Self care for new moms
Tips for Taking Care of Yourself With a Newborn
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Your Needs Matter
A new baby brings more joy and more stress than you’ll feel at just about any other time in your life. It’s easy to get overwhelmed. Your baby’s needs seem endless -- and it’s up to you to meet them. But to be your best as a parent, you have to take care of yourself, too.
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Good nutrition keeps your energy up and boosts your mood. Get plenty of protein, iron, and omega-3s, and go easy on the sugar. That’s especially important if you’re breastfeeding and your body needs extra fuel. Try to limit caffeine to the first part of the day. Before the baby comes, stock up on healthy snacks and fill your freezer with your favorite good-for-you meals. Afterward, take full advantage of all the delivery options out there.
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Get Regular Exercise
It boosts your mood, keeps you healthy, gives you more energy and better sleep, and helps you manage your weight -- everything a new parent needs. So strap on the baby carrier and take a walk, or hop on the stationary bike at nap time. Or, ask your partner to take care of the baby while you exercise. Another option is to check if your gym offers child care, or find a way to exercise with your baby, like a mommy-and-me yoga class or baby boot camp.
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Guard Your Sleep
It’s hard to come by in the first few months, so grab it whenever you can. Resist the urge to jump on chores when your baby falls asleep. Instead, catch a nap yourself, or just rest. When friends and family come to visit, hand off the baby and go lie down. At night, divide baby duties with your partner so both of you can get a few hours.
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Keep Your Connection
When you’re both stressed, it can be easy to forget that you and your partner are in this together. Take time to focus on each other and keep your family’s foundation strong. Share the highlights of your day, and talk through your concerns. Find someone to watch the baby so you can get out of the house together at least once a week. Don’t neglect intimacy: Even hugs and foot rubs will help keep you close.
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Find Some Me Time
Forget the notion that it’s selfish to take time for yourself. It’s important for your mental health. Spend some time every day doing something you enjoy. Read a magazine or scroll through your social media feeds while you soak in a hot tub. Have a cup of tea, or play with your pet. You’ll feel refreshed and show your children what healthy parenting looks like.
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Enjoy the Great Outdoors
You might be surprised by how much fresh air and sunshine can lift your mood. Strap your baby into a stroller or carrier and head to the park. You may not have to go anywhere to spend time outside. A porch swing or rocking chair can be good, too.
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Refresh Your Spirit
What brings you inner peace? Take time to find it every day, whether it’s meditation, prayer, or quiet reflection. Start a journal where you record your experiences and feelings as you go through this major life change. It could become a special keepsake for your child one day.
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Maintain Your Friendships
It helps to remember you had a life before your baby came. Keep in touch with your friends, even if the relationships have to change a bit. Maybe for now it’s a quick coffee date instead of a long lunch, or a text conversation rather than a phone call. Your friends are a great source of support and perspective.
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Let Others Help
Now isn’t the time for independence. Your family and friends care about you and want to be helpful, and you’ll return the favor when it’s their turn. When someone offers, be specific about what you need. Give them your grocery list or a takeout order. Hand them a basket of laundry to fold, or show them where to empty the trash. And remember, it’s OK if they don’t do things exactly the way you would.
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Know When to Say No
Everyone wants to see the new baby, but your rest and recovery come first. If it’s not a good time for a visit, say so. If that makes you feel guilty, ask your partner or a good friend to be a gatekeeper. Put your work, social, and volunteer obligations on hold until you and your baby get on a predictable schedule.
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Maybe you had a picture in your mind of how parenthood would be, or you just like to know how your day is going to go. Well, your baby has a mind of their own, even at just a few days old. If you try to force them to stick to your plan, you’ll likely end up frustrated. Let go of your expectations and go with the flow. Savor the special moments and know that family life won’t always be this crazy.
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Cut Yourself Some Slack
It doesn’t matter if your house is dirty or you haven’t posted any new baby pictures on social media. You have permission to let things slide while you focus on yourself and your baby. The dishes and laundry will still be there when you (or better yet, a friend) get around to dealing with them.
