When a baby is born, so is a mother-Embracing new motherhood with self-care

The importance of self-care

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“When a baby is born, so is a mother”

Becoming a parent is a wonderful experience but it is also a time of adjustment. You may find that you have less time to look after yourself and that you are having to meet new challenges every day. It will take time to adjust into your new role and learn about your new baby. It can be useful to keep the following ideas in mind;

You are the best parent for your baby.

You are getting to know a new person in your life.

You have been through an incredible physical and emotion experience.

You are learning on the job (with not much sleep!)

No amount of preparation can ever prepare you for how it feels to be responsible for your baby and take on the role of parent.

There is no such thing as the “perfect parent” and it is important to accept and embrace your own unique parenting style and celebrate all your talents and abilities.

Common issues for new parents

If you are feeling a little overwhelmed by parenthood, it may be reassuring to know that many parents experience the following issues;

• Tiredness and lack of energy

• Lack of structure in the day (and night!)

• Lack of confidence in parenting ability and confusion resulting from conflicting advice. • Changing hormone levels effecting emotional states.

• Adjusting to the role of carer with less time for existing responsibilities and interests.

• Concerns over baby’s health/weight/sleeping/feeding patterns.

• Bonding issues

Remember bonding is a process rather than an event and that you and your baby are designed to bond with each other after birth. You can enhance the bond with your baby at any time through communication, touch, eye contact and by feeling relaxing together. Positive touch and body contact is very important in increasing the bond between you and your baby. If you do not feel you have bonded with your baby yet, there is plenty of time to develop the bond between you. Studies show that not everyone falls in love at first sight with their baby; after an initial wave of maternal feelings, they can subside and then remerge around 6 weeks. Remember that for many people bonding with their child is a journey.

What you can do to help adjust to motherhood

1.Make time for yourself everyday-Keep your identity. What makes you happy? Make time to spend time with your partner, friends and family.Give yourself something to look forward to every day-Meeting a friend, having bath time fun with baby.

2.Keep a diary charting your progress and successes.

3.Ask for, and accept help if you need it.

4.Celebrate your strengths and what a wonderful baby you have.

5.Meet other parents going through similar experiences.

6.Get some rest whenever you can and don’t worry about housework in the early days.

7.Indulge in simple pleasures-go for a walk with baby, a cuddle and a cup of tea.

8.Accept that your life has changed and that you are embarking on an exciting new phase. What are your new goals?

9.Adjust to the pace of motherhood-babies don’t understand time. It may take a while for baby to sleep/feed well.Look after yourself by eating a well balanced diet, taking gentle exercise such as a walk with the pram to help boost endorphins.

10.Remember you are doing the best you can right now.

Finding Relaxation Time

It is very important in our busy lives to find some relaxation time. Practicing active relaxation is when you participate in an activity which can help bring down levels of cortisol (a stress hormone) in your body and promote the release of endorphins (feel good hormones). The end result of active relaxation is a feeling of enhanced wellbeing, increased energy and positivity. If the body and mind does not actively relax, levels of stress hormones can rise and the body and mind begin to experience the symptoms of stress such as muscular tension, stomach upsets, headaches, skin problems, and fatigue. Although nice to do, active relaxation is not:

• Lying on the sofa
• Doing nothing
• Putting your feet up and watching TV

Active relaxation is a practice which is exclusively devoted to the aim of relaxing your body and mind. To find the best way to actively relax, you need to think about what you most enjoy. If you are an active person or someone who enjoys social interaction then a tai chi or yoga class may be a good option for you. If you prefer activities you can do on your own or at home, then meditation, self hypnosis or affirmations could be more appropriate. To obtain the full benefits of active relaxation techniques it is a good idea to find a regular time during the day where you can practice them.Below are a few simple exercises which may help you relax and release tension.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation Exercise

This exercise helps you focus on relaxing each area of your body fully:

  • Loosen your clothing, take off your shoes, and get comfortable.
  • Take a few minutes to relax, breathing in and out in slow, deep breaths.
  • When you’re relaxed and ready to start, shift your attention to your right foot. Take a moment to focus on the way it feels.
  • Slowly tense the muscles in your right foot, squeezing as tightly as you can. Hold for a count of 10.
  • Relax your right foot. Focus on the tension flowing away and the way your foot feels as it becomes limp and loose.
  • Stay in this relaxed state for a moment, breathing deeply and slowly.
  • When you’re ready, shift your attention to your left foot. Follow the same sequence of muscle tension and release.
  • Move slowly up through your body — legs, abdomen, back, neck, face — contracting and relaxing the muscle groups as you go.

    Breathing Techniques

    The power of the breath to control our emotions and physical wellbeing is amazing and often under rated.The key to deep breathing is to breathe deeply from the abdomen, getting as much fresh air as possible in your lungs. When you take deep breaths from the abdomen, rather than shallow breaths from your upper chest, you inhale more oxygen. The more oxygen you get, the less tense, short of breath, and anxious you feel.So the next time you feel stressed, take a minute to slow down and breathe deeply:

Originally published at www.blossomandberry.com

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