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The Brightside - Self-Care Tips for Newborn Parents

The Brightside - Self-Care Tips for Newborn Parents

The Brightside: Self-care tips for newborn parents. Navigating the journey with love and resilience.

Welcoming a newborn into your life is a profoundly joyous experience, but it also comes with a hefty share of new challenges. The sleepless nights, constant feedings, and emotional rollercoaster can take a toll on even the most prepared parents. Amidst the overwhelming demands of caring for a new baby, it’s crucial for parents to prioritise their own wellbeing where possible.

Perinatal depression affects at least 10-20% of women worldwide and approximately one in ten fathers. It’s more than just the “baby blues,” which typically resolve within a couple of weeks. Perinatal depression can last for months and significantly impact a parent’s ability to function.

Symptoms to look out for: 

 - Persistent sadness or low mood beyond that of the “baby blues” 

 - Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed 

 - Fatigue and lack of energy 

 - Changes in sleep patterns (insomnia or excessive sleeping) 

 - Changes in appetite 

 - Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or hopelessness 

 - Difficulty bonding with the baby 

 - Anxiety and panic attacks 

 - Thoughts of self-harm or harm to the baby

Importance of addressing perinatal depression:

Untreated perinatal depression can affect the wellbeing of both the parent and the baby. It can lead to challenges in bonding, delayed cognitive and emotional development in the child, and strained relationships within the family. Seeking help from a healthcare provider is essential for effective management and recovery. Here are a few ways new parents can prioritise their self-care to help prevent burnout and reduce the risk of perinatal and postnatal depression.

1. Sleep when the baby sleeps

This age-old advice is invaluable. While it might be tempting to catch up on chores, try to rest when your baby sleeps to mitigate sleep deprivation.

2. Accept help

Don’t hesitate to accept offers of help from family and friends. Whether it’s cooking a meal, doing laundry, or babysitting, allowing others to assist can significantly lighten your load.

3. Set realistic expectations

A spotless house and a perfectly managed routine are often unrealistic with a newborn. Set manageable goals and be kind to yourself when things don’t go as planned.

4. Stay nourished

Healthy eating can easily fall by the wayside amid the chaos of newborn care. Keep nutritious snacks on hand, and if possible, prepare meals in advance or consider meal delivery services.

5. Take breaks

Short, regular breaks can rejuvenate you. Even a five-minute walk outside, a warm shower, or a brief phone call with a friend can make a significant difference.

6. Connect with other parents

Joining a parent group in person or online can provide support, share experiences, and offer valuable advice. Knowing that others are going through similar experiences can be comforting.

7. Engage in light exercise

Exercise can boost your mood and energy levels. Gentle activities like walking, postpartum yoga, or stretching can help you feel more invigorated and reduce stress.

8. Communicate with your partner

Maintain open communication with your partner about your feelings, needs, and responsibilities. Working together as a team can strengthen your relationship and provide mutual support.

9. Seek professional help

If you’re struggling with your mental health, seek professional support. Therapists, counsellors, and support groups can provide guidance and help you navigate this challenging time. Your local family health clinic, or GP, are the best starting point for seeking help.

In the meantime, here are a few resources that may help:  


Raising Children

Gidget Foundation Australia

Shop uplifting and positive gifts for newborn parents:

Salty Soul Bamboo / Organic Cotton Swaddle
Beneath The Waves Linen Fitted Bassinet Sheet / Changing Pad Cover
Rad Mama Slumber Club Organic Cotton Knit Robe
Rad Dad Tee Washed Black

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