Postpartum Self-Care Tips for New Moms From Real Moms

Starting Self-Care Practices in Those First 12 Weeks is Crucial

What immediately comes to mind when you hear the words self-care?

Do you start thinking of ways you can take care of yourself and reset mind, body, and soul?

In my opinion, self-care is an extremely important routine to start during the fourth trimester.

The fourth trimester is the 12 weeks following the birth of your baby.

According to the dictionary, self-care is the action of preserving or improving one’s own health.  It can also be to protect your well-being and happiness.

This last part is especially true during the fourth trimester.  During this time, self-care is the hardest to accomplish.  It is also a time where you might feel like you will never feel yourself again.

Self-care isn’t impossible during the fourth trimester, but you are trying to figure out a new baby and make time for yourself, so it feels impossible to even think about or care for yourself the way you should.

This is a time where thinking about yourself seems like the worst thing you could do, but I assure you this is for you just as much as it is for your baby and other family members.

Self-care gives you an opportunity to feel like you, reset, feel refreshed, and ready to face the day.

Establish a Self-Care Routine

You can wait until you are more adjusted, but starting a self-care routine right away will ensure you will start it and follow through with it moving forward.

At least, that is the hope; sometimes life gets in the way.

When you are starting your self-care routine, it doesn’t have to be anything bigger than taking 5 minutes to yourself at first.  The key is to start a routine.

Regardless of what you decide to start with whether it be simply sitting in a room alone, taking a shower, going for a walk, it doesn’t matter just do it every day.

If you have discussed with your significant other that they will take the baby when they get home, make it a point to do this and stick to it.

Being a mom is overwhelming and being a new mom is even more so.

This is why it is important to establish a routine for self-care early.  You will be so grateful to yourself that you did!

Because despite how you feel now, YOU and YOUR well-being are important!

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What if your family lives far away? How can you still have a self-care routine?

Not having family close by when you start a family can be extremely difficult for various reasons.  You may think it is impossible to get any kind of self-care because there isn’t anyone else to help you besides your significant other.

But I am here to share with you it is possible.

Does your family live far away?

Below are tips from other moms whose families live far away.

Here are some self-care tips from moms who have been there before: 

Colleen mom of 6 says, “she always had an online meal train set up or she would make freezer meals ahead of time. Her husband takes a week off when the baby is born, and then she has her mom come to town the next week.  She highly recommends easing back into life by babywearing and to not do ANY chores for 6 weeks.  If possible, find or hire help.”

Stormy from Pregnant Mama Baby Life says, “Don’t be afraid to get creative. Showers were the only thing that made her feel better.  She would bring the Rock n Play to the bathroom and the baby would hang out while she showered.  Stormy did this at least three times a day especially on really rough days. She then would make sure she got TONS of rest.  Sometimes her and her son would hang out in bed all day and watch tv (and that was OK!).  Lastly, she says it is completely worth the extra money to invest in a grocery delivery service; it is just one less thing to worry about.”

Courtney from The Unplanned Tiny Hand says, “Showers saved her sanity!  She would at the very least take two showers a day.  She says it was her time to let go and just cry.  Sometimes all you need is a good cry.”

Whitney from Creath Writer says, “Ask for help WAY before baby is born and be specific about what you are wanting help with.  Have a special reward for yourself on those hard hormone days (chocolate).  It is ok if you use paper plates for a while and not the fine china; this way everyone especially hubby can bond with the baby.  Meal prep ahead of a time and label with cooking instructions; invite friends over and make it a food making party.  Splurge on a postpartum self-care package and padsicles. Lastly, don’t afraid to talk to a lactation consultant even if it isn’t your first child.”

Karissa says, “to find something for YOU.  She dealt with a lot of identity crisis as if she lost herself and went down a black hole.  Believe it or not, she found herself again with nail polish strips.  Through these nail polish strips she joined a community of women who became her family.  She started to feel like herself, and they saved her from the PPD she was in.  Long story short, find something for YOU. Don’t isolate yourself. Chat with friends and family daily, do a face mask, relax when baby is asleep, read a book…something that fills your cup.”

Daphna from A Tiny Trip says, “The best thing she did was preparing 6 weeks of fully-cooked meals and stocking them in the freezer ahead of time.  So, she wasn’t spending anytime in the kitchen. She also gave herself a free pass on housework the first few weeks and only did the bare minimum.  This way she could spend time loving on her new baby and self-care during nap times. Her example routine: She would shower and get ready for the day during the first nap. Second nap, she would do something that filled her cup (reading or writing).  She would then work in some chores and have an early bedtime.It was important to her to work on self-care in the morning, so she would have time in the afternoons to focus on her older kids.”

Self-Care tips for the fourth trimester from other moms

Amber from Brock Haven Kitchen says – “For me, self-care really meant finding a routine my husband and I could handle as a team. My husband is an extremely deep sleeper and impossible to wake from that deep sleep, and with our first baby, I had a hard time staying awake to nurse at night. So, for us, it worked for me to be up with the baby during the day while he slept, and I slept at night while he stayed awake. That way, he could be awake to help me. This was temporary while he was off for paternity leave. All that to say, my tip is to find what works for you and your family. Don’t worry about what other people think.”

Johlize suggests getting as much rest as possible and get help for cleaning and chores.

