Becoming a parent is a joyous and momentous occasion. It is a moment in time which completely turns your life upside down and transforms your world.
Ultimately, for most new parents, when your first baby arrives you’re entering the unknown – you’re learning about your baby whilst discovering a new you. Every day is a school day, and it’s a job which you’re required to do 24 hours a day.
As a result, it can be difficult to carve out time to care for yourself. In fact it can often feel impossible to even have a moment to think about your needs. However, it is vitally important that parents have some down time too, to ensure that they are able to reset and recharge, especially after all those sleepless nights!
Whether you have a new born, a six month old or even a toddler, each stage of your baby’s life will bring its own challenges. From learning to crawl on their baby playmat and weaning on to solids, through to toddling around the living room, time passes so quickly and all too often it can catch up with you.
As experts in all things babies and playmats, we know how difficult it can be to take time for yourself. In this blog post we’ll be exploring some top tips which mums and dads can implement in order to ensure they take care of themselves at every stage of their babies development.
The new born stage, or the fourth trimester, is often the most challenging period for new mums and dads.
Suddenly you have this little bundle of joy which you’re utterly besotted by, but at the same time you’re totally sleep deprived, cleaning and sterilising endless bottles and still recovering from the birth. This period, particularly for mums, can be very difficult and as a result its imperative that new mums are looked after.
- Don’t worry about the housework
You may find you have lots of visitors arriving to see the baby, but don’t feel like your house needs to look like a show home. It doesn’t matter if you’ve not hoovered, put a wash on, or if you washing up hasn’t been done. Nobody will care! They’re here to see you and the baby after all… In fact, if you’re having visitors, give them some jobs to do. People don’t mind helping out, so if they can pick up one of the chores it could really support your recovery.
- Its okay to say no
Speaking of visitors, its only natural that friends and family will want to meet your new baby. But if it is getting too much, its okay to refuse visitors. Its important that you find the time to rest during the early weeks when you can, and having an endless line of people through the door can be extremely tiring and stressful.
- Speak to your partner
Often mums try to do it all – but as you’re adjusting to a new life with a baby you may find you’re struggling to do everything that you used to do. It can even feel impossible to do simple tasks such as taking a shower or washing your hair.
That’s why it’s important to speak to your partner and make sure that they muck in. From ensuring you have three meals a day, to running you a bath, there are lots of simple things your partner can do to ensure that you’re looked after.
By the time your baby is six months old, they would have reached a few major milestones. They may be sitting up unaided on their playmat, some of their first teeth may have appeared, and you’ve probably started on their weaning journey. You may find that you’re getting the hang of looking after baby and you’re starting to get into a really good routine.
This is a great time to implement even more aspects to help take care of you.
- Create a safe and secure play space
You baby is now at an age where they can independently play with their toys. They will start to pick and choose what they want to interact with and they will soon discover their favourite books, cuddly toys, rattles and teethers.
By creating a safe and secure play space, with its own playmat, you can enable your baby to enjoy some independent play while you take a moment to relax with a cup of tea of coffee on the sofa.
You should never leave your baby unattended, however if you have a secure play area you can allow your baby to independently explore and play, whilst you are in the same room and keeping a watchful eye on them.
- Ask someone to babysit
By this age, your baby is likely to be more comfortable being left with someone familiar if you want to have some retail therapy, hit the gym, have a hair appointment, or simply want a few hours with friends.
Whether it’s your partner, a family member or even a friend, its likely they’ll jump at the chance of having some one on one time with your little one – don’t be afraid to ask and certainly don’t feel guilty!
Either invite your chosen babysitter to come to your house, or pack a bag with the essentials, including their playmat, favourite toys and nappies. Although it could be a little nerve wracking the first time you leave them, you’ll probably find that they have a whale of a time – whilst you have some much needed me-time.
You may find that there are a few tears at first as your little one adjusts to you not being around. Ensure that your chosen babysitter is comfortable carrying out all the necessary activities with your little one, for example show them how to engage and entertain your baby on their playmat, plus make sure they’re fully aware of your baby’s routine including naps and mealtimes. This can help make the experience much smoother for your baby and the babysitter.
If your baby is starting to sleep through the night, you may even want to consider a sleepover with a grandparent. Around eight to nine months could be the perfect time to introduce a sleepover – hopefully they won’t keep nan or grandad up too much during the night and you can enjoy a peaceful night’s sleep.
From the age of around one, your little one will be entering their toddler phase. They’re probably starting to say their first words, they’re likely to be on the move, plus they’ll be transitioning off milk completely.
You may start to feel like you have a little more time to look after yourself now, and if you haven’t already done so, you should certainly try to implement as many of the ideas above as you can.
- Returning to work
You may have returned to work by this stage – adding another level of responsibility to your day to day life. This is why its as important as ever to ensure that you continue to look after yourself. Try to make life as easy as possible for yourself, particularly if you have had a busy day at work. Don’t feel like you have to cook a massive meal when you get home – its okay to stick a nice ready meal in the oven from time to time. Plus if you have a freezer stash of batch cooking, why not have one of those for tea?
- Schedule in ‘me-time’
We recommend scheduling in some ‘me-time’ on a regular basis. Whether this is when your little one is at nursery or being looked after by a babysitter, or when your toddler is having their morning nap, don’t fill your free time with chores. If you have a spare hour or two, why not sit back and relax with a Netflix series, run yourself a bath or take some time for a yoga practice. You’ll be amazed at how beneficial it can be to your mood and wellbeing.