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Baby Blues or Postpartum Depression?
Your emotions may swing wildly in the days after you bring your baby home. You may find you can’t stop crying or you have trouble eating or sleeping. All that’s normal, and it usually works itself out within a few days. But if you feel so bad you can’t function or you can’t shake it after a few weeks, make an appointment with your doctor.
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When to Get Help
Postpartum depression affects 1 in 9 women, and new dads can get depressed, too. Talk to your doctor if you:
- Feel sad, worried, or angry for more than a couple of weeks
- Have no interest in the baby
- Feel worthless or hopeless
- Think about harming yourself or the baby
Postpartum depression is treatable, so don’t put off getting help.
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Sources | Medically Reviewed on 03/05/2021 Reviewed by Renee A. Alli, MD on March 05, 2021
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United Way: “How to Decrease New Baby Stress,” “Ways to Practice Self-Care as a Parent,” “Feeling Blue?” “Beyond The Blue: Recognizing Signs of Postpartum Depression.”
Program for Early Parent Support: “Self-care for Parents,” “Self-care for Parents of Newborns.”
Stop Child Abuse Now of Northern Virginia: “Self Care for Parents.”
Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research: “Newborn care: 10 tips for stressed-out parents,” “New parents: Getting the sleep you need.”
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists: “Breastfeeding Your Baby,” “Exercise After Pregnancy,” “Postpartum Depression.”
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: “Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2 nd edition,” “Recovering from birth,” “Postpartum Depression.”
CDC: “Depression Among Women.”
Reviewed by Renee A. Alli, MD on March 05, 2021
This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.
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Brave New Motherhood
This Is Self-Care: 10 Tips for New Moms
As moms, we often put ourselves last, ensuring first that everyone (and everything) else is taken care of before we think about tending to our own needs.
We put on a happy face and tell the world, “I’ve got this” – even when we feel like we’re failing.
We get plenty of reminders to put ourselves first: you can’t pour from an empty cup, put on your oxygen mask first, etc. Far too few of us take this advice to heart, and even fewer of us make the time to care for ourselves.
Through our “This Is Self-Care” campaign, we’re reminding moms how important their health is: mental, emotional, and physical.
It’s not just okay to take care of yourself; it’s a necessity – especially when you’re pregnant and postpartum.
To kick off “This Is Self-Care,” here are 10 easy ways you can care for yourself. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more self-care tips, ideas, and reminders – be sure to share your favorite suggestions with #thisisselfcare – and remember that self-care is not selfish.1. Assemble your village.
After the hubbub of the delivery and everyone clamoring to meet your baby, it’s natural to want quiet time together as a new family. Once you’ve spent a few days (or weeks) getting familiar with the ins and outs of motherhood, reach out to your friends, family, coworkers, or neighbors. Most of your loved ones will happily donate their time or resources for a few baby snuggles.
Let your in-laws or best friend bring dinner one day a week. Ask neighbors to help mow the lawn or shovel the driveway. Call a friend to grab a few items from the store for you, run a load of laundry, or take your dog for a walk. If it’s in your budget, hire a postpartum doula to assist with childcare and help you feel more confident about breastfeeding.2. Find your sanctuary.
We spend so much time setting up the nursery we forget to carve out space for ourselves. Create a cozy nook in your home where you can unwind. Spaces with plants and natural light are ideal for relaxation, as are the soothing sounds of a fireplace, fountain, bird feeder, or fish tank. A special chair or rug can help define a sense of “place.”
3. Reclaim your day.
Herbert Benson, MD, has conducted extensive research into what he calls the “relaxation response.” It shows that regularly engaging in a hobby – knitting, playing music, meditating, or “anything that breaks the train of everyday thought” – can induce anti-oxidation and anti-inflammatory changes that combat stress in the body.
Allow yourself time to play. While it can be tempting to use the time when your baby sleeps to catch up on work or chores, you can also take a few of those minutes to read, work in the garden, play with pets, bake, sew, paint, dance, sing, or anything else you enjoy.
