How To Avoid New Baby Burn Out
Every new mother is going to have moments when she feels overwhelmed, exhausted, and like she just doesn’t know what she is doing. Just know that you are not alone, everyone goes through it, and it is OK. Unfortunately parenting is one of those things that you can never be completely prepared for, no matter how many books you read, and you just have to learn along the way and accept that you will never be perfect. Here are a couple of steps to take to ensure that you don’t burn out. However, you should also familiarize yourself with the signs and symptoms of postpartum depression to ensure that you understand what you are experiencing and know whether or not you need more help.
Make Time for Yourself
Between diapers, feedings, baths, and a healthy sleeping routine, taking care of a newborn is indeed a full-time job. You want to be the best parent for your baby, but if you neglect your own needs you will find it harder to satisfy your baby’s. Just remember that you are still you even though your number one role is now mommy. It is important to take time just for yourself to make sure you stay balanced in the face of such a world-changing transition.
This can be as simple as finding some time to take a nice bubble bath, paint your nails, read a book, or drink a soothing cup of tea. Treat yourself to a walk alone, get those precious extra 20 minutes of sleep when you can, or take a couple of minutes to empty your mind of all thoughts. It might not seem like much, but with all the things you have to do, even two minutes thinking about nothing at all will give your mind the short break it needs.
Be good to yourself by doing something completely for you and you alone, and not for baby. Of course, this all depends on the amount of help that you get, so don’t reject helpful offers when they are made. Even if it is only for 5 minutes so you can shower in peace, take it!
Remember Who You Are
Once you take on the role of super mommy, sometimes it’s easy to forget that you were a pretty awesome person before baby as well. Once in a while, taking care of yourself means investing some time in things that you enjoyed before baby came along, like indulging your love of fashion for example. This doesn’t mean going out and spending a lot of money, but rather take the time to peruse through some of the trends that you like and find some easy and cheap ways to implement them into your wardrobe.
Some may even be achievable with items that are already in your current wardrobe; you merely need to get a new idea for how to wear and pair them. For inspiration, browse some fashion blogs that offer style tips, such as essentials for the autumn and winter, color matching or accessorizing. You’ll end up with a fresh new look without spending a cent, not to mention you’ll also come to appreciate your sense of style all over again.
Just because you’re a mom doesn’t mean you need to retire your fashionista side. Looking great will play a huge role in making you feel great.
Speaking of looking great, yes… here it comes, exercise! You’ve probably heard this time and time again, but trust us: Your body will thank you. Not only will exercise make you feel healthier and in better shape, but it will also work like a natural anti-depressant for those occasional down days. Plus, it’s again something you do just for you, and what could be better than exercise to feel good about yourself?
We know that sleep seems more important than a workout during those first few months when sleep is incredibly rare, but you would be amazed at how much a mere 15 minute yoga or stretching routine at home can improve your mood and outlook. If there’s a stability or medicine ball lying around the house, why not put them to use and get some of that stress relief you’ve been needing lately?
We aren’t recommending that you hit the gym or start training for a marathon, but even getting out and enjoying nature for a 10 minute brisk walk with baby is hugely beneficial.
Involve Dad More
Doing everything on your own and taking care of your baby without accepting any help will lead to a guaranteed burnout. As the strong and independent woman that you are, accepting help won’t make you any less of a stellar mom. Neither will asking for an extra hand when you know you could use one. Feeling overwhelmed is almost unavoidable, so don’t turn Dad down when he offers to help!
In fact, let him bond with baby while you get a couple of hours of relaxation, a nap, or a walk to get some fresh air and reconnect with yourself. Just because you can do everything your mommy role requires, doesn’t mean you should do it solo. Having Dad take baby for a stroll in the afternoon, asking him to help with dinner, the laundry or any other household chores is a perfect way to get some necessary time for yourself.
So when Dad offers to help, let him: not only will it give you a chance to focus on what you need, but it will also make him feel included in this life-changing transition you’re both going through.
With your baby being completely dependent on you, you need to make sure you have enough energy to make it through the day. Apart from getting a much needed rest so your body can recharge and fully support you in your mommy duties for the day, you’ll need to make sure you’re eating well. You’ve probably heard that your diet can have an effect on your energy levels and your mood, and with baby needing your undivided attention at all times, this is not something you want to ignore.
Maintain a balanced diet with meals that are light and easy to digest, and your metabolism will work like clockwork. Just as your baby needs a stable feeding schedule, your body needs a steady diet, too, especially if you want to function at full capacity. Stock up on fresh fruit and veggies whenever you do your grocery shopping and avoid sugar-packed or processed food. Prepare balanced and nutritious meals, so you don’t stress over cooking all the time, and make sure you get enough protein, fiber and healthy fats in your diet.
Since time is a luxury you don’t have, having a shortlist of quick and easy recipes for yummy dishes or homemade snacks is a great way to put food on the table or munch on something healthy while your baby naps.
Keep Negative Thoughts Away
Becoming a parent changes you and your life completely. Whether you’re a new or seasoned mom, your top priority will always be your baby’s care and well-being, giving you plenty of reasons to feel like what you’re doing is not enough. Feelings of guilt and negativity will make you feel miserable and that will only drain your energy even more.
When you start feeling like you’re not doing your best, ask yourself if this is really the case. Talk to your spouse and share your worries and thoughts, and he will remind you what a wonderful mom you are. Give yourself credit every once in a while, and don’t let these negative thoughts rob you of your self-appreciation. It certainly is hard to be a perfect mom, and there will be times you may forget things or hardly have time for everything you’ve planned for the day, but don’t let that cloud your self-esteem.
The more you want to do, the harder it will be to keep things under control, and the easier it gets for bad thoughts to take over your mind. Acknowledge your wins and successes as a mom, and appreciate how much you do for your family, even though you have a newborn to take care of as well. That alone is amazing — don’t you think?
There are indeed more tips and tricks, but these are a good start. Ultimately, developing your own mental and physical routine as well as forming some new practices are essential for non-moms, new moms, and seasoned moms alike. However, especially for new moms, it’s important to keep in mind that sometimes the best thing you can do for your baby is to do something for yourself. In the end, avoiding burnout will help you manage your mommy duties that much better.
Photo credits: Yoga at Sunset by Dennis Yang (CC); Standing with dads help by FromSandToGlass (CC); Take Back Your Health Conference 2015 Angeles by TakeBackYourHealthConference (CC); Sleeping Beauties by jonty.fisher (CC)
Tags: anti-burnout tips for moms, avoid baby burnout, avoiding baby burnout, healthy habits, life tips for after baby, make time for yourself, mommy me time, new mommy tips, positive changes, prevent baby burnout, tips for new moms
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Elena is the managing editor for Daily Mom. She enjoys traveling, spending time with her daughter, running several businesses, working on Daily Mom, playing volleyball, going to the gym, photographing and reading. You can contact her via email.