Start with loving yourselves, mummies. Focusing on your soon-to-be born baby does not mean you should neglect yourselves.
The excitement builds up as the final weeks pass by and counting down to caressing your newborn begins! And the most important thing during this time is ‘self-care’.
Soon, you will be promoted to a new status – ‘mum’ – such a simple sounding word, yet it encompasses a whole new league of responsibilities that you’ll partake in on this chapter.
Strike a balance between motherhood and being ‘you’. As you focus 120% attention on your new baby, remember to take care of yourself too.
Pregnancy and birthing are some of life’s greatest moments, and raising a baby does not mean you cannot focus on yourself. Self-care means loving yourself, so you can take care of your loved ones. It can be as simple as going for a prenatal massage by experts before you pop. As you look forward to life with your baby, let’s embrace self-care in these easy ways:
#1: Eat well, be well
For generations, Asian families have believed that confinement is the time where mums recuperate and rebuild their health after delivering a baby. Besides having sufficient rest, a confinement diet would include dishes with herbs and fresh ingredients to nourish the new mother.
Now that you are in the third trimester, it’s time to plan for your confinement meals. Will your confinement nanny be cooking them? How about dedicating confinement meal cooking to a specialist who knows what postpartum mothers need? Confinement meal trials are also available, so you can sample the food during your last trimester too.
#2: Mummy’s mind and emotional wellness matters
When your baby is finally here, taking on new responsibilities and seeing to your newborn’s needs take top priority. With little sleep, this will get tiring and trying on some days, so it’s important to keep a positive mind. Remember to stay positive and think happy thoughts. A happy mum = a happy baby!
Under certain situations, some new mums may experience varying degrees of postpartum blues, or even postnatal depression. Experts advise that postpartum depression affects 10-15% of new mums as they transition to their new role. Don’t forget to keep your mental well-being in-check and share it with your partner instead of bottling up. Talk to your doctor if these mood swings or mental thoughts get overwhelming – you need not handle it all on your own.
#3: Ask for help, and accept help
As you prepare for your baby’s arrival, have you thought about the help and support you may need during confinement, maternity leave and after you return to work? Raising a child takes a village, so feel free to ask for and accept help caring for your newborn. This gives you time to breathe a little easier, as you dedicate some time towards self-care. Are there baby-related products that could help ease parenting duties? This could be a lullaby CD to help establish a bedtime routine. Or, breastfeeding clothes for mummies to nurse your baby conveniently when you’re out and about. Spring Maternity has a line of fashionable nursing clothes that give you instant style! Let your Baby Bonus work harder for you with the POSB Smiley Child Development (CDA) Account, so you earn 2% p.a. interest while enjoying a suite of perks for your family. Help comes in many forms; not just people but also thoughtfully-developed products to help make parenting a breeze – YAY!
#4: Reconnect with yourself – even if it means being away from your baby
As you embrace a mindful pregnancy, practising mindfulness after having a baby lets you soak in the moment. Also, remember to make time for yourself, because being a mother is only one of the many roles that you play. It may become second nature to breathe all-things related to your baby, but remember to leave time to pursue hobbies and activities that you enjoy and give yourself time alone. Do make an effort to ‘be yourself’, and connect with yourself always.
#5: Self-care for your physical well-being
As women, we naturally want to look good and feel good. Welcoming a newborn also means accepting your new body – wearing stretch marks like a badge of honour along with a newfound body shape. But it is still important to take steps towards self-care by taking care of your personal well-being. Feeling good about yourself increases self-confidence, and lets you shine as you take on motherhood. Rejuvenate your body and senses with post-natal massages at Huang Ah Ma, The Oriental Spa Chamber, and step out feeling lighter and well taken care of.
#6: Connect with others
In between changing diapers and feeding, a new mum might feel absorbed in her new routine, and sink into the idea that this is how her life will be. The urge to spend 24/7 with your new baby is there, and catching up with friends or keeping in touch with fellow mothers sound impossible. Psychologists term this as an unexpected loneliness new mothers experience, as they start to disconnect with everyone else, choosing to only connect with their newborns.
Recognise and acknowledge the feeling, and actively make attempts to engage your social connections and relationships. Spend time with your spouse as a couple, meet friends for meals, or even make new friends with other mums in your social networks. Remember you’re not alone, and your friends and family are always there for you even after you’ve become a mother.
As you enjoy the fluttering feet and kung fu kicks in your last trimester, take heart that these precious moment will soon be replaced with sniffing your newborn and tickling your baby’s little toes. The “real” motherhood chapter begins in just a few months’ time, so remember to focus on taking good care of yourself so you can take better care of your bubba! After all, we need to first love ourselves before learning to love others.
The article is written in collaboration with POSB Smiley CDA to support parents in raising children in Singapore. Apply online for an account today!
As you prepare for your new baby’s arrival, did you remember to plan time for self-care too? Tell us in the comments below!
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