A tranquil and serene mother is the most important thing for baby's well-being: this is why after giving birth, every woman should learn how to take care of herself by setting aside small amounts of time for rest and relaxation. Taking care of a newborn child brings immense joy, but it's tough work. Correct behaviour and small "get-away" strategies can help you to cope. Here are some tips.
- Ask others for help. Baby and the home: there's lot's to do, right? Get help: from your partner above all, as well as from friends and relatives. If you feel your parents or the in-laws are around just a little too much, make the most of the situation: ask them to help you do simple chores, such as baby's washing, getting dinner ready or doing the shopping. Asking others to help may be difficult, but let's not forget that with a new mum, everyone feels the need to play their own part.
- Don't try to do everything. When baby is sleeping, don't start tidying or ironing. There's something much more important you should be doing: getting some shut eye too. It may seem trivial, but sleep is just as important for mum as it is for baby, for the psychological and physical health of both. A rested mum is stronger and is capable of taking better care of baby. Each hour of sleep is a precious investment.
- Help your partner to help you. New dads also need to build confidence in their baby care skills. Mum plays an essential role in this process: if dad holds baby in a strange way, or puts a nappy on incorrectly, criticising him is the worst thing you could do. Give him time to learn, just think about how he's trying his best, that he's your team mate, the only one with whom you can share all responsibilities.
- Take your time. With a baby to breastfeed and take care of, don't expect to have much free time on your hands. However, it is possible to create a few moments of total freedom here and there: when your mum or a friend comes over, seize the opportunity to take a relaxing shower, pop out to buy some fresh bread, take the dog for a walk, or have a relaxing breakfast at a coffee shop. New mums think that baby needs them 24 hours a day, but this isn't actually true: when you return after your 15 minutes of freedom, you'll be a more relaxed and tranquil mum. What better gift for baby?
- Get moving! After giving birth, you don't necessarily need to return to you pre-pregnancy weight to be in shape. However, it is important that you gradually reintroduce physical activity and movement back into your life. You can start with a few stretching exercises, some light gymnastics, or walking outdoors, even while pushing the pram. In some cities you can sign up for mum and baby yoga, or pram fitness classes. Online too, there are countless opportunities and apps for fitness with baby!
- Don't worry what other people think. You probably discovered this when pregnant: everyone has some advice for mothers, even your elderly neighbour. By all means listen to them, without forgetting one fundamental thing: you're the best qualified person. Don't change your behaviour based on things that everyone tells you: if in doubt, try taking a deep breath and following your instinct.
- Talk about whatever's not going great. Highs and lows are a normal part of life as a new mum: everyone has felt lost, frightened or alone when faced with a new born baby. However, these should not be dominant feelings: if you notice moments of sadness or negative thoughts are getting the better of you, take some time out to discuss these feelings with someone: a friend, another mum, your partner or your doctor. In the long-term, you may be putting yourself at risk by keeping negative feelings to yourself.
- Keep an eye on food, but don't be too strict. Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day, follow a balanced diet containing all kinds of foods, fresh produce and little junk food: these are all correct and healthy habits. Without going over the top: if you fancy a cream pudding or a packet of crisps all to yourself in front of the TV, treat yourself by all means. You're doing one of the toughest jobs ever: you deserve to have some attention, relax and bend the rules occasionally.