Postpartum self-care can be easily forgotten. Living life with a newborn can be the longest, most incredible daze ever. What day is it? What time is it? Did I eat lunch? So often in motherhood, and especially in those early dazy days, we forget to take care of ourselves. It makes sense why, after all, there is a human life that is completely dependent on us for survival. So many moms told me the daze was coming when I was pregnant with my first. So, when Hayes was born, I made a promise to myself. And on June 29, 2020 when we welcomed Nellie Mae Nordquist into this world I made that very same promise to myself.
“I will shower everyday postpartum”
Postpartum self-care needs to be simple
After that build up you probably expected my promise to be revolutionary, but no no, it’s just a promise to shower each day. Seems simple. And if you haven’t yet experienced newborn life, this might seem a little comical, aiming reaaaal high, Syd. If you have been in the sweet trenches of newborn life you are probably thinking YOU GO GIRL! And cheering me on. Or mayyyyybeee, you are skeptical and thinking, yeah right, how do you plan on doing that?
From my experience, with Hayes and so far with Nellie, I know that postpartum is full of highs and lows. The sweetest of highs, like when your baby is snuggled on your chest napping, and heartbreaking lows, like when you can’t get her to stop crying at 2:30am and you feel like you could fall asleep standing. If there were ever a time when the little things make a big difference, it’s during postpartum. You are doing 18,000 things and very few are for yourself. Self-care is just as important in postpartum, maybe even more important. But I know time is slim when you are taking care of a little one (or maybe little ones!) so it has to be incredibly simple (like showering).
I made a list of 100 self-care ideas that are perfect for postpartum life to help you find some things to do for you. Read on!
1. Take a shower
You don’t have to wash your hair or even get it wet. But take a shower, preferably everyday. Let the water wipe away the spit up, the food, and the night sweat, wash your face, wash your body, and occasionally wash your hair. It’s like you hit refresh.
2. Eat breakfast
Eating breakfast (and all meals really) sets your day up for success. It’s like reminding yourself first thing in the morning that you matter. Sometimes I make oatmeal on the stovetop with one hand while Nellie hangs out in the other hand crying. Other times I grab a pre-made burrito from the freezer. Prep breakfast ahead of time and find easy options that you can throw together with one hand.
3. Give yourself a foot massage
Don’t underestimate the power of self-massage. I get out my lavender lotion and massage my feet and shins (seriously feels so good) one at a time while Nellie is laying next to me. It feels fantastic.
4. Put on clean clothes
If you love your black maternity tank tops as much as I do, make sure you do laundry enough to keep a clean one on hand. Just like a shower, putting on clean clothes might be just the reset you need to feel refreshed. Bonus if you put on clean “real” clothes.
5. Go for a car ride
Whether the kids are piled in or you leave them at home with your partner, get out of the house and go for a car ride. Put on your favorite music (or podcast). Put the windows down and take a deep breath of fresh air. The change of scenery is good for the soul.
6. Have adult conversation
Call a friend. Zoom. Facetime. Meet up in person. Whatever you have to do, get in a live conversation with another adult. Vent about newborn life or avoid newborn talk all together, but talk to another adult. My husband knows that I need a bit of full attention, no devices, no distractions, adult conversation each night. He is going to work and talk to people all day. I am talking to a newborn that doesn’t talk back. Trust, it will make you feel a bit of normal and oh so good.
7. Get “ready”
You don’t have to go anywhere, but the act of putting on makeup and doing your hair might just make you feel a bit more human and a bit less zombie.
8. Change your bed sheets
CLEAN SHEETS, ya’ll!! Can I hear it for CLEAN SHEETS?! They feel amazing. And you’re likely spending more time than normal in your bed, keep it clean so you stayed refreshed.
9. Get fresh air
Fresh air is totally free. Walk outside, take a deep breath. If it’s super hot or super cold, at least crack open a window or a screen door and let the fresh air into your space. I think fresh air is an instant mood booster, there is something about it — it’s like mama nature giving you a pep talk.
