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Minimizing Stress as a New Mom

By Jeana Lee Tahnk

As amazing as the process of pregnancy and childbirth is, coming home with a newborn after such a physically demanding event can be taxing. Elation is mixed with exhaustion, and it's easy to be overcome with emotion and feeling overwhelmed. The first few months after baby is born is when it's most important for new moms to take care of themselves, but ironically, it's also the time when they feel the least able to do so.

When you think about how much newborns sleep, it seems logical you would have a lot of time during the day to do things. But anyone with a new baby knows how hard it can be to find even 10 minutes to take a shower each day. Between the countless diaper changes and the seemingly constant cycle of eating, new babies can leave very little mom time.

I remember putting my babies in their bouncy seats and bringing them into the bathroom with me so I could take a shower that lasted more than 35 seconds. Between the warmth of the steam and the soothing sounds of the running water, those 35-second showers turned into four-minute showers, and were so glorious.

To minimize stress as a new mom, find at least a sliver of time each day to do something for yourself. Maybe it's sitting with a hot cup of coffee while the baby is in the swing, or watching a trashy reality show while you're stationed on the couch nursing. Whatever it is, it's really important to find those little perks to help you adjust to life with a newborn.

Relying on those around you is key, too: Enlist a friend to go on a walk with you while you push the stroller, or just have her around to hold the baby so you can extend that shower time even more.

There's no doubt having a new baby is a magical time, but it's a tiring one, too. Taking a few measures for yourself not only will help minimize any stress from sleep deprivation and lifestyle change, but also will help make you a better mom in the process.

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