And don’t underestimate the healing power of a bath or shower. Having a loved one watch your baby for 30 minutes so you can soak in the tub or take a leisurely shower has a profound effect on your ability to relax. Add plants, aromatherapy, relaxing nature sounds, or candles to create a spa-like atmosphere in your bathroom. Sometimes a quick shower is all you need to feel human again. And if no one’s available to watch your baby, keep a bouncer in the bathroom so you can sneak in to wash your hair.4. Get out of the house and take an adventure.
It’s so easy to let your world shrink to the confines of your home after having a baby. Schedule time with your friends to get out of the house: grab a cup of coffee, get a pedicure, have dinner, walk in the park, or see a movie. Make your time together a ritual so it doesn’t fall by the wayside.
If your baby enjoys rides in the car or stroller, use that time to explore. Head off on a day trip; find a place you’ve never been or always wanted to see. Or venture out alone. Leave your baby home with family and take a few hours to go somewhere you want to go. Take the time to do things you loved before baby.5. Pursue a passion with your partner.
Our lives are so busy and full it’s easy to forget to focus on our relationships. Healthy relationships take work, time, and intention. Resentment can be quick to surface if you and your partner stop communicating, especially about the individual qualities you love about each other.
Psychologist Melanie Schilling says, "…find an activity [you] can do together that celebrates shared values." Maybe you love cooking, so you plan to make dinner together once a week; if you enjoy exercise you can learn a new sport together. Even committing to a screen-free night to focus on each other can make a huge difference.6. Take care of your body.
Your postpartum body is still going through all sorts of changes, so you need to take good care of yourself.
Eat: You may be eager to return to your pre-baby figure, but remember your body needs extra calories and nutrients to breastfeed. Be gentle with yourself and focus on eating wholesome food.
Drink water: This may seem like an obvious one, but many moms are so busy they forget to stay hydrated. Try putting lemon or cucumber slices in your water to add some variety. Always carry a water bottle with you.
Sleep: Plan one day a week to sleep in while a family member takes care of your baby. Try to sync your sleep to your baby’s to compensate for all the night feedings. Use an app like Relax Melodies, which provides ambient sound to help you fall asleep faster. Buy a comfortable sleep bra with easy nursing access and breast pads to protect you from sleep-disrupting leaks. Some nursing moms may find they get better rest co-sleeping so they can feed on demand without getting up (always use safe-sleeping practices).
Exercise: Exercising can fill your days with more energy and enthusiasm. If going to the gym isn’t an option, try going for a walk or jog with a jogging stroller, bike with your baby, or find a local “mommy and me” exercise class. Online workouts are a great option for in-home fitness. Just remember to start slowly.7. Rid yourself of mom chaos.
Some days it can feel like your wheels are just spinning: that scattered, fragmented, exhausted feeling when you’re doing more than one thing at a time, but nothing is done well. Hours pass “getting stuff done,” but there’s no sense of completion or accomplishment.
Focus on one thing at a time: Even the tiniest baby can make a huge mess. Diapers, spit-up-covered clothes, burp cloths, towels, bottles… the list goes on and on, and it can be frustrating to feel like you’re not making a dent. When days like this happen, the best thing you can do is pick one task, finish it, and move on to the next.
Let go: Give yourself permission to let go. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, order pizza instead of making a gourmet meal, let the laundry or dishes sit, and don’t worry about answering emails or keeping up with social media. Everything will still be there in an hour (or the next day).
Do a brain dump: When you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a few minutes to write down everything that’s running through your mind. Whether they’re items to add to your to-do list, ideas for work projects, or moments you want to cherish, writing them down helps clear the clutter so you can get focused again.
Talk to Siri or Alexa: When you’re sleep-deprived and constantly interrupted, it can be difficult to keep track of what you’re doing. Try using virtual assistant software like Siri or Alexa to remind you to complete certain tasks. For instance, you can say, “Siri, remind me to text my mom back in an hour,” or “Alexa, remind me at noon today to change the laundry.”
Track important events and milestones: Find a calendar or agenda you love and use it. Tally your to-do list with Wunderlist. An app like Baby Tracker can help you track your baby’s poops, pees, feedings, and naps.8. Take time for reflection.