My ultimate fresh air postpartum self-care? I grab a beer for myself and my husband, pour them into a Yeti mugs, get the girls in strollers, and go for a walk as a family while we sip some beer. It’s pretty fantastic.
Those are some of my personal favorites, but there are endless ways to practice self-care in postpartum — here’s the full 100
- Take a shower
- Eat breakfast
- Give yourself a foot massage
- Put on clean clothes
- Go for a car ride
- Have an adult conversation
- Get “ready”
- Change your bed sheets
- Get fresh air
- Eat lunch
- Turn off all of your devices for 30 minutes
- Have something just for you (coffee? beer?)
- Drink water
- Make a “ta-da” list of your wins for the day
- Eat dinner
- Accept help
- Rest in daylight
- Do 10 cat cows
- Remind yourself you’re an amazing mom
- Do your hair
- Paint your toe nails
- Take deep breaths
- Meditate (I use Peloton + Headspace)
- Listen to a Podcast
- Blast your favorite song
- Put on lotion that smells delicious
- Have a little dance party with yourself
- Tidy up an area of your room
- Follow a mama account that *lifts you up* on Instagram
- Call a friend, share a “rose” and “thorn” of the day
- Skip the baby’s bath tonight
- Make an easy new recipe
- Call a college friend and catch up
- Write out your birth story
- Wash your face
- Take a nap with your baby
- Shave your legs
- Play a round of Wordscapes
- Sit in silence for 10 minutes
- Have a good cry
- Watch a movie
- Change scenery — go to a different room
- Get dressed In “real” clothes
- Buy a new Audible book and binge it!
- Prime that thing you’ve been eyeing
- Do a load of laundry
- Say no
- Empty out your junk drawer
- Delete 10 apps from your phone
- Let the baby nap on you
- Rewatch your favorite episode of Friends
- Pick up your favorite beverage
- Have a date night with your partner
- Let someone hold the baby while you do you
- Use Shipt or Instacart to get groceries this week
- Ignore the bathroom, it doesn’t need to be cleaned
- Put on makeup
- Get out of the house
- Eat a snack that makes you feel nourished + healthy
- Light a candle or diffuse your favorite oil
- Look through your phone photos from the last month
- Pin feel good mama quotes
- Unfollow 5 people that don’t bring you joy on IG
- Take the day off from tv
- Set up a puzzle and work on It throughout the day
- Roll your feet on a tennis ball
- Give yourself a hand massage
- Schedule a postpartum hair cut
- Ask for help
- Take + share as many baby photos as you want
- Facetime with another mama
- Color or doodle
- Brush your teeth
- EAT THE CAKE
- Do a laundry just so you can wear that shirt again
- Read a book just for fun
- Order your favorite childhood book for the baby
- Find peace knowing your journey will be unique
- Try out a Tik Tok dance just for fun
- Leave the dishes for tomorrow
- Ask your partner to pick up take out and Red Box
- Go for a walk
- Plan something fun to do this weekend as a family
- Eat ice cream out of the pint
- Make an Instagram-worthy charcuterie board for one
- Shut the door, turn off the lights, and just be
- Make a picnic lunch, eat In the yard with your baby
- Buy the pacifier. And use It!
- Ask your partner to take over a night feeding
- Reminder: maternity clothes are still acceptable
- Forgive yourself
- Write down 5 things you’re grateful for
- Look through the photos from your wedding day
- Ask your partner for a long (non-sexual) hug
- Watch your favorite childhood movie
- Check something off your list that’s been nagging you
- Have cereal for dinner
- Say out loud “I am an amazing mom”, repeat
p.s. I made something for you!
One of the most important things about self-care, especially in postpartum, is that you actually do it. You can’t just talk about it. You have to actually do it. And as you can see, when I think about self-care during postpartum, I am not thinking of anything complex. I am thinking about simple things, but often the simple things (like showering), are the first to go because they don’t feel necessary. But they are!
During this season of postpartum, I came up with a list of things that I wanted to do everyday postpartum. Yes, daily. They are very simple. And totally doable. But they are also powerful. They help me feel like me.
Click the image below to download my checklist for daily postpartum self care!