You spent months preparing to welcome your newborn, ensuring that your baby would be safe, healthy, and loved. But who’s been taking care of you, Mama? Despite enduring pregnancy, delivery, sleep deprivation, and wild hormonal swings, you’re expected to devote yourself to a helpless infant 24/7 without missing a beat. Good luck with that!

In the throes of new motherhood, tending to your own needs might sound impossible, but it’s absolutely essential to your mental and physical wellbeing. Here are 13 ways to practice postpartum self-care—and even treat yourself a little—when you need it most:

Invest in comfy loungewear you love.

After giving birth, the last thing you need is to force your tired, achy body into fitted clothing. Instead, plan on spending your days in furry socks, soft jammies and snuggly loungewear that's cozy enough to sleep in, yet is still chic and super flattering, so you can feel like your best self when you do venture out.

Make a mood-boosting playlist.

Help ride out the baby blues with your favorite feel-good songs, all cued up and ready to go. Include some sing-along songs to share with your baby—they’ll love it!

Say yes to help.

You may not feel like receiving tons of visitors, but make sure to open the door to genuinely helpful friends and family members bringing home-cooked meals or offering to cuddle your babe while you shower or nap. (Here are a few tasks to consider delegating!) It takes a village!

Consider a postpartum doula.

If your extended family’s not local (or even if they are), your village might need to include a professional. Some moms engage a night nurse for a few weeks, allowing them to catch up on sleep. A postpartum doula goes a step further, helping to care for you—the mom—while assisting with your baby. This might include light chores, errands, bathing and changing baby, and breastfeeding support.

Outsource the housekeeping.

Hire someone to help with laundry and cleaning, at least for the first few months. That way you’re not wasting precious free time scrubbing the sink when you could be resting, relaxing, or connecting with your partner.

Have your meals delivered.

Now is not the time to be a martyr and try to do everything yourself. Food delivery apps like Postmates, Grubhub, Door Dash and Instacart can be lifesavers during the newborn phase. Some moms swear by meal kit services such as Hello Fresh or Blue Apron. Then there’s Meal Train, which schedules friends and neighbors who’d like to drop off dinners for your family. You can specify dietary preferences and favorites so nothing goes to waste. 

Walk with your baby.

Leaving the house with your baby for the first time can be overwhelming, but the more you do it, the easier it gets. There’s nothing better for Mama than some fresh air and gentle movement…and your baby will likely enjoy it too. Window-shop, grab a smoothie, and soak in that Vitamin D—it’s a mood booster!

Do tummy time together.

While your baby practices lifting their head, slip in a few gentle yoga stretches and some deep breathing to ease stress. Back sore from feeding? Invest in a foam roller or just use a tennis ball to bust knots wherever you’re holding tension.

Schedule a “spa” date with yourself.

Step 1: Ask your partner to commit to bottle-feeding your baby at least once a day so that you can get some time to yourself. Step 2: Don’t use this time for chores! (We know you’re tempted). Instead, apply a sheet mask, file your nails, deep condition, tweeze your brows—anything that helps you feel more like yourself.

Bathe with your baby.

Nothing beats a hot bath or shower, but they’re so hard to come by when you’re closely watching your newborn. Pro tip: pull your bassinet or infant bouncer into the bathroom with you! You can keep eyes on baby and even chat with her while you soak up some much-needed relaxation.

Binge old favorites.

The postpartum haze may not be the best time to finally read War and Peace or untangle “The Wire.”  Sign up for some streaming services, then kick back with past seasons of your favorite sitcoms, romantic comedies or whatever makes you smile (while not requiring your full attention).

Ask about postpartum PT.

So many moms experience diastasis recti—separation of the abdominal muscles—after pregnancy, and targeted PT can help knit the muscles back together. Plus, it makes you feel good.  Ask your OBGyn if postpartum physical therapy would be beneficial for you—with a prescription, you may only be responsible for a small co-pay.

Splurge, guilt-free.

You’ve got 18 years to save for college. Treat yourself to something special, whether that’s an in-home massage, a blow-out and mani-pedi, a stack of tabloid magazines, a fancy dinner or whatever reminds you that you matter. Because you do.

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Disclaimer: The information on our site is NOT medical advice for any specific person or condition. It is only meant as general information. If you have any medical questions and concerns about your child or yourself, please contact your health provider.