One of the toughest things to tackle as a new mother is maintaining your sense of self and finding time to take care of YOU. As a mom, your first (and seemingly only) instinct is to do every single thing for the baby, which leaves little to no time for any form of even basic self care. In turn, some moms feel like they’ve lost their identity, lost their minds, and can begin to reach levels of fatigue they’ve never imagined possible.
AS BUMPIN BLENDS FOUNDER LISA MASTELA, MPH, RD SAID, “IF YOU’RE NOT PUTTING YOUR OXYGEN MASK ON FIRST, YOU CAN’T POSSIBLY PUT YOUR CHILDREN’S MASKS ON!”
It’s an important concept to keep in mind. You cannot — read: it’s IMPOSSIBLE — take care of your little one if you’re not covering your bases with self care. And remember, self care isn’t just a luxury or something superfluous to indulge in; this stuff is truly fundamental and absolutely must be incorporated into your life and routine.
To reframe self-care for you (because trust us, many a marketing campaign has left it a bit skewed in our minds), let’s go over some of the basics. Self care includes sleep. Yes, sleep. Self care includes taking a long, hot shower. It includes nourishing your body with high-quality, whole foods so you feel energized. It also includes a few minutes — or hours — of silence, quiet time, and undisturbed peace. Self care is not just face masks and manicures — but it can be that, too! This is about YOU and what works for your brain and body, and keeps the engine running. You wouldn’t expect your iPhone to run for days without a charge, so why do you expect the same out of your human body?
Ahead are some of our founder’s top tips for maintaining a sane brain and healthy body while you’re pregnant, nursing, raising a baby, or chasing a toddler (or three). For the full immersive experience, just envision Lisa telling you all this self care info in her best Jonathan Van Ness voice. It’s better that way, we swear (she really nails the voice).
1. Recognize Self Care as a Priority
“Whether you’re a new mom, pregnant, super duper pregnant, a mom of a toddler, a mom of a teenager, a mom of multiples, there is always time for self care,” said Lisa. “Being a mom is no joke; we do 10 times more than the average person has to do every day... all before 9 am.”
Because you have so much on your plate — and the life of another human being on your list of responsibilities — it requires you to “rise up to a new level,” said Lisa. This includes stepping up your game with “Organization, critical thinking, patience, operating on less sleep, creativity, and — wait for it — self care.”
And when you’re challenged in such an intense way on all fronts, it’s imperative that you do in fact recharge those batteries. “It’s crucial to prioritize your self-care so it doesn’t get put on the back burner, like many other things do,” said Lisa. “Sure, you might not get spa days, and you can’t just sit at a coffee shop for hours, but you can find five minutes here or 10 minutes there to really, truly put yourself first in some way — every single day. Heck, even just 2-3 minutes could do the trick.”
2. Find What Self Care Works For You
This is different for everyone, and it’s hyperpersonal. A few things that Lisa has found for herself when she was a new mom might work for you, too.
Ignore the dishes for a night and take a long hot shower instead
Hire a sitter for two hours while you go take a nap
Put on a movie for your child so that you can POOP IN PEACE
It gets real in mom world, but sometimes a bit of toilet time on your own is all it takes to reset you for the next few hours of the day.
Another way Lisa takes care of herself is with healthy food that feels indulgent, including Bumpin Blends. For her, the self care in this instance is two-fold: nourishing, energizing foods and a time saver — no prep or cook time, and you don’t have to go anywhere to get it.
“Bumpin Blends gives a new mom the gift of time, alongside a peace of mind and ability to treat yourself in the best way,” she said. “It tastes like an indulgence (hellooooo, vegan cookie dough smoothie!), it's packed with all the amazing nutrients you need, it can alleviate your symptoms of pregnancy or motherhood, and it saves you time and energy in the kitchen. Win, win, win, win.”
She said it best: “Being at home with a newborn is exhausting in every way. There’s no time. There’s no energy. Your mood is CRAZY. Your feelings are all over the place. The last thing you should be doing is pulling out a frying pan to make eggs in the morning.” AMEN. Ain’t nobody got time for that. “Bumpin Blends takes care of you, it’s easy and delicious, and it comes with a built in dietitian to support you. Pop open the bag, pour it in the blender, add liquid. Done. You’re sipping on a refreshing green smoothie loaded with natural energy sources before you even realize what day of the week it is.” And no trip to the juice bar required.