Find a few minutes each day for reflection and meditation. You can do this before your baby gets up, during the first few minutes of naptime, or at the end of the day. Reflecting on your daily struggles and triumphs enables you to grow in amazing ways.
Qeepsake is a great tool to make reflecting on the motherhood journey a habit. When the app texts you a question about your child, simply text back with your response, and it’ll be added to your private baby journal. You can include memories, photos, and milestones. Print out the journal into a keepsake book whenever you’re ready!9. Equip yourself with knowledge.
Sometimes you can feel so bogged down by the stress of learning how to parent “on the job” that time to unwind doesn’t help. What you need then isn’t necessarily “a break.” You may need advice.
Your pediatrician can be a great source for book recommendations when you want to know more about a particular topic. Books like The Happiest Baby on the Block, 1-2-3 Magic, and How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk may provide valuable tips to help you become a more confident parent. Your library might even have these titles available as audiobooks, which are a great option for late-night breastfeeding sessions.10. Be kind to yourself.
Parenting is a tough job. It’s normal to feel sad, negative, or angry sometimes, so don’t be hard on yourself about those feelings. Focus on the things you can control and celebrate small victories. Remember that a tough moment does not make a tough day or a tough life.
Your kids may not always want hugs and snuggles, and someday they’ll go to bed without fussing. Nothing lasts forever.
Also, remember that part of happiness lies in setting realistic expectations. Be gentle with yourself with regard to losing baby weight, planning social gatherings, and achieving your life’s ambitions. Whenever possible, postpone major life changes until you’ve settled into your new role as a mother.
Like pregnancy and delivery, every parenting journey is unique, so don’t judge yourself by what others are doing. Remember you’re exactly who your child needs; no matter where you are in your parenting journey, you’re the most important person in the world to your child.
Stay tuned to “This Is Self-Care” for more tips and ways to treat yourself, share your favorite ideas with #thisisselfcare, and remember: you are an important part of your family, and caring for your family includes caring for yourself.
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- Brave New Motherhood
- Find your village
- New Moms
- Self Care
- Staying Centered
- Tips for New Moms
finding time to take care of ourselves
Reviewer Kovtun Tatyana Anatolievna
March 23, 2022
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Do you know what young mothers most often complain about? Let's not talk now about Groundhog Day and constant lack of sleep . .. The fact that they have absolutely, well, there is absolutely no time for themselves, and they really want to be beautiful and desirable! Well, where do you get time if you need to take care of a little man, a big man - dad, about the house, and also go to work. We know how to fix the situation. Read our instructions.
First things first
- Mastering the art of combining things . The child is sleeping, and you need to iron, wash, iron again and cook dinner? Fine. Do whatever you need, just first apply a mask on your face, and on your hair too. And you can also spread the legs and put on cotton socks.
- Mastering the Art of Delegation . Let's be honest, this is the best skill you can ever acquire as a mom. Find helpers! Every week you should have two to three hours to yourself. Only for yourself. You leave the baby with a reliable person and go for a walk, to the gym, to dances or to the pool, and perhaps to the spa. Not to the grocery store! nine0026
- We give powers to the Pope . For some reason, in Russia it is not customary to load dad. He came home from work tired and needed to rest. Of course, it is necessary, let him rest. An hour and a half. And then he may well take his beloved offspring under his wing, while his mother devotes half an hour or an hour to herself. She will take a bath or a contrast shower, clean her feathers, or even run away for an epilation to a beauty salon on a nearby street.
Take advantage of the fly lady's biggest secret and make your personal care routine a routine. Just remember to do them every day. And set a time for them - it doesn't matter if it's early in the morning when everyone is asleep, or after midnight when everyone is asleep. nine0015
List of beauty rituals
- Perform morning and evening 15-minute self-care routines — masks, scrubs, peels.
- Do exercises for 15-20 minutes a day - you can do it together with your baby, it's even more fun.
- Sleep during the day (together with the baby, you remember that this is sacred - the baby sleeps, the mother sleeps too, and the laundry will wait).
