As doulas we are always making the recommendation to take time for self care, but what does this really mean when you have a new baby and someone mentions alone time, they may as well be suggesting you cut your heart out.
You have just carried this child in your body for nine months, so the fact that it doesn’t feel natural for you to just take time away is totally natural. The flip side of this is that there are many benefits to ‘me time’.
What are some ways you can begin building that much important alone time habit?
- Start small and set tiny goals. Having the goal to shower everyday may seem silly, but to a new mom this could be tough. Your first few showers with baby out of the room may be the fastest showers of your life. That’s okay! Have your partner or someone you trust stay in the bathroom for the first few times if this will set your mind at ease. Each time it will become easier and one day you may eventually graduate to a bath. 🙂
- Get outside and unplug. Walk for 20 minutes each day. This can seem like a crazy amount of time for a new mom. Start with a few minutes around your neighborhood. When you are ready, add an extra minute, until you have worked up to walking 10 minutes away from home and back. The trick is to leave your phone at home. I know, I know, but this is the important part because you need time to disconnect. Use this time to look around, take in the air and recharge.
- Have someone you trust come over for a few hours every day. This is preferably someone with a lot of baby experience that you feel comfortable with. This could be your partner, a family member, friend or a postpartum doula. The great thing about hiring a postpartum doula is that you don’t have to feel guilty letting them take care of baby while you do something small for yourself.
Not ready to be totally away from baby yet? Do something with baby in the room while baby sleeps.
- Read a book
- Colour in a colouring book
- Paint your nails
- Make a HOT cup of tea or coffee
- Take a bath with baby sleeping in a bassinet in the bathroom
- Take a walk with baby
- Go to the movies with baby
Use the above suggestions while still working towards little bits of time away from baby. Over time you will find that is does become easier and you will start to feel those benefits everyone is talking about.