How to Meet Your Needs as a New Mom

It can be difficult to adjust to life as a mom; suddenly you are responsible for the well being of another human life for twenty-four hours a day. Taking time to meet your personal needscan help make the transition to motherhood a smoother one. Think about the needs that you had before you became a parent. Some of the following tips might help you find a way to fit those needs into your new baby-centered lifestyle.

Need for Creativity

  • Keep a book next to the spot where you breastfeed most often. Read a chapter or two while baby is happily nursing.
  • If you are an artist, try doodling in a sketchbook while baby nurses. More detailed projects can be done during nap-time. Choose projects that can be worked on in small increments.
  • Crochet or knit during nap time. Baby might enjoy playing with the yarn(with supervision), while you crochet or knit, during tummy time.

Need for Rest

  • Give yourself permission to go to bed early with baby.
  • Sleeping with your baby at nighttime may help you get more sleep.
  • Nap when the baby naps. If you do not want to sleep, do quiet activities instead of trying to get all of your chores done.
  • Rest on the floor with baby while they have tummy time.

Need for Exercise

  • Go for long, or short, walks with baby in a carrier or sling.
  • Exercise with yoga videos while baby is playing on the floor. You can also wear your baby in a wrap-style carrier while you do yoga.
  • Put on some music and dance with your baby.

Need for Affection and Intimacy

  • Go for a walk together; hold hands and talk with your partner while your baby is in a carrier.
  • Have short 20 minute dates while your baby naps – enjoy a candlelit desert or snuggle on the couch and watch a movie in segments.
  • Ask your partner to rub your shoulders or feet while your baby nurses.
  • Put some music on and slow dance with your partner and your baby.
  • Express your desire for more affection. Your partner may not know just how much you need a hug after a long day.

Need for Community

  • Get involved with a local moms group.
  • Attend your local La Leche League Meeting.
  • Invite friends over for play dates.
  • Check out my article, Building a Support Network, for tips on finding other mothers in your area.

Need for Nourishment

  • Stick to foods that you can eat with one hand for the first several weeks.
  • Keep easy to grab foods, such as granola bars, near your nursing station.
  • Keep a water bottle near your nursing spot, thirst can come on very quickly when you begin to breastfeed.
  • Make a double batch of food for dinner so that you have healthy leftovers for lunch the next day.
  • Ask your partner to make you a sandwich in the morning(for lunch later) while they are packing their lunch for the day.
  • Chop fruits and vegetables into bite size pieces when you get home from the store and store them in containers in the refrigerator for easy to grab snacks.

Need for Personal Cleanliness

  • Take a bath with your baby, this is a great opportunity for skin-to-skin contact.
  • Shower in the evening when your partner is home, showers can be a nice little break and provide some you-time.
  • Get an easy to manage hair cut.
  • Shower with the door/curtain open while baby is nearby in a bouncy chair.
  • Set a timer on your phone to remind you to brush your teeth, sometimes it is hard to remember when you are not headed out the door at the same time every day.

Need for Household Cleanliness

  • Decide which chores need to be done and lower your standards for the rest.
  • Do chores while your baby is in a carrier.
  • Communicate with your partner, they may need to be in charge of dinner and dishes for a few months.
  • Recognize that your house will not be the same as it was before you had your baby, this is okay!

The newest addition to your family does not mean that you suddenly became someone without interests, hobbies, and personal standards for comfort. Finding a way to honor and respect the needs that you have as an individual will help you adapt to motherhood a little more easily.

Hope that helped!