- Go to bed no later than 12 at night (everyone will wait - both your favorite series and social networks). nine0026
- Take vitamins (you can put a reminder on your phone, although you do not forget to change the baby's diaper and wash it in the evenings).
- Listen to music, and not only children's songs and nursery rhymes - turn on your favorite jazz, rock, funk and dance with your baby.
- Walk, preferably at a good pace (with stroller or sling).
- Lie down for 15 minutes with your eyes closed, distracted from everyone and everything (you won't believe it, but a small child may well do without your active participation for 15 minutes). nine0026
This is just a small part of what you can think of to carve out that very magical 25th hour that you miss so much! But even cutting out this little, you will be surprised at the metamorphoses that will occur in your life and with yourself. And what secrets do you have that you look so great?
Reviewer Kovtun Tatyana Anatolievna nine0005
Scientific Advisor to JSC PROGRESS, Ph.D. . Read more
Let me tell you one simple truth: it is impossible to prepare for motherhood in advance, it always comes unexpectedly. This is the most wonderful, difficult, responsible and unforgettable period of your life. I never imagined what it would be like, despite all my preparations for the birth of my son. Now I know for sure that a young mother should take time for herself and take care of herself. In today's article, we'll talk about how life changes after having a baby, postpartum recovery, my self-care, and body care and acceptance. nine0005
Life after childbirth
When I imagined motherhood, I knew that it would be wonderful, but I did not understand that it was so difficult. Sleepless nights, crying, feeding problems and more. I read about all this and knew that I would be exhausted. So it was! It seems to me that I was not ready for psychological problems, identity crisis and self-doubt. I encountered all this at the very beginning of motherhood, and all this is typical for many new mothers. I was also unprepared for the immense and indescribable love that I would feel for this little boy, and for the anxiety that seemed to never go away, from constant doubts that he was safe and everything was fine with him. . Those who say that there is nothing more beautiful than mother's love are right - the child filled my life so much that everything else became secondary. And for a while, my mental well-being and self-care also became secondary. nine0005
From an independent, working woman with a fulfilling life, I have become a carer with nothing but my child. Such drastic changes in my life, as well as lack of sleep, hormonal disruptions and lack of self-confidence as a mother, unsettled me. In addition, I had trouble breastfeeding and felt tremendous pressure to continue breastfeeding despite the negative impact on my mental health. I felt stupid and out of my element. I stopped sleeping well due to feelings of anxiety, which, as I later learned, is very common among new mothers. In my case, it even led to mild postpartum depression. Now my son is 6 months old and although I still have a hard time, I feel like I have at least figured out how to deal with psychological difficulties - you just need to take care of yourself. nine0005
Taking time for yourself doesn't have to mean something out of the ordinary, it could be putting on make-up, having a relaxing evening treatment, or returning to work. Self-care is not selfish, as young mothers often think, on the contrary, it helped me become a better and more real mother. I repeat, self-care can be different, but young mothers must have it.
Postpartum recovery could be a whole series of articles, but in short, you have to be kind and gentle with yourself. Even if it is a normal vaginal delivery, as was the case in my case, the body is going through a lot of trauma and it is important to understand this. Proper nutrition helped me feel better while I was recovering. I continued to take my prenatal vitamins as recommended by the doctor and tried to eat healthy enough foods. nine0005
In general, it's a good idea to prepare ahead of time and arrange food in containers so that there is always ready-made food in the refrigerator. It just saves! I was lucky to have 12 weeks of maternity leave and spending time with my baby also played a big role in my recovery. There is nothing better than to caress and cherish your precious baby! After giving birth, hormone levels drop a lot, and many new mothers, including myself, become very whiny in the first couple of weeks. It is important to surround yourself with loved ones who can hug and support when you are so vulnerable. nine0005
Physical recovery was fairly easy for me, but the first couple of months of motherhood shook me psychologically. I realized that I lost myself a little, and after consulting with a psychotherapist, I only became more convinced that I need to take time for myself every day. For me personally, talking with a therapist who specializes in postpartum recovery helped a lot and allowed me to speak freely with someone who understood me. In fact, talking to anyone (partner, parent, sibling, or close friend) can be a big help in postpartum recovery. They say it takes a whole village to raise a child. This also means that you need to listen to the new mother and help her understand that her own well-being is just as important as the well-being of her baby. nine0005
Grooming is taking care of yourself
For me personally, grooming in one form or another has played an important role in postpartum recovery. I'm not talking about some of the fancy skincare routines I used to do or the makeup that took me an hour or so to put on. I don't have time for all this anymore. Instead, I adapted and found time for pleasant routines that fit into my new role as a working mom. It may seem trite, but for me, a person who is passionate about everything related to beauty and with a strong sense of self-worth, the opportunity to have a few free minutes was a decisive factor in order to feel confident again. nine0005
Skin care for new moms
I may be doing less skin care, but I still enjoy doing it and I can see that my skin is grateful.
