If you’ve recently become a mother, you’ll know that finding time for yourself, let alone time to do anything aside from looking after your little one, is a challenge. Simple things like taking a shower or going to the bathroom must be carefully coordinated.
As mothers, we’re often so preoccupied with our newborns that we neglect ourselves and our needs. However, it’s crucial that you look after yourself, not only for your own wellbeing but your baby's wellbeing too. Babies are like little sponges and are influenced by the moods and behaviours around them.
The University of Cambridge conducted research which found that mothers’ and babies’ brains ‘more in tune’ when the mother is happy. When a mother expresses more positive emotions, her brain becomes much more strongly connected with her baby’s brain.
Dr Vicky Leong, who led the study says, “From our previous work, we know that when the neural connection between mothers and babies is strong, babies are more receptive and ready to learn from their mothers. At this stage of life, the baby brain has the ability to change significantly, and these changes are driven by the baby’s experiences. By using a positive emotional tone during social interactions, parents can connect better with their infants, and stimulate development of their baby’s mental capacity.”
Even if time seems elusive right now, prioritising yourself and your wellbeing. Is crucial. Below are a few suggestions:
1. Ask for help
Some days, you're completely run off your feet and don't get the chance to stop for even five minutes. Ask your spouse or partner, a friend, a family member or even your neighbour for help. Maybe you just need a break for thirty minutes, or you need help running an errand.
Although many people find it hard to ask for help, there's absolutely no shame in asking for help. In fact, the opposite is true. As one article shares, humans are wired to want to give help. Moreover, helping feels rewarding because we like to be supportive and connect with others.
2. Eat well
One of the first things we neglect when we're busy attending to our newborn is our diet or eating habits. We either eat foods with little nutritional value or skip meals entirely. Eating well is important because it gives us the energy and nutrition needed.
Today there are plenty of companies offering frozen, nutritious ready-made meals delivered to your door, which you can warm in the oven or microwave. Another tip is to make extras to freeze and eat another day whenever you're cooking meals. Soups and casseroles are ideal for freezing.
3. Get outside and breathe fresh air
Now that it's spring and the weather is nicer, there are more opportunities to be outside. So put your baby in the stroller and take a long walk. Being outside, surrounded by nature and getting some fresh air can do wonders for your wellbeing, lowering your blood pressure and heart rate and helping you destress while giving you more energy.
A study published in the International Journal of Environmental Health Research found that visiting a park for as little as 20 minutes improved participants’ subjective well-being.
4. Organise a playdate
Team up with friends or other parents with young babies or children and organise a playdate. Playdates could be at a friend’s house, a local park, a play centre or anywhere else that’s safe for babies and small children. One hour is usually plenty of time for a baby playdate.
Playdates are social events for both babies and adults. While playdates are fun for children, they're also beneficial for adults, offering parents the chance to be social with other grown-ups. Parents can take turns hosting playdates.
5. Get a dose of vitamin D
In spring, with longer, sunnier days, you can get a natural dose of vitamin D. In addition to supporting the immune system, the NHS writes that vitamin D helps regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body, which are needed to keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy.
UK government advice suggests that everyone should consider taking a daily vitamin D supplement during the autumn and winter. Additionally, they advise that people at high risk of not getting enough vitamin D, children aged between 1 and 4, and all babies should take a daily supplement throughout the year.
BioGaia’s award-winning Protectis baby drops with vitamin D is a 2-in-1 dietary supplement with probiotic bacteria and vitamin D. Vitamin D contributes to the normal functioning of the immune system and is needed for normal growth and development of bone in children.
As always, it is important to maintain a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle, and food supplements should not be used as a substitute for a varied diet.
6. Sleep whenever you get the chance
Finally, your little one has fallen asleep. Hallelujah – you have an hour or two to yourself! Yet it’s easy to see this time as a window to get everything done, such as cleaning the house and doing the washing. However, what your body really needs is sleep. So, whenever your baby is sleeping, take the opportunity to take a nap and catch up on your sleep. Just an hour of sleep during the day can give you a much-needed boost of energy.
7. Organise home help
When you’re busy looking after your baby, understandably things fall to the wayside. So, in line with asking for help (see point one above), if possible, make your life easier and explore local home cleaning services or ask your best friend, sibling or cousin for help with dinner, cleaning or doing the dishes. Getting help with household chores every now and then can make a big difference.
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