Self-Care for Parents and Babies

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. 

Family morning exercise. Mother doing plank, father holding their baby on her back, including child in activity.

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 

  1. Eat 

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. 

  1. 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. 

  1. 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 

  1. 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. 

  1. 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.  

  1. 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. 

Resources: 

Bonding With Your Baby (for Parents) – Nemours KidsHealth 

WV Birth to Three – Early Intervention – Home page (wvdhhr.org) 

West Virginia Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) | Benefits.gov 

Quick Tip:

Sign up for a Home Visiting Program! These programs are so helpful to new moms! They can help get you things that you need and teach you tricks on being a new mom and raising your baby. These programs will come right to your home and don’t worry, they do not judge you about ANYTHING and are just there for support! Click here to sign up

Get Connected

Being a new mom is much easier, when you have a group of other new moms who you can reach out to with questions and for support!

You are not alone!

4th Trimester Project

Did you know that there is a Facebook group for Mothers on MAT?

IMPACT does not participate or endorse this group and is only sharing as a resource

Posted in NAS