As a new parent, it’s normal for all of your time, attention, and energy to go to your little one. But, you can’t pour from an empty cup. Self-care isn’t selfish when you’re a parent — it’s necessary. 

Self-care can sometimes get a negative reputation because too many people see it as something extravagant or even frivolous. But, it’s really about doing small things every day that boost your well-being. 

The more you practice and prioritize self-care as a new parent, the more time, focus, and energy you’ll have to give your baby. 

Still not convinced? Let’s dig deeper into why it’s important to focus on self-care when you’re a new parent. 

Stress Management

Being a parent for the first time can be one of the most exciting and fulfilling things you’ll ever experience. But, anyone will tell you it’s also bound to be one of the most stressful things you’ll ever go through. 

There’s no denying that adjusting to having kids can be tough. You’re not going to get a lot of sleep for a while. You’re going to make mistakes and question yourself. Your entire schedule might feel like it’s flipped upside down. 

If you let stress take over, you’re going to become more susceptible to burning out, getting irritable, or even falling into depression. 

While self-care can’t completely eliminate stress from your life, it can make it easier to manage. Things like getting enough sleep, practicing mindfulness, and journaling are all great stress-management tools that will make the stress in your life seem less overwhelming. When you’re able to manage stress more effectively, you’ll have a calmer mind, stronger relationships, and a better outlook. 

Asian couple with newborn

Couple looking at their sleeping baby girl, close up

Replenish Your Energy

If you feel like there’s just not enough coffee in the world to keep you up and energized lately, you’re not alone. It’s normal for new parents to not get much sleep. But, it’s important to find ways to rest when you can. 

Consider taking “shifts” with your partner when it comes to caring for the baby at night. Nap when your little one naps. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from family and friends so they can take the baby for a couple of hours while you get some sleep. 

Again, this isn’t a selfish act. When you’re well-rested, you’ll have more energy. The time you do spend with your child will be more fulfilling because you’ll be able to be fully present and attentive to their needs. 

Modeling Healthy Habits

Your baby might not recognize what self-care is right away. But, by making it a part of your everyday routine, you’ll model healthy habits for your child that they’ll start to view as normal from a very young age. 

Normalizing and prioritizing self-care will show your little one the importance of caring for their well-being. That can foster a love of self, and encourage them to practice mental, physical, and emotional wellness for the rest of their lives. 

If you’re not sure where to get started, think of one small thing you can do each day strictly to promote your well-being. It could be 30 minutes of exercise, cooking a healthy meal, or writing in a journal. It won’t take long for you to find a self-care routine that works for you and your schedule. 

Most importantly, don’t hesitate to reach out for parenting therapy. Sometimes, simply talking to someone — whether in your social circle or a mental health professional — can be the best form of self-care if you’re struggling with negative thoughts. The more you take charge of your well-being now, the better you’ll be able to take care of your child every day.