Redefining Self-Care for New Parents

August 3, 2023
Preschool kids play with building bricks in while sitting on floor in daycare

Self-care is a popular buzz word, but what does it mean for new parents? Amidst diaper changes, sleepless nights, and endless feedings, finding time for yourself can feel like another impossible task to add to your to-do list.

We see self-care ideas all over the internet, but a lot of these ideas can range from unattainable to almost insulting. Showering and eating should never be considered “self-care”, they’re basic rights. And the assumption that you have people around to babysit your child while you take a break, might leave you feeling isolated and out of options.

Taking care of your mental and physical health shouldn’t cause you more stress. Let’s redefine self-care for new parents and break down some realistic strategies for prioritizing yourself during this busy time.

Let Go of the Unrealistic Expectations (as best as you can)

We know there’s a never-ending list of “shoulds” out there; I should go for a walk, I should clean up the kitchen, I should do some laundry. But the reality is, you can’t do it all. No one can. So, try to let go of the pressure and cut yourself some slack. Leaving that pile of dishes for an extra day doesn’t make you a bad parent! Give yourself permission to say, “I’ll get to it when I can”.

Set Boundaries and Say “No”

Remember that you have the power to set boundaries for yourself, your home, and your child. Don’t feel pressured to hand over your baby if you’re not comfortable. Let yourself to say “no” to outings or visitors when needed. It’s not selfish; it’s about creating a safe and comfortable space for you and your family.

Give Yourself Permission to Rest

You might see friends or people on the internet talk about how productive they were during their baby’s nap, but there are no rules for how you need to spend your time. Parenting is hard, give yourself permission to rest.

Prioritize Your Health

You’ve got a lot on your plate, but don’t forget about your health. Go to your scheduled appointments and have regular check-ins with your healthcare provider. Taking care of yourself physically and emotionally will allow you to be the best version of yourself for your baby.

Find Support with Other New Parents

It may look like everyone else has their life together, and that you’re the only one having trouble adjusting, but the reality is that you are not alone. At BridgeWay we have programs dedicated to new parents connecting with each other and finding support.

Practice Makes Progress

Putting yourself first will take some practice, and that’s okay. Parenting is a journey of growth, and we’re all learning as we go. There will be some days where prioritizing yourself seems impossible. Remember to be patient and kind to yourself. You are doing a great job.

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