My morning routine is quite simple as it is the busiest part of the day. I'm sure other moms will understand. First, I use Mad Hippie Gentle Wash.
I then apply a hydrating toner and a mild daytime moisturizer, followed by a sunscreen. I try to go for walks as often as possible, so sunscreen is a must for me. nine0005
During my pregnancy, I started experimenting with more organic sunscreens that don't use chemical filters but physical blockers like zinc oxide to protect the skin. I don't think physical remedies are necessarily better than chemical ones, but I like to try different options. Mad Hippie has a great moisturizer with physical sun protection. It is easy to apply and my skin looks and feels hydrated. The protection factor is only 25+, so I use it mostly on days when I don't have much sun exposure. nine0005
In the evenings, I cleanse my face while I shower, moisturize my skin with a toner or essence, apply an acid exfoliator, and finally, a thicker moisturizer. In the evenings, I have more time for skin care, so I try to make it more comprehensive.
The Best and Easy Makeup for a New Mom
I don't use as much makeup as I used to, but if I have to go out, I make sure to take the time to apply makeup that makes me feel confident. For me personally, tidying up helps me feel more collected. Often it's just a dab of concealer, blush, and mascara. nine0005
One of the brands I use a lot is Mad Hippie, specifically the ultra creamy soft matte concealer and tint for cheeks and lips. Mad Hippie bills itself as a brand that "helps inspire people to make healthier choices" and "draws attention to social issues and the environment. " The concealer helps to naturally hide my pronounced dark spots without overburdening the skin or settling into fine lines. I apply it with a small powder brush and it stays on really well. nine0005
This cheek and lip tint in a gorgeous fig shade can be applied thinly with a sponge or blended with fingers for a beautiful blush. The fact that it can be applied to the lips as well makes it a great makeup tool for busy moms.
New mother's acceptance of her new body
After childbirth, it is important to accept your body, whatever it may be. During childbirth, the body does something incredible, after which the corresponding traces remain on it. In my case, it was stretch marks on the buttocks, a very soft stomach and, of course, a few extra pounds. I was so amazed by the feat of my body that I did not experience much difficulty in accepting it after childbirth. I also tried to look after him, which helped me feel more confident. nine0005
Every night after my baby goes to sleep, I take a hot shower and then apply this lotion. In the early days after giving birth, my husband made sure that I had time for this procedure, and now that my baby sleeps longer and in his room, I don’t need reminders to take a few minutes for myself. The time for relaxation and rest has become sacred to me.
At first I tried to use unscented body lotions as newborns can be very sensitive to smells. In fact, I used Aquaphor Children's Healing Ointment, which worked for both my son's skin and mine. It is a thick, petrolatum moisturizer that helps lock in moisture, protect skin, and relieve dryness and itching. We also used the same Cerave skin care products. Thanks to their gentle texture, Aquaphor and Cerave were perfect for my child's eczema-prone skin. nine0005
Now that he's a few months older, I'm loving scented skincare again and my evening routine is more enjoyable and sensual. I love Mild by Nature products. They are reasonably priced and not tested on animals. I love the lavender and lemongrass and coconut and bergamot lotions that come in both travel and regular sizes.