Author Liz Swenson shares her ten tips and tricks for new moms to practice self-love because you can’t pour from an empty cup!
Liz’s book You Got This, Mama! is the ultimate guide for new moms full of tips, advice, and encouragement. It’s the book sure to help you through your baby’s first year and it’s available now. Read along for ten easy self-love practices.
Cut yourself some slack.
Give yourself all the slack in all the ways. Dishes aren’t done; okay. Breastfeeding is not as natural as you imagined; that’s okay too. You can’t remember when you last showered and you have been wearing the same set of PJs for three days; totally fine. You are knee-deep in one of life’s most transformational moments and transformation is not easy. Especially while you are out-of-your-mind sleep-deprived, coursing with hormones, and trying to keep a tiny human alive. You are doing amazing.
Ask for help.
Remember that pile of dishes? Ask someone else to do them! Seriously. Need a few things from the store? Ask a neighbor to help. Experts are here to help you too. Your doctor is a baby expert and has probably come across whatever your most recent fear or curiosity is; reach out and ask for advice. Lactation consultants are experts in breastfeeding and can help when it’s hard. Your OBGYN is an expert in women and mental health if you don’t feel okay. This is the moment to lean on your resources. You do not have to do this alone.
Drink tons of water.
Strategically place giant sippy cups where you are nursing to help when you get that sudden intense thirst.
Bonus points: Show yourself a little extra love and make it fun and fancy by throwing in a lemon or cucumber slice.
Try a nursing/feeding meditation.
This is one of my favorite meditations during a nursing or feeding session. It is super grounding and will always bring joy to your heart:
Close your eyes and breathe in through your nose for three counts. Hold for three counts. Breathe out through your mouth for the counts.
Repeat three times.
Now open your eyes and let your eyes take in your beautiful baby. Their tiny nose, little fingers, and chubby cheeks. Really focus on all the details you are seeing. Now, listen to what you are hearing, the suckling noises your baby is making, the lull of the washing machine in the background. Try to hear everything. At the same time, breathe in through your nose and take in all the smells. Maybe you can smell your baby, the milk, maybe the lingering smell of breakfast.
Last, feel the weight of your baby in your arms, become aware of the texture of the fabric of their onesie, the feel of their skin.
Hopefully, this will have you feeling very peaceful and present.
Get out in nature.
Being in nature, even for ten minutes, can be incredibly soothing to our nervous system. Especially as a new mom, it is easy to get cooped up in your home. One of my favorite parts of my day with my newborn was a daily neighborhood walk. I would strap my baby on my chest and try to find as many trees as I could nearby. It may feel like an output of effort, but the restorative benefits are worth it.
Splurge on nice loungewear.
Turns out life with a newborn includes a lot of time spent in PJs or loungewear. Do yourself a favor and splurge on something that makes you feel more like a human and less like a garbage bag. You deserve it!
When you finally get to take one of those glorious showers you used to take for granted, get the most out of it by doing a quick meditation. I start by dripping three drops of an uplifting essential oil where the water hits the ground. As the lovely smell rises up, inhale deeply through your nose and then let out the air through your mouth with an audible, “ahhhhhh.” Repeat two more times, paying attention to the way the air feels as it passes through your nostrils. Once you have finished your breaths, take a moment to set an intention for what you want from your day.
I normally have the intention to stay present this day or stay grounded in love. It can be whatever you would like your day to look like. Your showers will feel extra restorative if this becomes a practice.
Celebrate any and all wins. Smaller the better.
Got a shower today? Look at you!
Snuck in a nap? Get it girl!
Made yourself lunch? Impressive.
Celebrate yourself and all of the small accomplishments throughout the day.
You can care for your baby best when you have your needs met and are well.
This is a very hard one for new moms. You actually forget that you have any needs at all. When our kiddos were newborns, my very wise husband often asked, “When have you last eaten?” Because I forgot to eat, didn’t have time to shower, and couldn’t imagine taking the time to do something that let me relax. But this will catch up with you, and you just can’t be the mom you want to be if you don’t care for yourself. Your needs are just as important as your baby and, in fact, should be prioritized because your baby needs you to be okay.
Gratitude is a gamechanger, especially for the worry-filled restless mind of a new mama. When I was too anxious to sleep at night, I started listing things I was grateful for and I was able to fall asleep. If you are new to gratitude, I would recommend writing down ten to fifteen things you are grateful for each day. These can be very simple.
I am grateful for toilets and working plumbing.
I am grateful that I have a bed.
I am grateful that cheese exists.
Whatever pops in your head, write that down. This can be transformational for your mood and perspective.