Healthy living

How to support yourself as a new mum

Being the best mum you can be doesn’t mean being ‘perfect’ – there’s no such thing. Aim to be ‘good enough’, and go easy on yourself. Sometimes you’ll make mistakes, but you’re learning on the job and you’ll get more confident with practice.

Here’s some ways you can support yourself:

  • Know that it can take time to connect with your baby. All babies are different. Some really are easier to settle and comfort than others. You aren’t necessarily doing anything wrong.
  • Eating well and getting enough sleep is important for your basic energy needs. Rest or sleep while your baby is sleeping, especially in the early days – don’t use this time to catch up on housework. Include plenty of fresh fruit and veg in your diet.
  • Give yourself permission to let housework slide for a while. A perfect house is hard to maintain once you have children. Accept reasonable offers of help and be prepared to ask for extra help if you need it. Find out more about how to balance housework and a new baby.
  • Extend your support network. Attend parent groups or activities like playgroup or Baby Rhyme Time at your local library. Other new parents are a valuable resource.
  • Make time to enjoy just being with your baby and getting to know him or her – cuddle and play with your baby.
  • Allow yourself ‘time out’ to do something just for you. Do some gentle exercise and stay in touch with family and friends.
  • Try not to spend all day in your pyjamas. Get dressed, brush your teeth and hair. This can actually make you feel more like your usual self.
  • Spend time with your partner every day – even if it’s only 10 minutes talking after the baby’s (finally) asleep. Your relationship needs attention too.
  • Avoid big changes, like moving house or changing jobs, unless absolutely necessary.
  • Talk to your partner, or a trusted friend or family member, about how you’re feeling. Be aware of changes from how you normally feel. Talk to your GP or child health nurse if you are concerned or have any questions.
  • Read more tips about how to care for yourself with a little TLC.

Where to get help

  • See your doctor
  • See a child health nurse

Pregnancy, Birth and Baby Helpline

  • Free call 1800 882 436 (24 hour service)

Women and Newborns Health Service

This publication is provided for education and information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical care. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your healthcare professional. Readers should note that over time currency and completeness of the information may change. All users should seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional for a diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.

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