the week. For me, this is Starbucks 🙂 For you it may be something else. But after a long day of nursing, burping, changing and comforting your little one indoors you’ll benefit from finding little ways to treat yourself. I look forward to my afternoon walk or drive through Starbucks with a sleeping baby in the back seat.

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9. Get ready for the day

Again, not in the first few days, but in the first few weeks. During your baby’s first nap, shower, blow dry your hair, get dressed, and put on make-up….even if you’re not going to see anyone all day! I have days where I may not see anyone I know until my husband comes home from work. It would be so easy to stay sloppy all day, but it’s not good for my mood or my confidence. Getting ready for the day has really helped me to avoid the blues.

10. Establish a routine

I know some people love schedules and some don’t, but in my humble opinion a routine or a schedule is super helpful in maintaining sanity as a new mom. If I had to be at Blake’s beck and call more than I already am I think would be having a much harder time with this motherhood thing.

Find a routine that works for you and your family and stick with it. Everyone will benefit and eventually you will be able to take time for yourself because you’ll know your baby’s schedule.

We’re all in this together and I’d love to hear your thoughts since every woman is different.

What tips would add to this list?

PS – If you’re a new mom and you’re looking to ease back into a Pilates routine from home be sure to CLICK HERE to receive a free 20-minute workout. It’s the perfect length for nap time and tummy time and will help to get those abs back in shape. 🙂

PPS – Looking for self-care tips DURING pregnancy? Check out Balanced Beginnings or my free Prenatal Pilates YouTube Series.


20 Comments
  1. Nicole Hutchison 4 years ago

    AWESOME ADVICE!!!! I’m seven months pregnant (due in December) with our first (Kamden Alan) and this is really incredible advice. As soon as we found out I was pregnant, I immediately joined a local gym because I was overweight and gaining was NOT on my to-do list. To date, I’ve lost 20 lbs while still being incredibly healthy and happy, plus Baby K is growing into the chunky monkey I knew he would be. At my last appointment, my Dr wanted to do a growth scan to “make sure” he was growing and he weighed a whopping 3lbs, 3ozs. I hope he isn’t too large at delivery time though!

    I fully anticipate on breastfeeding and resuming my exercise routine as soon as it is deemed safe. Fortunately, my gym has child-care available so I can attend classes. We also live in a town with a brand new park with walking paths and trails.

    Thanks again for sharing these tips. I’m saving them for later and subscribing to your blog. You inspire me to keep going and live a health(ier) life than I did pre-pregnancy. I also love your tips on sleep, early to bed and early to rise plus a nap. You look amazing and your daughter is beautiful.

    Blessings,
    Nicole @ Three 31
    http://nicoleandkevin.wordpress.com/

  2. […] 10 Self Care Tips For New Moms – The Balanced Life […]

  3. Kayla 4 years ago

    This is all great advice! Thank you for posting. I would only add to never ever feel bad for taking time off, or for asking for help. There is absolutely nothing wrong with letting Grandma take the baby and having a whole afternoon to yourself. You can get your house in order, run some errands without carting around a baby and all his/her equipment, or just take a nap. Taking some time for yourself is essential and will make everything better for the whole family.

    • Profile photo of Robin Long
      Robin Long 4 years ago

      So true! Great advice, Kayla 🙂 Never feel bad for taking time off and never feel bad for taking time to rest. Amen. Thanks for sharing!

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  5. Cara 4 years ago

    Your going to laugh at me but since I’m not a momma yet, I found myself applying half of these to working from home! haha

    I run a Voice Over and Audio Production company from home and found the following to apply:

    -Get out. I work in a tiny audio studio and sometimes forget to go outdoors after 10hrs of editing. Yikes!

    -Exercise. Sitting on my butt for 10hrs consecutively can’t be good.

    -Get ready for the day. It’s so easy not to get ready when all I use is my voice but it does make a difference in my productivity level when I’m fully ready.

    -Establish a routine. Just as I would when I worked for “the man”, routine will help separate working at home and just being at home.

    Thanks for sharing these great tips. Maybe one day (ideally 5 years down the road ha) I’ll apply them to being a new mom. 🙂

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      Robin Long 4 years ago

      Cara, I love it!
      I can totally relate. I work from home too so I’m sure a lot of these tips come from that being my life as well! It’s so true. It’s easy to get in a rut and feel frumpy/grumpy working from home. Good for you. I love it….in fact I should write a post about working from home too…so many of these can transfer! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  6. Fem 3 years ago

    Ok, this may freak some people out, but i had my placenta made into capsules and took a few every day for the first few months after our daughter Darcey was born. Everyone visiting couldn’t believe how i was bursting with energy. – i felt SO good!! Robin, i had the same approach to sleep as you. When Darcey was, and still now is, sleeping i’m way to keen to do some things for ‘me’ but i do get my hours in elsewhere. Luckily we have a baby who loves her sleep (so far) as much as her mummy does. Getting out every day is a must, thank heavens for the dog.
    My last piece of advice, and again, you may all think it’s bonkers and so not important but .. I really try and make an effort in the morning to look nice (fair enough, i may not always succeed, lol) getting out of pyjama bottoms, do hair, bit of make-up if you’re into that.. Etc. Seriously, it’s one thing to feel like an exhausting frumpy momma, but looking like one will certainly not help you feel good about yourself :-0

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      Robin Long 3 years ago

      Fem, I TOTALLY agree with you! Getting dressed in the morning is big. Even if I shower, do my hair, put on some makeup and wear workout clothes I still feel better about myself and life in general 🙂 And also – I strongly considered encapsulating the placenta so that doesn’t freak me out! I know a lot of people think it’s strange but I think it’s great that you did that. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  7. Sarah 3 years ago

    Hi Robin! A friend posted this on Pinterest so I stopped by to see what you had in mind!…

    I’ve had 3 kids and you have really great ideas here, the only one I’d like you to think about is your #7 Exercise–specifically your (9 Months On, 9 Months Off) comment. 100% exercise is crucial to the new mom, I just don’t want people to be disillusioned that it only takes 9 months for your baby weight to go away. I was recently talking with my Doctor at my yearly checkup and she said she sees that it really takes 18 months to get the weight off. I TOTALLY agree! For some skinny minis that have been slim their whole life this might be true–but for me and for most of my friends it seems it takes a lot longer, until both you and your baby are solidly sleeping through the night, and you really get the Momma thing down you can really work it and get the lbs off.

