Post-natal mental health tips from @meganfoster17

Birth | First Days | Toddler | Development |

Hi, I am Megan, mummy to two gorgeous little boys - my first-born Arthur who just turned three and Albie who is two months old.

I know that becoming a mum is the most beautiful, precious and rewarding thing in the world, but at the same time the first few weeks and months can be overwhelming, emotional, and daunting. It’s so important to make sure we look after ourselves and our mental health.

Be prepared

Nights can be exhausting but you can make it easier for yourself by being prepared. If you know your little one will be waking you up during the night, make sure you've got things ready to minimise the time you’ll have to be awake for.

Get yourself a caddy filled with nappies, wet wipes and creams to keep near your baby for easy access. If you are bottle feeding, make sure you have enough bottles sterilised to see you through the night. The last thing you want to be doing is making and cleaning bottles at silly o’clock in the morning. Most importantly, make sure you have snacks and a drink at hand to keep yourself fueled.

Create an online support network

A great way to find parenting support is by making friends with mums online. I have found some amazing mums on Instagram who are going through the same things I am – we’ve even formed a group called the “4am mum club”. When we are lonely in the middle of the night or need some help or advice, we pop a little message in the group and another mummy will reply, no matter what time of the night it is. It has really helped keep me sane in these strange times.

Establish a routine

The days can feel just as long if you have been up frequently with a baby so I find having a good routine and putting one small thing in my diary each day really helps me get going in the mornings. This could be a simple walk for fresh air or a coffee date with a friend.

Make time for you

Make sure you make time for yourself – it’s good for you, your baby and your mental health to have a break. Most of the time when we put ourselves last, it’s when we should be putting ourselves first. Happy parent = happy baby.

Here are five things I do to get some ‘me time’...

 

1) Go for daily walks

At the moment it isn’t possible for me to go on walks alone, so I take my baby with me in the sling. I make sure I get out and go every evening – even when I’m tired and would much rather sit and watch telly. Once I’m out, it really helps to de-stress me, relax, gives me time to breathe and enjoy my surroundings.

2) Plan social meetings

I love planning things with other parents, from coffee dates to soft play to baby groups. It’s so refreshing to meet up with other parents and know they are dealing with similar worries themselves. You can help each other. I know that once I’ve had a good chat with my friends, it makes me feel so much better.

 

3) Take advantage of your baby’s naps

As a parent, it’s so tempting to run around the house and get as much done as possible as soon as my child and baby are napping. Cleaning, washing, ironing, showering, picking up the toys… the list goes on! What I do is try and remember that those things will still be there tomorrow or the next day. I like to set aside time for a hot cup of tea or 15 minutes to read that book that’s been on the go for months. Once or twice a week, make sure to do something for YOU during that free time, whether it’s yoga, reading, binge watching a series or having a nap.

4) Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Don’t be afraid to ask grandparents or a friend to look after your child if you need a rest or just time to breathe. They will be more than happy to help you. There’s no shame in leaning on your support system.

5) Rest or sleep when the baby sleeps

If your little one has gone to bed early, don’t stay up scrolling social media or watching endless amounts of TV. You need your rest as much as they need theirs, so take advantage of that valuable time to catch up on sleep.

You are never alone

Just remember you are never alone. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and make time for yourself. You are important, your health is important and so is your mental health. Never feel ashamed to talk to your friend, a family member, midwife or a doctor. Parenthood is a journey, a story to be told and to be shared with others. It might not be the easiest of rides, but it will be the best ride.


Categories: Birth First Days Toddler Development