How To Make Time For Yourself as a New Mum
When we're caught up in the mad rush of new parenthood, everything seems to be about the bub. Clearly, your baby is important, and at a time when most of us don't know what we're doing, it's a relief that the focus seems to be on people helping you to keep your baby alive. But what about you? Sometimes even well-meaning advice can be conflicting and confusing, leaving you even more stressed...and the last thing you're thinking about is yourself. &Breathe's founder Clio Wood, remembers exactly how she felt in the the postnatal period and she shares her advice here.
In the chaos of those early weeks and months (heck, years!) it can feel impossible to find time for yourself, or to focus on your own wellbeing. But it's crucial to think about you in there. If you don't take time for yourself, how can you be the best parent to your little one? No-one's nice to be around when they're sleep deprived, stressed and full of junk food (because we do know that's often the easiest thing to eat when you've got a baby glued to you). Self-care really does rock, and you can't drink from an empty cup, so what do you do when it feels like your drowning? How can you make sure you're at your OptiMUM? Here's &Breathe's Selfcare 101.
Feeling Fit and Healthy
When you're ready to start exercising again, it can feel like a tough mountain to climb. But the endorphins and the feeling of being back in charge of your own body (at least for some of the time) are definitely worth it! Make sure you follow a specific postnatal programme or get expert advice from a trained professional, like our Head PT, Caroline Bragg, so that you're not doing more harm than good. Remember that your body has just been through the workout of a lifetime with your pregnancy and birth (with or without intervention) so making sure you are looking after your abs and your pelvic floor, as well as strengthening and stretching all the muscles that are worked the most with a little baby in tow!
Your Pelvic Floor
Whether your baby entered this world through your vagina or not, your pelvic floor can take a battering through pregnancy and childbirth. Though we all make jokes about incontinence, it's really no laughing matter if you're living it and more often than not, it doesn't have to be like that! Pelvic floor issues can affect your loo habits, having fun and your sex life & relationship, so it's important to get it sorted out. Don't suffer in silence! Our Resident Expert Women's Health Physio, Amanda Savage, has been a life-saver to hundreds of women, and we'll get the lowdown on how you can make life better for everyone down there.
Your Mental Health
Post-baby, life can feel like one big juggling act. We act as if we can deal with it all (baby, home life, relationship, work) even when we can't. We juggle a basket of different balls, whilst not really being sure what we're doing with any of them. And we put a brave face on it to the world both in real life and on social media. Sometimes you need to stop and smell the flowers, both literally and figuratively, to release any tension and stress you're carrying in your oh-so-busy head. Take 5 minutes per day, to just breathe. Or check out our series of guided meditations and exercises, specially designed by Olivia Horne for our frantic parent brains!
Biscuits are easy to eat one-handed and oh-so-delicious! But sadly not the best choice for long-term nutrition. So how do you climb out of your easy-eating rut when you're too tired to see straight? Start with simple but nutritious soups and low-GI bread for balanced but easy meals. They're also super easy to batch-cook and heat up throughout the week - winning all round! Nutrition for your recovering body, especially if you're breastfeeding, is so important but so easy to neglect. We'll be sharing our top tips for healthy snacks and easy meals with the help of our Resident Nutritionist so you can get out of your rut in gourmet style.
And how do you finally relax with baby in tow? It seems impossible, doesn't it? The unlikely key is planning. The best thing you can do is get some childcare, even for an hour or two, so you can stop worrying about baby whilst you make time for yourself. Studies show that women keep far more in their heads than men do, so removing just one of those items for an hour of selfcare is really beneficial. Learn how to make the most of your me time with the ultimate run-down in How to Relax from someone who knows, Clio herself.
Over the next few weeks we'll be expanding on each of these topics and bringing you expert advice from &Breathe's specialists, and old hands at making time for selfcare.
&Breathe Postnatal runs family wellbeing retreats and events in France and the UK, helping new parents get fit, eat well and feel good, with little ones in tow. Come up for air.