This is a guest post by Anita Brayer. She has some tips for new mothers which I'm happy to share with you.
The day your first child is born, your whole world changes. Your newest and biggest priority is now your new bundle of joy. You get thrown into a whole new world called child-rearing. Your days revolve around your baby, and you get very little time to yourself.
Let’s be honest here: it can be incredibly easy for a new mother to spiral into depression due to all the changes happening in her life. Because a baby requires such a large amount of attention, a new mother has a hard time finding that “me” time that she really needs.
Don’t let that happen to you! We’re here to help you find some balance as a new mother. Check out the following 6 dos and don'ts:
DO keep a schedule.
A daily feeding and sleep schedule can be very helpful because it allows you to somewhat plan out your days. Your baby should settle into it and start getting hungry or tired at the same time every day. There is some evidence that babies kept on a daily schedule are more likely to sleep through the night than babies who aren’t. However, be sure to allow for flexibility, if your schedule is too rigid then you’re just setting yourself up for disappointment. Instead of scheduling your baby’s nap for 3:30 in the afternoon, just establish a time frame, such as 2:00 – 4:00 in the afternoon. This allows for your baby to fall asleep when he’s tired, not when the clock says so.
DON’T isolate yourself.
If you spend all your time tending to your baby without spending time with other adults, you may find social interactions difficult. You need some adult interaction in your life that’s not centered around your baby. Grab a coffee with some girlfriends! Join a knitting circle. Meet up with a coworker. Spend an hour chatting with your relatives on the phone. When you set aside some time for other people, try not to revolve your entire conversation around your baby. As much as you love your little one, you deserve a break from her once in a while.
DO politely tell unsolicited advisers to mind their own business.
With motherhood comes unsolicited advice. Tons and tons of it. Your mother, your mother-in-law, your friends, your co-workers, and even the grocery store clerk will try to tell you how to raise your baby. Most of the time they are well-meaning, but some might even judge the parenting methods you’ve adopted. Whenever someone tries to give you unsolicited advice on raising your child, just say, “Thank you for your advice, but I’m finding my own way as a mother.” Soon enough, people will learn not to offer you advice or opinions on child-rearing unless you ask for help.
DON’T create a quiet environment when your baby sleeps.
When your baby was growing in your uterus, he could hear everything – the washing machine, the T.V., or traffic, for instance – so he is used to hearing loud noises while resting. If you constantly whisper and tip-toe around the house when your baby’s sleeping, your baby will become so accustomed to a super quiet environment that he could wake up at the slightest possible sound. Sleep deprivation produces a cranky baby… and a cranky mother! Don’t be afraid to run the dishwasher, watch T.V. at normal volume, or clickety-clack around the house in your high heels during your baby’s naptime. Your baby might have some trouble falling asleep at first, but s/he will eventually get used to it and sleep soundly even if you have loud company over.
DO pamper yourself on a regular basis.
You may be a new mother, but you still have needs. Don’t ignore them! You are not abandoning your baby if you drop him off at your mother-in-law’s house for a couple of hours so you could go clothes shopping, get a massage, or have your nails done. Don’t feel guilty; instead, focus on relaxing for a few hours because you deserve it more than anybody else does. If you can’t afford to go out and treat yourself on a regular basis, you can even pamper yourself at home. Have someone watch your baby for an hour or two while you take a hot bath, do your hair and put makeup on. Being a mother is a very demanding full time job. You deserve to have some “me” time! Want some inspiration? Click here for my favourite makeup selection, and here for some fabulous nails.
DON’T compete with other mothers.
You’d be surprised at how competitive some mothers can be. It can be quite easy to get drawn into the comparison game. Is your baby sleeping through the night? How long does she nap for? Is he crawling yet? Try and remember that every baby is different, they all have their strengths and weaknesses, some are good sleepers, some aren't and it isn't a reflection on the job you are doing as a mother.
Hopefully this post helps you realise that not only is it okay, but it is very important for you to find some your much needed 'me' time. Go on, treat yourself!
Anita is professional writer currently writing on behalf of Macys and Higherclick.com.