When you have a newborn, you find yourself stuck in a tunnel where you think you will NEVER have time for your own priorities again. An infant has needs. all. the. time. You live on their schedule and their schedule only. Rest assured though, you
can still MUST take care of
yourself. As a caregiver, you will be the most effective caring for your little
one’s needs when your needs are met, too. Here are some tips:
1. Plan to take care of yourself.
2. Realize you are not alone.
Who are the ones that are there to help you? Write their names down! Sometimes, just seeing a list of those who support you can help you to relax and calm down. Use their help! For me, I always feel guilty when I leave my little one, even for a quick grocery store trip. Learning to be apart, even for short periods of time, is not only good for you but also for your child.
3. You just had a shock to the system.
4. Sleep is a good thing.
If you are like me, when you do get a window to sleep, you will have trouble shutting your mind down. List after list will be created during quiet, free moments. If you are like my husband, you will get so used to a “stay awake always” routine that you can’t fall asleep.
I must say that getting some extra sleep makes a huge difference. If someone is willing to get up with your little for one night, TAKE it! Even if you end up getting up, like I typically did, I found that I slept so much better just knowing everything didn’t fall on my shoulders! So go lay down with your hubby for a bit, even just a “rest” can help you feel better prepared to take on that next diaper change!
6. Calming/Coping strategies are a MUST!
Now, do those things! Not just one time, make it a habit!
Realize that the way you do those things now may look much differently than the way you did them before baby. For instance, I used to run and work out majority of the week (5-6 times each week). I could have worked out at any time but I almost always ran/walked in the evenings shortly after dinner. Now, that is baby’s bedtime and would never work. I am not a morning person. I also can no longer take leisurely hour walks. So I find compromises… I walk about 40 minutes with the dogs 1-2 times/week before I get my little one from daycare. This is best because the weather in our area isn’t always suitable for being outside with a baby. I also run or use my elliptical about 1x per week; although for much shorter periods than before, I am still satisfied to get a workout in!
7. Change Environments Regularly.
I don’t particularly love all the prep work that goes into getting into a vehicle with a little one so I found that walks worked best for me. Some days though, I just sat outside (while the little one was napping if it was too cold for her) and listened to music or showed our baby the world. That was just enough change in environment for me!
8. Take care of yourself.
Are you getting this gist throughout this whole post?!?!? You have to take care of yourself in order to benefit your relationship with your spouse! Make sure you know what your current needs are (I need a shower, I need a nap, you get it). Then, make those needs clear to those around you and ask them for help! Keep in mind, asking goes over much better than telling. BUT, make sure your needs (within reason) are getting met!
9. Find good family moments.
10. Remember those family moments frequently.
See 9. Keep those moments in your mind all the time! Think about them constantly! It will keep you in a positive mindset. Also, make sure you enjoy all aspects of baby time; I already miss some of those moments that have changed. For instance, now that I have been sleeping at night again for about 2 months, I do miss those quiet moments of rocking my baby in the middle of the night.
11. “This too shall pass.”
12. Stay Positive and Laugh!This can be hard to do when you are tired and/or frustrated. Seriously though, can’t you think of one thing that you could say that is nice? Maybe just think of the many things you appreciate in life. What about your child? There has to be oodles of positive things to say! Negativity easily puts us all in a funk. It happens, too easily, but it doesn’t have to be that way!
Commit yourself to staying in a positive mindset. It definitely makes all the difference, I promise! Lastly, laugh at yourself! I can't be the only one that has ended up with baby poop all over me!
What advice do you have that I didn’t think to add?