Pregnancy + Parenthood

11 Easy Ways to Take Care of Yourself After Birth

5 min read
According to 9 moms who've been there.
According to 9 moms who've been there.

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When you’re caring for a small human, it’s understandable that the idea of “self-care” might fall by the wayside. But the truth is that even if it comes in the form of a 5-minute shower, a quick bite of leftovers in between feedings, or taking your postnatal multivitamins, nurturing yourself is just as important during those first several weeks.

And few people understand that better than moms who have done it before. Below, 9 Ritual moms share what worked for them when it came to putting themselves first, finding community, and building a routine again—even if it may feel impossible. (Bonus: Watch the videos for even more stellar advice from our motherhood community.)

Start with the very basics.

“Honestly I still haven’t completely figured out self-care, and with two small kids, it often feels impossible. The essentials [for me] are water and sleep, so for now I’m focused on staying hydrated...but wine helps too.”

Meena Harris, Activist, Lawyer, and founder of Phenomenal Woman

“Self-care is difficult. It changes [after becoming a mother]; it makes you value the small things that qualify as self-care. Sometimes, [self-care] is just when I put him to bed and I get to watch an episode of Law & Order SVU.”

Elise Peterson, artist and podcast host of Cool Moms

Find small routines.

“I have a new baby. She’s 10 months now—it still feels new. My biggest thing is I just want to be more structured in my day to day; be better about healthy habits for myself. So much of what I've been used to doing, my self-habits and exercise, wellness stuff, has fallen to the wayside with her, but I haven't had the time or energy. So I really want to get back to that and find ways to maintain those while still obviously being busy and raising her.

"Take yoga, for example. I've been doing yoga for 12 years now. It's really about getting back to my practice—so, starting to go once a week to the yoga studio where I used to go almost every single day. Once a week is a start for me.”

Jenné Claiborne, Chef and Blogger at Sweet Potato Soul

"I joke with my husband that a 5 minute hot shower at the end of the day is the most luxurious gift he can give me. Jokes aside, every morning I take my daily Ritual [multi]vitamins. Taking my vitamins may seem like a small task, but it truly makes me feel like a responsible adult."

Chelsea Neff, Florist and Founder of Pine New York

“It’s carving out the time for yourself, even if it’s just five minutes. Start with a morning ritual—a 5-minute meditation, 3 rounds of breath, writing a page in a journal. Something to ease into the day with. Or a nightly transition—we transition our babies to sleep, but we just usually hit the pillow and go to sleep, or we’re on our phone, or we’re trying to get a million things done. Putting yourself to sleep and caring for yourself as you would your child is a way to self-care.”

— Lori Bregman, Doula

Don’t fall into the comparison trap.

“The best thing is to not have expectations... There’s so much pressure to sleep by this time, or breastfeed…all these milestones that you think you need to hit. There are so many factors that are out of your control. So don’t compare yourself to other people, and just go with the flow. Everyone’s baby is different.”

— Ashley Torres, Editor of Everyday Pursuits

Consider planning ahead.

“I made sure to set up a system to make things easier on me: Getting fresh fruits and vegetables delivered all the time; making sure I had nourishing foods around me; with my first, making sure she had playdates scheduled.... [See] if there are friends who can come by and give you blocks of time so you can take a shower and do other things you need to take care of yourself.”

—Michelle Davenport, PhD, RD, Member of Ritual’s Scientific Advisory Board

Remember that you can always try again tomorrow.

"I think it's really hard to put your 'oxygen mask on first,' especially when you have really little kids. For instance, last night I was up till 11:30 with a child that was crying and was teething—there are nights when you don't sleep. But I always kind of bounce back from those things by making sure that I overcorrect the next day. If I was up all night working, then the next day I'll spend my first five minutes at work making a green smoothie. Or I'll make sure that I go to pilates in the morning, I'll take all my meetings walking, and I'm drinking a lot of water.”

Kat, Founder and CEO of Ritual

Build a mom network—even if it’s virtual.

“If you don’t have friends who are moms, find a Mommy and Me group or join a Facebook group because there are so many questions that come up that you can’t necessarily ask your pediatrician. Knowing that I have a place where I can commiserate and ask questions is really helpful.”

— Ashley Torres, Editor of Everyday Pursuits

“Facebook [and the mom groups there] has been a saving grace. Just to be able to see that I’m not alone—that there are other women who are going through the same thing—that has helped me tremendously. I’ve also found a lot of virtual friendships through the Peanut app. It’s been so nice to talk to other moms and support each other.

Dali Sepúlveda, Co-Founder, Soft Femme

Ask for help.

“Asking for help and allowing people to be there for you is a gift—people want to help you. Don’t be afraid to ask.”

— Lori Bregman, Doula

Catch more expert-driven motherhood content here.

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