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5 Easy Self-Care Rituals for New Parents

Couple lying on the floor playing with their baby.
Flamingo Images/Shutterstock

A new baby is simultaneously one of the greatest and most exhausting life changes. Here are five simple ways to take care of yourself and stay sane.

Taking care of a newborn is a wonderful, exhilarating, and fulfilling experience, but it’s also demanding, challenging, and downright exhausting. It’s hard to carve out some much-needed self-care time amidst middle-of-the-night feedings, constant diaper changes, and calming a fussy baby. But don’t worry, we’ve got five easy ways to recharge and restore yourself, even amidst the chaos of caring for a newborn.

Take a Hot Shower or Bath Every Day

When you have a baby, the hours can blend into a blur. You might find yourself weary-eyed and sweaty, wondering when you last showered. If you put showering at the top of your priority list, not only will it leave you feeling refreshed, but it’ll give you a sense of normalcy and routine.

There are several ways you can carve out some time for a bath when you’re the main caregiver for your baby. When your baby is asleep in a safe place, take the baby monitor in the bathroom with you and turn it up loud, so you can hear if she wakes up.

If a friend visits, let her play and bond with the baby while you soak in the tub. You can also take a bath with baby secure in a swing or bouncer next to the tub so you can see him at all times.

Drink Enough Fluids

Hydration is almost always the answer to everything, right? But here, it’s really important.

Because you’re hyper-focused on making sure your baby is fed, changed, well-rested, entertained, etc., you tend to forget about your own needs.

Every new parent—dad included—needs to maintain the basics. Dehydration can cause headaches or make you feel tired and grumpy. If you’re breastfeeding, it’s even more important to keep up with your fluid intake.

Fill up reusable water bottles and set them around the house, so one is always handy. Stock your fridge with fun drinks, like flavored sparkling waters, coconut water, smoothies, or whatever grabs your fancy. This encourages you to keep up your fluid intake.

Take Breathing, Meditation, and Exercise Breaks

Woman doing yoga with a baby on the mat.
Evgeny Atanmanenko/Shutterstock

As your world revolves around your little one, it’s hard to imagine how to carve out any time to work out or meditate. However, a little bit goes a long way.

There are plenty of YouTube videos with quick, 5-minute workouts you can do right beside your baby.

You can do deep breathing any time, and it can be particularly helpful when your baby decides to go on a long crying spree. There are also some great meditation apps made specifically for new parents. You can do these when baby is taking a nap or playing nearby with her toys.

Another way to restore and rejuvenate yourself is to get outside. Take your little one for a walk or invest in a jogging stroller if you want to go for a run.

Indulge in a Book, TV Show, or Podcast

You can easily sit on the couch and read a few pages of an enthralling book while your child is happily cooing in his baby swing.

If your baby nurses for long sessions, use headphones to watch your favorite show on your phone and avoid distracting her. She might even fall asleep, so you can actually finish the whole episode! This is also a great time to listen to podcasts or audiobooks.

Don’t feel guilty about indulging in these simple pleasures. Sure, you might have to neglect some chores or fall behind on emails to work in some relaxation time, but who cares? Life won’t always be this demanding and full. Take some time to do whatever makes you feel sane and whole.

Sleep When Your Baby Does

You’ve probably heard this one a lot, but it’s popular because it’s true.

As a new parent, you want everything to be perfect. You want your baby to be happy, healthy, and fulfilled. However, now is not the time to keep a perfect house. If the mess is stressing you out, think about hiring some help, or recruit your friends or family members to do a few chores.

Try your best to set all the “to-do” items aside when your baby nods off into a solid nap. You can restore a lot of your energy, stamina, and well-being if you take a power nap—even if it’s just for 30 minutes.

The more rested you are, the more manageable and enjoyable your new parenting gig will be.

Taking care of a newborn is demanding and exhausting, but it’s also a very fulfilling and special time.

The more time you can carve out for yourself, the more equipped you’ll be to handle crying fits, late-night wake-ups, and anything else thrown your way. And don’t worry—it won’t be this hard forever. Eventually, you’ll have time to binge-watch that new show on Netflix.

Jill A. Chafin Jill A. Chafin
Jill A. Chafin is a freelance writer, aerialist, dancer, food enthusiast, outdoor adventurer, and mama, based in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Read Full Bio »
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