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Minimizing Stress as a New Mom

By Jeana Lee Tahnk

As amazing as the process of pregnancy and childbirth is, cominghome with a newborn after such a physically demanding event can betaxing. Elation is mixed with exhaustion, and it's easy to be overcomewith emotion and feeling overwhelmed. The first few months after baby isborn is when it's most important for new moms to take care ofthemselves, but ironically, it's also the time when they feel the leastable to do so.

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

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

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

Relying on those around you is key, too: Enlist a friend to go on awalk with you while you push the stroller, or just have her around tohold 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 atiring one, too. Taking a few measures for yourself not only will helpminimize any stress from sleep deprivation and lifestyle change, butalso will help make you a better mom in the process.

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