Today I would like to talk a little bit about how to do self care for new mums and how to take care of yourself when you have a baby. You can watch the video I’ve recorded for you all about this or skip on for the written blog post!
I’m sure many of you will know that I have a delightful little boy called Finley who is almost 2. He’s just wonderful, a total joy and I love him to pieces! Obviously he comes with his challenges as all children do, but he’s just the most amazing little boy. I am hoping that number 2 might come along in a couple of years’ time, but definitely not for a while.
I want to talk a little bit about self care for new mums, particularly in that time after you have had your baby, because it’s so important. When I had Finley I tried to focus on self care, but there were a lot of reasons why things didn’t quite work out as I planned them. Finley came at 35 weeks, and he had some really quite severe medical issues when he was born, which meant we were in and out of hospital. However, there were still some things that I did that were like life-savers and made things so much easier after I had given birth.
I know there’s a few women who read the blog who are pregnant, and obviously for a lot of us ladies in our 30s, it is the baby-making years, I suppose. So I thought it would be good to share some of these tips because self care at that point can really do wonders for your mental wellbeing, for your physical wellbeing, and for your physical recovery after birth as well.
So here are my self care after having a baby, how to take care of yourself, tips!
Stock up on healthy meals
Before you actually have the baby, plan out and buy some healthy pre made meals that you can have in the house. There’s some great places now where you can buy that kind of thing. Obviously there is an expense to that, and you’ve got to weigh that up, but for me it was vital. James isn’t the best with cooking bless him, he tries but he’s not the greatest cook and he doesn’t drive so he couldn’t go out and get grocery shopping for example – that was something I would have to do. We did get in some of these meal options after Finley, but if I had another baby I would be doing this a whole lot more!
There’s a company called ilumi, who do sachets of gluten-free foods. They make sachets and little pots of things that you can heat up in the microwave or heat up in a pan. They’re room temperature stable so you don’t have to refrigerate them (which is helpful, if like me you’re in hospital for an extended stay and the food is pants), so you can get them in bulk and keep them anywhere for when you need them. They provide a really simple healthy, tasty meal. Another thing I loved about them was that James liked them as well. He’s a bit of a fusspot and he’s gluten-free, so they were perfect for us as a family. Sometimes I would add a handful of spinach or some kind of easy to prepare vegetables to them as well, just to give them a bit more bulk and a veggie boost. There are also plenty of other companies if you look online. One that I’ve come across recently and absolutely loved is called Everdine. They do a delivery of quick, clean, healthy meals you can stock up on in advance and have those there for you. These are much more veggie packed than others I’ve tried. (p.s you can get £30 off one of their meal boxes with code IN1WHOLEHEARTED)
On the planning side, it’s really useful to have a list of the regular groceries you would like to have coming in. Perhaps set it up on an online grocery store so you know you can do it from your phone or do it from your laptop while you’ve got baby, to order stuff and get it delivered. Ultimately, it depends on your family situation but as I was the only one who can drive, it was often down to me to get the groceries in. Even if James could drive, God only knows what he would come back with so it’s a good idea to have those things in place.
Set your expectations
Secondly, lower the expectations of what you think you’re going to be able to do, and then lower them again. I know that I found it tough because I think my expectations of what the post-natal period would be were different than how it actually ended up being. If I’d just lowered my expectations, and been a bit more realistic about what life would be like, I think I would have enjoyed the process a lot more. Again, this is something I’m looking forward to if we do have another child – really relaxing into it, and remembering you can’t get this time back, because it is true. It can be a really challenging period so take off as much load as you can so that you can just enjoy being there with your baby.
Create a self care kit
The third tip is to have some kind of little self care kit made up. This is one thing that I did – I subscribed to some snack box subscriptions, such as LifeBox and SourcedBox. Healthy snack box subscriptions are great, magazine subscriptions are also helpful and you can even get some books ready (actually buy them or get them on your Kindle, ready to read). I also found snack bars brilliant, some meals were just snack bars because I was sat under a baby who was wanting to cluster feed and I couldn’t move for hours. Sitting there having a snack bar was like heaven.
Having those things ready is going to make it a lot easier. You know that you’ve got those things there, plus it’s like a self care prompt. When you get this lovely box of healthy snacks, you get this magazine in the post, it’s really helpful. Also, do a Netflix list beforehand of programmes or movies you want to watch and make sure there’s a lot of comedy. I needed the comedy! At 2 o’clock in the morning, I needed to be watching the funny movies.
Brief those around you
Another one to think about is to brief your partner, and your friends and family, about what kind of support you think you might need. It’s very hard to know what you might need if it’s your first baby, but it can be helpful to think that through before and have a talk with people. You’ve got to remember that our culture expects a lot of women after we’ve had babies, and in a lot of places in the world the 4th trimester – the 3 months after you’ve had your baby – is revered and women are left to stay in bed, and all they do is look after the baby. Whereas nowadays you’ve got the baby to look after, you’ve got the house to run, if you’re lucky you’ve got some maternity leave. My friends in America who are reading this, I can’t believe that you get so little maternity leave. It’s a travesty really. You’re trying to do 101 things, so briefing the people in your inner circle who are going to be there to support you with what it is that you might need is going to be really helpful.
Get nice lounge wear
Another thing that I find helpful is buying some nice lounge wear such as nice PJs, because there’s going to be some days where you just don’t get out of them, let’s face it. Get some really nice lounge wear, pajamas, sweat pants and vest tops. H&M do good basic vest tops that are quite long so I found them useful because I could pull them down and breastfeed and I could put a t-shirt over the top. I spent loads of money on buying those bloody breastfeeding tops and found them nothing but a hassle, but with a vest underneath or a t-shirt or a top, you can just pull one up and one down. It’s nice and cozy to have on in the house. Those things make it a little more comfortable.
What I’d really like to share is that thinking about self care before you have the baby is going to make it actually happen, rather than sitting there feeling like you’ve been hit by a bus. Thinking about those kinds of things beforehand is really helpful, and those are the particular things that have helped me!
I hope that’s been useful to any of my pregnant ladies out there. It’s so exciting having a little one! If I had number 2, these are exactly the things I would be doing.
If you’re a mama, what are your best tips on self care for new mums? If you’re expecting a little one, have you thought about self care?