New Mama Deck - How to find time for self-care with a newborn

How to Find Time for Self-Care with a Newborn

One of the biggest question new moms have is how to find time to take a shower or brush their teeth after bringing baby home.

So many moms have asked this question over the years, I thought I would collect some answers here that I have heard to see if they help out some new mamas. Mamas need a few minutes to themselves every day just to feel like their old selves and find time for their own self-care. Here are a few suggestions for taking a few minutes out of the constant demand for mom's time.

Should I take a shower?

First of all, your baby doesn’t care if you shower! This is primarily for YOU, the mama, the other important person at home all the time. Babies use scent to identify parents and guide themselves to the breast. This provides immense comfort to them. So don’t do it for them, do it for you!

Timing is everything!

Secondly, timing is everything. The obvious choice is to wait for a partner to come home and shower in peace. But if you are doing it on your own, here are a few things to aim for:

Mornings are happier times for most babies. Afternoons and evenings can bring out the worst in babies, so you might want to avoid those unless you know your baby takes a long solid nap. Then you can typically count on that. So aim for the early hours.

If you want your baby to sleep through your shower time, feed them, burp them and play actively with them. If they aren’t sleepy yet (tummy time works great here) then get them to sleep until they get the droopy arm stage. A relaxed body often means you can transition baby to a bouncy chair, bassinet, or even a towel stack on the floor in the bathroom. This is your time…get in there and start shampooing that hair!

If you are hoping that your baby will happily occupy themselves while you shower; feed them, burp them, change them if they need a new diaper, and put them down on the floor of the bathroom to play while you RACE into the shower.  Do not wait. Don’t fold laundry. RUN into the shower…do not get distracted!

There is only about a 20 minute window that an average baby will play by themselves (and many times this requires a direct sight line from shower to baby, so plan accordingly) so you don’t want to waste time thinking about cleaning the bathroom.

If you think you can play with your baby enough to keep them going, make sure there are things they can reach themselves if they are of holding toys age. A play mat can be really useful here, but other things work as well, and you can always keep a stack of toys in the shower with you and throw one out every couple minutes...I know moms who have done this and it's actually a good idea.

If your baby just won’t have it, and you are way past what you think is tolerable for any human being, take your baby with you into the shower. There are carriers you can use that are designed for showering/being in water which will free up your hands enough to wash yourself. You might find this is one of your favorite times with baby. Just warm the bathroom up beforehand as a wet and cold baby is not easy to manage.

One word of warning; babies being held in naked mama arms often want to nurse. Then they often want to poop. Although the shower is convenient for cleaning it off, it is sometimes easier to just not snuggle them while you are doing your clean routine. Make faces or sing songs, but know that a snuggle comes with strings attached.

How do you manage to get that long relaxing shower in the midst of mothering a tiny human? Or if you don’t get that long one in, how do you manage that ankle only leg shaving and lightening fast hair washing?

Here’s to more moms who catch a glimpse in the mirror as they walk by and think, “Yep, still got it!” because they showered even while managing a tiny human with 24/7 needs.

New Mama Decks for more ideas!

Pick up a New Mama Deck and try some of our other ideas. It's important to remember that mom still needs a few minutes to herself at the beginning of her newborn's life. Sometimes when a partner is no longer home during the day (paternity leave), a new mama is left home to fend for herself. While an extra set of hands makes this time of life easier, the bonding that occurs between mother and baby is very special and will be rewarding for years to come.

New Mama Deck reminds new moms that they also need TLC and that their needs are important. It reminds moms to reach out, ask for help, and to stay in touch with loved ones for moral support. Caring for a newborn can be isolating, exhausting and overwhelming at times. Have patience with yourself and you'll be able to navigate these early days of motherhood.

Back to blog