    • Profile photo of Robin Long
      Robin Long 3 years ago

      Hi Sarah,
      Thank you for your comment. You know what, I TOTALLY agree with you. I wrote this post when I was only 3 months out from giving birth and was surrounded by friends who were frustrated that they hadn’t lost the weight within the first few months. So when I wrote that I was thinking I was being conservative and giving myself a lot of time and grace. And while I do think it’s very possible to return to your pre-pregnancy weight in 9 months for some, for other it may very well take longer. So thank you for your feedback. I appreciate it! My goal is for this to be an encouraging space not discouraging, so I’ll make that change to the post. Thanks again,
      Robin

  8. Britt 3 years ago

    This is just what I needed to read! My little sweetie is 9 weeks old, and things can get a little overwhelming! Love this advice 🙂

  9. Tasha 3 years ago

    This post was encouraging! I just quit taking my birth control, and my husband and I are going to start trying. My biggest fear is being exhausted. It seems like some people can run on 3-5 hours of sleep! I am miserable if I get less than 8. I know working moms have so much time off from their job, but what advice would you give for working moms that have babies that do not sleep all through the night yet?

    • Profile photo of Robin Long
      Robin Long 3 years ago

      Hi Tasha,
      I was worried about the same thing! I am a MESS when I don’t get good sleep.

      I will say one thing though – when you become a mom you will find a way to make it work. You just do. You will be able to function with less sleep than you used to be able to.

      As far as tips for working moms. I know opinions differ, but since I knew I had to work I was intentional about setting Blake up with good sleep habits from the very beginning. We loosely followed the Baby Wise book and it worked perfectly for us. We were able to understand Blake’s cries and needs from an early age and she started sleeping through the night at 8 weeks. We never had to do the “cry it out” method because she naturally fell into a routine from a very young age.

      I know some people don’t agree with Baby Wise but for us, it was easy and natural. It made Blake happy because she got plenty of sleep and had a routine and it made me happy because I could count on her sleeping when I needed her to sleep.

      Every baby is different but for us, setting up good sleep habits from the very beginning has paid off. 🙂 I wish you the best and keep me posted on how it goes! xo

      • Tasha 3 years ago

        I researched the book, and I am very curious! I am going to order it! Thanks!!

  10. Meredith 3 years ago

    Great tips!! I would add not feeling guilty for ignoring phone calls. I have an 8 week old and I so far have intentionally ignored phone calls and returned with a text if I need to. Much easier to communicate that way if the baby is fussing, etc. than talking on the phone.

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      Robin Long 3 years ago

      Oh my gosh, YES! This is so true. I could not come close to keeping up with phone calls and texts and I felt so bad! I’m 11 months in and I still can’t keep up! Good advice. 🙂

  11. Clare 2 years ago

    This post came through the BabyList Loves newsletter in my inbox, which I still enjoy even now baby girl is 5 months old. Good advice all around, I think, though I haven’t managed to get my hair did yet (she eats, seriously, every 1.5 hours, so I’d be lucky to fit in a trim – I have managed to get my legs waxed though!)
    I also really like the “go to bed when they do, and sleep as long as possible in the morning” advice, and I’m glad I’m not the only one who does/did this! At the moment my beautiful girl is catnapping 20-30min during the day, and I would DIE if I went to bed at 10pm because she is always up before 6! So bed at 7:30 it is, until we start sleep coaching and hopefully extending her naps soon. I tell my partner that even though sometimes I’m bored and feel like my brain is melting away, I’m so glad to be off work for 8 months because I need my sleeps yo. When I want intellectual stimulation, I’ve been doing Coursera.org courses and reading New Scientist magazine. I also try to talk about not-baby stuff with my parent’s group friends – tough but good.

  12. Heather Gatewood 1 year ago

    Hi! Love all those tips & did most of them my first time around the motherhood block. I turn into a bit of a monster without enough sleep so I catch a nap anytime I can (my son is almost 2). But I’m a little freaked out because I’m pregnant with our second & I have no idea how I’m ever going to sleep again (my son is not a fan of sleep!) Exercise does wonders for me and I’m hoping I will feel refreshed by afternoon walks (and coffee!)

  13. Nadean 1 year ago

    I love this! I didn’t read this until AFTER I had my baby, and by that point I kind of figured that out too. For me, I get really anxious when I can’t see progress; I am very much a planner. The hardest part of having a baby in my opinion, is not being able to cross things off my to-do list.

    Over the last two weeks I came up with a new strategy: Every morning I get out my planner and some fun pens, sit down while the baby’s sleeping, and set realistic goals that I can get done. I was having a hard time remembering to give my baby his supplements with his formula, so I write it down every single day. That’s my number one priority for the day, so then I can add whatever else I think I can get done (laundry, grocery store, etc.) but also the trick is not to do too many big things in one day, like grocery store AND laundry. It just feels so much better to check some things off for the day and realize that yes, I am still doing stuff!

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