You spent months preparing to welcome your newborn, ensuring that your baby would be safe, healthy and loved. But who has been taking care of you, Mama? Despite enduring pregnancy, delivery, sleep deprivation, and wild hormonal swings, you are 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 is 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.

Make a mood-boosting playlist.

Help ride out the baby blues with your favourite feel-good songs, all cued up and ready to go. Include some sing-along songs to share with your baby—they will 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 is not local (or even if they are), your village might need to include a professional. Some mums 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 mum—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 are 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 mums swear by meal kit services such as Hello Fresh or Blue Apron. Then there is Meal Train, which schedules friends and neighbors who would like to drop off dinners for your family. You can specify dietary preferences and favourites 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 is 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 is 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 are 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: Do not use this time for chores! (We know you are 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 are so hard to come by when you are 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 favourites.

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 favourite sitcoms, romantic comedies or whatever makes you smile (while not requiring your full attention).

Ask about postpartum physical therapy.

So many mums 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 medical provider 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.

Treat yourself to something special, whether that is 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. Breastmilk is the best source of nutrition for babies. It is important that, in preparation for and during breastfeeding, mothers eat a healthy, balanced diet. Combined breast- and bottle-feeding in the first weeks of life may reduce the supply of a mother's breastmilk and reversing the decision not to breastfeed is difficult. If you do decide to use infant formula, you should follow instructions carefully.