Healthy living

How to support yourself as a new mum

Having a baby is one of life’s biggest events. As well as having a whole new person to care for, you may still be recovering from childbirth, be sleep deprived and be adjusting to a different daily life than you previously knew. Motherhood comes with many joys and challenges and it is important to be kind and look after yourself.

Being the best mum you can be doesn’t mean being ‘perfect’ – there’s no such thing. All new mums learn on the job and you’ll get more confident as you and your baby get to know each other.

Here’s some ways you can support yourself:

  • Talk to your partner before the baby comes about how you are going to split household chores once your baby is here. Having the conversation early can help you both start thinking about your new roles, and how you can support each other. 
  • Know that it may take time to connect with your baby. Some mothers feel overwhelming love straight away, for others it can take a bit longer. This doesn't mean you are a bad mum at all. Talk to your child health nurse if you feel concerned.
  • Eating well and getting enough sleep is important. 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 impossible to maintain once you have children. If people offer to help, don’t be afraid to accept, or even to ask! Having a list of jobs on the fridge can be an easy way to let people know how they can support you.
  • Extend your support network. Find local parent groups or activities like playgroup or Baby Rhyme Time at your library. Other new parents are a valuable resource and will often be having the same experiences that you are.
  • 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 - babies can love getting out in the pram, and keep in touch with family and friends.
  • Try not to spend all day in your pyjamas. Getting dressed, brushing your teeth and hair can actually make you feel more like your usual self.
  • Having a new baby can put strain on a relationship – especially when no one is sleeping! Try and spend time talking with your partner every day. It is a big change for both of you, talk about what is going on and how you can support each other.
  • Try and avoid big changes, like moving house or changing jobs, unless absolutely necessary.
  • Experiencing the baby blues is common, up to 80% of mums report experiencing this. However, if you feel like you are struggling with depression or anxiety, you may need to seek some help. 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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