Author: Written by Abby Baker, BS
Baker studied Child Development and Family Studies at West Virginia University, she has four years’ experience working in childcare and more recently has focused on substance use. Baker is passionate about being a positive influence in others’ lives and helping them reach their goals by assisting in meeting basic needs.
We always hear, “sleep when the baby sleeps,” but what else can we do while our baby sleeps or we just aren’t tired when the baby is? We often feel as if we can do it all, alone, but the reality is… We still need to take care of ourselves. We all need support. We must fill our own cups in order to fill others’ cups, too. Self-Care comes in many forms, here are a few.
Self-Care for Parents
Most days are filled with baby cuddles, feedings, changing diapers, then before you know it, it’s 8pm and you forgot to feed yourself. Healthy foods and drinking water are good for your body, it is important to refuel, and sometimes, you just need 15 minutes to sit down and eat a meal.
- Move your body
Maybe it’s while the baby is napping, or maybe when the baby is being supervised by someone else… No matter what it is (and be sure to be cleared by your doctor first), move your body! It can be 10 minutes of meditating or yoga, or maybe even a quick walk around the block. Bonus points for getting fresh air, too.
- Support and taking control
Everyone needs support even when we hate to admit it. When help is offered by trusted adults, take it. On the other hand, visitors can also be overwhelming when bringing home a new baby. Be sure to put your mental health first, if restricting visitors is best for you, you can set boundaries.
These suggestions may not sound like much, but they can add up. Mental health and taking care of yourself is so important to your overall health. These suggestions can also help lead to the practice of self-care for your baby. Babies cannot provide their own self-care; they rely on their mom and/or caregiver to support their care.
Self-Care for babies born exposed to substances
- Medical needs
Meeting a child’s medical needs by taking them to appointments and administering proper medications are necessary. Reliable transportation and health insurance also play a factor in providing a baby’s medical needs.
- Home visiting programs
Home visiting programs are important because they can help with a wide variety of things from teaching you how to swaddle your baby to learning your child’s developmental needs to linking to more outside resources.
- Bonding and connections
Bonding with your baby and building a connection is extremely beneficial, especially in the newborn stages of life. It can later lead to creating healthy relationships with others. Bonding can come in many forms, a few are skin-to-skin contact, sing songs while making eye contact, talk in a soft, reassuring voice and respond to crying.
Overall, starting with five minutes of self-care a day can create healthy habits leading to even more self-care. As a mom or caregiver, we often think we can do it all, but the truth is… We all need support. Fill your cup, always.