New Moms Should Practice Self-Care

4 tips to take care of yourself after having a baby.

New Moms Should Practice Self-Care

From the moment I found out I was pregnant, my priorities quickly shifted. I immersed myself in books that educated me on what to expect in caring for a new baby. And though I felt prepared for our little one, I could have used a little more wisdom in taking care of myself -- from preparing myself for the emotional jolt of bringing my baby home from the hospital to combating the baby blues and dealing with "mommy brain." Indeed, the level of self-sacrifice required in pregnancy is just a prequel to caring for yourself as a new mama; and after giving birth, nurturing ourselves needs to become our foremost priority.

So to help nurture your physical, spiritual and emotional selves, here are four tips that will help you put self-care on your to-do list and guide you through your daily pursuit of balance.

1. Plan Ahead. “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Before baby, I found freedom in flying by the seat of my coat tails. Unfortunately, the outside world makes little concession for hormonal, flustered mamas. Thus, planning is essential! If you have difficulty keeping your commitments, are frequently losing things or have trouble making decisions, you may be experiencing mommy brain. Write everything down, keep a working to do list, and schedule everything 30 minutes in advance. I say, “if the appointment isn’t in my Google calendar, it doesn’t exist.”

You can also do yourself a favor by planning for the unexpected. Prepare healthy meals and snacks the night before so you can grab and go. Keep your diaper bag and car stocked with mommy and baby essentials. I inherently panicked when my baby had her first public diaper blowout. Yet, having a pre-prepared bag on deck (which included a spare change of clothing for myself) was a major win in my role as a new mom.

2. Ground Your Energy. While it’s important to never leave the house without moisturizer, lip gloss and mascara, self-care begins from the inside out. Create a safe place to feed your dreams and purge negative energy. Journaling is a great way to express your thoughts and release pent up emotions.

Once your baby is on somewhat of a schedule, set your alarm to wake up 30 minutes early. While this isn’t always possible, you’ll thank yourself on the days you can. During this time, meditate or pray, say your affirmations, take a shower, make your coffee, and set your intentions for the day. Find solace in simple things such as lighting a candle or taking a bath. Furthermore, getting a dose of fresh air and keeping flowers on deck does wonders for lifting your spirits.

3. Be patient with yourself. Society puts far too much pressure on new moms to snap back into shape and into our previous commitments. But jumping back into rigorous exercise or social commitments can lead to burnouts. So give yourself a year or two to settle into motherhood. We want so badly to hold onto to the woman we once were. The reality is, we’ve evolved into a new and improved life-bringing force.

With that, I still battle the anxiety that comes with measuring up to my old self. There are some days I just don’t have the energy to work out. On my hardest days, I allow caring for myself and being present for my husband and baby to be enough.

4. Learn to be your own best friend. Once the baby arrives, people forget new mamas need love too! We must learn to give ourselves the attention we seek. So affirm your strength and beauty daily. Everyone has a unique postpartum experience. Honor yours, and resist the urge to compare it. Embrace everything about the new woman you are becoming. Be honest and communicate your new limitations, and don’t be afraid to slow down and set boundaries. Saying no is really saying yes to your peace of mind. Go easy on yourself. Finally, if no one’s told you lately, sit quietly with your eyes closed and your hand over your heart and simply say, “I’m proud of you.”

Shea Edwards is a native of Richmond, VA currently living in Los Angeles, with her husband and 11 month old daughter Lulu where she enjoys swimming, thrifting, traveling and deep belly laughter. She is an ordained minister, trained actress, writer and host. Shea hopes to one day live in a quaint town with her very own rose garden and swimming pool.

This is how we’re defining success this school year

Hint: It's not related to grades.

In the ever-moving lives of parents and children, opportunities to slow down and reflect on priorities can be hard to come by. But a new school year scheduled to begin in the midst of a global pandemic offers the chance to reflect on how we should all think about measures of success. For both parents and kids, that may mean putting a fresh emphasis on optimism, creativity and curiosity.

Throughout recent decades, "school success" became entangled with "academic achievement," with cases of anxiety among school children dramatically increasing in the past few generations. Then, almost overnight, the American school system was turned on its head in the spring of 2020. As we look ahead to a new school year that will look like no year past, more is being asked of teachers, students and parents, such as acclimating to distance learning, collaborating with peers from afar and aiming to maintain consistency with schooling amidst general instability due to COVID.

Despite the inherent challenges, there is also an overdue opportunity to redefine success during the school year by finding fresh ways to keep students and their parents involved in the learning process.

"I always encourage my son to try at least one difficult thing every school year," says Arushi Garg, parenting blogger and mom of a 4-year-old. "This challenges him but also allows me to remind him to be optimistic! Lots of things in life are hard, and it's important we learn to be positive during difficult times. Fostering a sense of optimism allows kids to push beyond what they thought possible, like biking without training wheels or reading above their grade level."