Amy from The Postpartum Party says, “She ate cookie dough when she was stressed (jk!). Seriously, though, she started going to bed at 8 after she put her daughter down so she could get more sleep. She would rely on the grandparents every once in a while, to watch her daughter so she could get a nap in. Once a week, when her husband would get home from work, she would get out of the house and do something for a little while.  She recommends having some close girlfriends on speed dial when things get rough.”

Nicola says, “The best thing she ever did was co-sleep with her second child.  She didn’t do it with her first.  So, for her the baby was always beside her, and she didn’t have to get out of bed to feed her in the middle of the night.  She recommends a crib that attaches to the bed so there is no risk of rolling over or squashing the baby.  She says she slept sounder, and it was truly a wonderful experience.”

Liz from Blue and HazelShe would go to bed around 7 or 8 when the baby did, so she would have one small chunk of sleep in the bank by the time the baby woke again.  She did this with all three of her kids.  She also started showering at night, so she could take a longer shower and not have to rush.  Figuring out a 3-5-minute make-up routine, made all the difference in her feeling better about herself. Remember it is the little things!

Jade from Live a Blissful Life had to have an emergency c-section and was diagnosed with postpartum depression when her son was 18 months old.  She is giving tips based on what she would do the second time around. 1. Hire a cleaner at least once a week.  Have them come more often if you are like her and clutter makes you anxious. 2. Have your husband take some time off work when the baby comes (at least a week).  3. Take short frequent breaks 4. Ask for a break when you need it. You don’t have to do it all! 5. Sleep when the baby sleeps without guilt. You will burn yourself out thinking you need to get it all done.

Rigel from Holes in Your Socks says, “she had a really hard time finding the time to do anything she enjoyed, but she found time to read.  Using her kindle, she found 15-20 minutes between breastfeeding and night time snuggles to finish 3 novels in 3 months.”

Stefanie from Stefanie GrayJust finished the fourth trimester, so here are her tips for self-care through those first 3 months. She saved one day a week for no guests, errands, and no appointments.  There were zero obligations.  This way she could sleep, work on personal projects, or really whatever she damned well pleased. 😊 She made it a point to speak up and tell her husband what she needed help with.

Jessi says, “Ask for a nap!”

Daphna from A Tiny Trip says, “She took a non-negotiable shower during the baby’s first nap of the day and changed into clean clothes (even if they were just new comfortable house clothes).  Taking a few minutes to herself helped her reset and prepare for another day of feedings, diaper changes, and naps.”

Melinda from Unfrazzled Mama says, “DON’T get dressed, do your makeup, or try to act like you have your life together. In fact, it is ideal if you can stay in bed for several days to a week after you give birth. Trust me on this. Support for new moms is already super limited. The moment that you start getting out of bed, getting dressed and generally looking like a human being who can function, what little support that you do have is going to disappear. People are going to subconsciously think things like ‘She looks like she can totally manage the laundry now, no need to offer to help with that!’

Crystal from Marching North says, “Ask for help!!!  Don’t try to do too much too soon. Lay down as much as you can.  Watch Netflix marathons. Rest. Eat lots of nutritious food.”

She also says, “if you are struggling with anxiety, tell someone!” Don’t be afraid to ask for help.”

Kimberly from Team Cartwright recommends getting out of the house.  Even if you just go through the drive-thru at Starbucks (which you totally deserve to do as a mama).  Just get out of the house.  It refreshes you and makes you feel like you are still part of the world.  She says it is self-care to take the baby with you (as long as it is healthy for you and baby, of course).  The sooner you get used to getting out with your little one the better.  Your confidence and mama-strength will just grow and grow.  She says, “Feeling like you can handle being a mom is self-care.”

Twin Mom, Morgan from Mom Uprising says, “she didn’t sleep when the babies slept every time, but she did go to bed when the babies did. When her twins were officially asleep, she got her 3-year-old to come lay down with her and they watched movies together, relaxed, and had bedtime snacks while her hubby did nightly housework.  This routine gave her some quality time with her older child.”

Postpartum self-care

As you can see, everyone has a different definition of self-care.

Self-care truly is different for everyone.  You have to decide what is going to make you feel good about yourself and your situation.

Does getting your hair or nails done make you feel better or special?  Then, schedule time to get those things done on a regular basis.

Did exercise make you feel better before pregnancy?  Get out and go for a walk.  You want to ease yourself back into working out especially once you are cleared by the doctor.

Here are some other things you can incorporate into your self-care routine if they sound good to you:

  • Go some where alone
  • Get your hair or nails done
  • Go get a massage (if cleared by your doctor)
  • Take a shower
  • Sit in silence
  • Hang out on your patio, porch, deck
  • Call a friend
  • Have a girl’s night
  • Stay in bed all day with your baby
  • Hire a cleaner
  • Find a grocery or food delivery service
  • Get dressed everyday or don’t (whichever one makes you feel best)
  • See a therapist
  • Journal
  • Take up a hobby
  • Join a mom group
  • Put on make-up

No matter what you choose do NOT feel guilty about taking time for YOU.  Remember, YOU are important!

How can you execute your self-care routine?

Be honest, open, and thorough about your expectations, needs, and wants.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

But if you are not clear or if you don’t ask; no one will know how to help you.

With all of that being said, sit down with your family and husband devise a plan of how you see the 12 weeks after delivery going.

Make sure your plan isn’t just about the baby, but about you as well and how you will get time to feel like you.

A self-care routine is important to establish during the fourth trimester.

Share this post with your other soon-to-be moms, and comment below what self-care routine you plan to start in the fourth trimester. 

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