10 Ways to Make Time for Self-Care When You Have a Newborn

By Nikki M

When you spend every waking hour taking care of your newborn, it's easy to neglect your own needs. Round-the-clock feedings and endless diaper changes can leave you feeling overwhelmed. You don’t remember the last time you ran a brush through your hair, read something that wasn't from the pediatrician's office, or interacted with someone who didn’t immediately vomit all over you.

Many new mothers tend to feel guilty about wanting time for themselves, which is absolutely wrong! You need to take care of yourself before you can do the same for someone else. You want to raise your child as a happy and fulfilled mother— and when you put your own well-being on the backburner, you end up feeling miserable, or worse, resentful.

The first step is to drop the guilt and make time for yourself. It's not going to be easy with a needy newborn, but it's totally possible, and completely necessary!

Here are 10 ways you can indulge in self-care as a new mom:

Set a Schedule

The biggest reason for feeling overwhelmed is lack of organization. Set up a daily schedule for yourself. It doesn't have to be very strict and on an hourly basis, but it's nice to have daily goals.

Designate specific times of the day for household chores, that way you're not doing dishes or folding laundry all day long— you already have your hands full with a newborn, remember?

As much as possible, plan to get out of the house at least once a day. Cabin fever with a newborn is no joke. Whether it's a nice morning walk around the block with the stroller or eating lunch out on the patio, some fresh air and sunlight will do you wonders.

During the evening, establish a bedtime routine for your little one to help them wind down. Afterwards, indulge in a bubble bath and a good glass of wine (breastfeeders can opt for some herbal tea instead!).

Make the Most out of Naps

Sure, newborns eat and poop all day long. But do you know what they also do? Sleep. And they sleep a LOT! Make the most out of your little one's naps by chinking away at things you want to do. You could go wild and cram a billion activities in those 30 minutes, or simply join your baby for an afternoon snooze.

Plan on Showering Every Single Morning

Showering is one of the most basic needs that seem to fly out the window once you have a baby. The mere thought of it can be absolutely stressful— "Where am I supposed to leave baby? What if he starts crying? WHAT IF HE'S CHOKING OR FALLING AND I DON'T HEAR HIM??!"

Get over your showering fears and just do it. Hand the baby off to someone, or if there's no one else, put him in a bouncer and bring him to the bathroom.

A refreshing shower will energize you, clear your thoughts, and jumpstart your day. And no, nighttime showers are not the same thing.

Ask for Help

Whether it's family coming over one day a week or delegating certain tasks to dad when he gets home from work, don't be afraid to ask for help and pass baby along when you're feeling overwhelmed.

It's difficult to be on top of your game when you haven't had a break. Most of the time, it's our family and friends who offer to watch over baby, so graciously accept and take advantage of the situation!

Try to let go of certain hang-ups. It's normal to be uber-controlling and paranoid when it comes to leaving your child with someone else, but try your best to relax! Your loved ones are there to help and enjoy your little one. If you keep freaking out when they use the wrong burp cloth, you might just scare off all your potential sitters.

Plan for Some Alone-Time

Whether it's 30 minutes a day or one day out of a week, make sure to carve out time for yourself, and make it consistent. When you're sick of the daily grind, it's absolutely uplifting having something to look forward to.

Morning person? Plan on waking up earlier than usual to do some yoga, catch up on magazine subscriptions, or simply zone out and listen to your favorite tunes. Once a week, take a stroll down to your coffee shop and enjoy a latte while people watching. Bring a book... or don't! Once a month, indulge in a pedicure or a blowout.

You don't even need to hire a sitter for these. Simply coordinate with your husband on his days off, or do it when the grandparents stop by for their weekly visit.

Maintain a Social Life

Catching up with friends may be the last thing on your mind when you're busy with a newborn, but it's important to maintain a social life outside your nuclear family. When your only interactions involve nagging to your husband and babbling to a baby who won't even make eye contact with you, you will go nuts. It's just a matter of time.

Have a good variety of friends, and set regular dates. Making new mom friends is great because you'll have people who can actually relate to you. Mom friends will feel your pain and nod along when you talk about being peed on several times a day. Mom friends hook you up and let you in on the city's best infant classes, stroller exercise groups, and donut shops.

But your old non-parent friends are awesome too, because sometimes you just want an escape from all the diaper talk. Catch up with your old buddies over some drinks and enjoy tales of office drama, dating fails, and gossip galore!

Spa Days at Home

Someone offers to watch the baby and you have an unexpected hour of free time. You can either:

Drive to the mall, get one of those 20-minute chair massages where everyone's free to watch, then drive back.

OR Soak in the tub with a Lush bath bomb, apply a homemade, all-natural mask, refresh your mani/pedi, all while catching up an episode of This Is Us. Afterwards, slather on some delicious-smelling coconut oil and shimmy into a silk robe.

Your move.

Go Off the Grid

While the internet has been a total game changer, it can also be a complete waste of time. How many times have you zoned out on Instagram while your baby was napping, only to end up with a pair of sore eyes and a whole lot of envy for some 17 year-old model/blogger living it up in Cancun?

Instead of relying on tech for entertainment during your downtime, pick up a book, go for a run around the block, tend to your garden, do some squats, make a panini… Do anything, as long as it doesn't involve a screen!

Allow Yourself Indulgences

Sometimes, you don't even have to be physically away from your little one to feel a sense of satisfaction. Little luxuries can lift your mood and transport you to a different place.

Spray on that perfume that everyone says smells like something died but you think smells fancy, and wear that dress that makes you feel like a million bucks. Prepare your signature pasta dish, and pop open a bottle of a wine you've been saving for a special occasion. Have FOUR slices of that chocolate ganache tart because you can.

An hour ago you were a dowdy momma covered in spit-up, stuck in the ‘burbs. Now you are a glamorous mom boss enjoying the art of fine living.

Get a Sitter

Sometimes, you just can't get around it. A sitter is essential if you want more than an hour for yourself. Do your research, ask for good recommendations, trust your gut, and most importantly, enjoy!

It's crucial to make time for yourself when you have a newborn. Feeling fulfilled will not only do wonders for you, it will certainly make you a better mother.

What are some of your tips for finding time for yourself with a newborn? Share your advice in the comments below!

Tags : thrive   new mom   

Bea Elliason
I have a spa day at home every weekends. Nothing fancy. I run a bath and light up candles and soak for about an hour. It keeps me sane!
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