Here are a few mantras to keep in mind this school year:

Quality learning matters more than quantifying learning

After focusing on standardized measures of academic success for so long, the learning environment this next school year may involve more independent, remote learning. Some parents are considering this an exciting opportunity for their children to assume a bigger role in what they are learning—and parents are also getting on board by supporting their children's education with engaging, positive learning materials like Highlights Magazine.

As a working mom, Garg also appreciates that Highlights Magazine can help engage her son while she's also working. She says, "He sits next to me and solves puzzles in the magazine or practices his writing from the workbook."

Keep an open mind as "school" looks different

Whether children are of preschool age or in the midst of high school, "going to school" is bound to look different this year. Naturally, this may require some adjustment as kids become accustomed to new guidelines. Although many parents may wish to shelter our kids from challenges, others believe optimism can be fostered through adversity when everyone is committed to adapting to new experiences.

"Honestly, I am yet to figure out when I will be comfortable sending [my son] back [to school]," says Garg. In the meantime, she's helping her son remain connected with friends who also read Highlights Magazine by encouraging the kids to talk about what they are learning on video calls.

Follow children's cues about what interests them

For Garg, her biggest hope for this school year is that her son will create "success" for himself by embracing new learning possibilities with positivity.

"Encouraging my son to try new things has given him a chance to prove that he can do anything," she says. "He takes his previous success as an example now and feels he can fail multiple times before he succeeds."

There's no denying that this school year will be far from the norm. But, perhaps, we can create a new, better way of defining our children's success in school because of it.

This article was sponsored by Highlights. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Our Partners

Products that solve your biggest breastfeeding challenges

Including a battle plan for clogged ducts!

When expecting a baby, there is a lot you can test-run in advance: Take that stroller around the block. Go for a spin with the car seat secured in place. Learn how to use the baby carrier with help from a doll. But breastfeeding? It's not exactly possible to practice before baby's arrival.

The absence of a trial makes it all the more important to prepare in other ways for breastfeeding success—and it can be as simple as adding a few of our lactation aiding favorites to your registry.

MilkBliss chocolate chip soft baked lactation cookies

MilkBliss lactation cookies

Studies have shown the top reason women stop breastfeeding within the first year is because they are concerned about their milk supply being enough to nourish baby. Consider MilkBliss Lactation Cookies to be your secret weapon. Not only are they wholesome and delicious, but they were formulated specifically for breastfeeding moms based on the science of galactagogues—also known as milk boosters. They also come in peanut butter and wild blueberry flavors.


Evereden multi-purpose healing balm

Evereden multipurpose healing balm

Also up there on the list of reasons women stop breastfeeding: the toll the early days can take on nipples. Made from just five ingredients, this all natural healing balm is ideal for soothing chafed nipples, making for a much more comfortable experience for mama as her body adjusts to the needs of a breastfeeding baby.


Lansinoh milk storage bags

Lansinoh milk storage bags

For a breastfeeding mama, there are few things more precious and valuable than the milk she worked so hard to pump—and it's the stuff of nightmares to imagine it spilling out in the fridge. With these double-sealed milk storage bags, you can be assured your breastmilk is safe and sound until baby needs it.


Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Nursing a baby is a 24/7 job, which calls for some wardrobe modifications. Because Belly Bandit specializes in making things more comfortable for the postpartum mama, they've truly thought of every detail—from the breathable fabric to the clips that can be easily opened with one hand.


boob-ease soothing therapy pillows

Boob Ease soothing therapy pillows

For nursing moms, duct can quickly become a four-letter word when you suspect it's getting clogged. By keeping these soothing breast pillows in your breastfeeding arsenal, you can immediately go on the defense against plugged milk ducts by heating the pads in the microwave or cooling them in the freezer.


Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

A unfortunate reality of nursing is that it can really seem to limit the wardrobe options when you have to think about providing easy, discrete access. But by adding functional basics to your closet, you can feel confident and prepared for breastfeeding on the go.


Bebe au Lait premium cotton nursing cover

Bebe au Lait cotton nursing cover

Nursing in public isn't every mama's cup of tea. But babies can't always wait until you've found a private place to get down to business if that's your preference. That's where a nursing cover comes in handy. This one is made from premium cotton and features a patented neckline that allows for airflow and eye contact even while you're covered.


Lactation Lab basic breastmilk testing kit

Lactation Lab breastmilk testing kit

Curious to learn more about the liquid gold you're making, mama? The testing kit from Lactation Labs analyzes your breast milk for basic nutritional content like calories and protein, as well as vitamins, fatty acids and environmental toxins to help boost your breastfeeding confidence.


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this


In Montessori schools, parents are periodically invited to observe their children at work in the classroom. I have heard many parents express shock to see their 3- or 4-year-old putting away their own work when they finish—without even being asked!

"You should see his room at home!" or, "I ask him to put his toys away every day, and it's a battle every single time" were frequent comments.

Keep reading Show less
Learn + Play