3. Evolve Your Self Care Routine as Your Child Grows
Something to keep in mind is that your self-care practices during your baby’s infancy might not look the same in their later months or years. “Self-care must evolve as your parenting does,” said Lisa. When she was a new mom herself, everything centered on a sleep schedule. “For example, my self-care when my daughter was a newborn was naps, long baths, and things I could do when she napped all the time (and I was sleep deprived).” That, of course, changed when her daughter had more awake time and began to crawl and eventually walk.
“As her naps got less frequent and I was less sleep deprived, my self-care became workout classes while my husband watched her,” she said. Nothing like an endorphin boost and some solo time to give your body and brain some much needed attention!
Now her self care is time together, but in ways that make her feel peaceful and relaxed. “Now that she’s a toddler and she’s too sweet and funny to miss out on family time, so I don’t enjoy workout classes as much as playing and working out with her,” said Lisa. Here’s her current toddler-centric self care routine:
“[My daughter] and I created a routine that allows me some self-care: every morning, she and I have breakfast, go for a long walk, do mommy daughter yoga together (just 5-10 minutes of stretching together and imitating animals in yoga poses), and then she plays quietly and independently for 45 minutes or so while I sip hot coffee and read a book on the couch. It’s heavenly. Plus, the whole routine is over before 8:30 am.”
It really is the little things.
4. Eliminate Guilt From the Equation
In the process of developing and practicing your own self care routine, it’s ultra imperative that you eradicate any feelings of guilt. It’s truly a useless emotion that serves no purpose — it doesn’t help you grow or learn, it doesn’t help you feel gratitude, it doesn’t pay the bills, and it doesn’t change the diapers. So get rid of it!
“THERE IS NO ROOM FOR GUILT IN SELF-CARE, ESPECIALLY FOR NEW MOMS” SAID LISA. “STOP IT. DO NOT FEEL GUILTY FOR PUTTING YOURSELF FIRST AND FILLING UP YOUR CUP. YOU DESERVE IT.”
She’s right, honey! (remember, Jonathan Van Ness voice). “If you’re feeling guilty about your self-care, talk to another mama about it, talk to your partner about it, and brainstorm some forms of self-care that you’re more comfortable with.”
Write down your feelings when they come up (if you can manage that — we know, it’s all a lot). Address them, and ask yourself “why do I feel guilty about this?” If necessary, refer back to step 1 and remember that this is truly a priority and the only way you can truly succeed as a mother. You’ll be the best mom you can possibly be if you step back a little bit to recharge.
5. Make it a Daily Habit
Whether it’s your daily smoothie, walk, or five minutes of quiet time to meditate, make sure you find at least five or ten minutes every single day to give back to your brain and body. Here are a few suggestions on how to make it a regular occurrence:
Involve your little one. Like Lisa mentioned in her daily routine, you can totally incorporate your baby into your self-care routine. Maybe it’s a walk together outside in the fresh air, or mommy-and-me yoga when they get a little bigger! Find a way to fuse mommy responsibilities and self-care together.
Ask for help. You’re taking on so much more than a full-time job, and if you were taking on a full-time job in an office (as many of you have and continue to do!) you know that it’s totally acceptable to ask for help when you need it. So why go it alone with motherhood? Ask a friend, family member, significant other, or hired professional for help when you need it so you can make sure you’re caring for yourself each and every day. This is an important point that we could write another article about, but please — ask for help when you need it, and don’t feel guilty about it!
Make it short but frequent. Five minutes three times throughout the day might be all you need. Keep it short so there’s no excuse, and hold yourself accountable. You can even set alarms in your phone so you know when it sounds, it’s time for five minutes of you time.
Have an accountability buddy. Whether it’s another new mom friend, your spouse, or your best friend, have someone check in on you every day, and check in with them after you’ve completed your routine self care.
Schedule it. Just like you schedule naptime and nursing and pumping, schedule your self care. It’s just as important!
Make it brainless. The last thing you want to do is add another task that taxes your brain. Instead of coming up with a wildly creative new self care idea each and every day, make it something totally mindless — might we suggest a recipe-free smoothie as a treat? Perhaps a meditation app that you just have to press “play” on? A simple few minutes of stillness and fresh air on your back patio or front porch? Make it as calm and thought-free as possible.