This content reflects the views of the individual blogger and is not intended to advise you about your health. Always seek advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare professionals.
Bringing a baby home from hospital is one of the most truly awesome and terrifying experiences you will ever have; spectacular, yes; but utterly terrifying at the same time. So if you suffer from a chronic illness, like psoriasis, on top of all that, it becomes one big, hotbed for stress, anxiety and ignoring your own self-care.
I have some tips on how to look after yourself AND baby, through the crazy newborn phase.
1. Remember to eat and drink
This seems blindingly obvious, but you would not believe how far down the list it goes when baby needs all your attention. It goes for partners too. If you are busy feeding a baby or struggling to establish breastfeeding, you will invariably put everything else off until you manage to feed this tiny human. Please remember, you will be of no use to them if you are cranky and ravenous. You have to take care of you too. Make a pact with your partner to remind each other to eat and drink. Ask friends and family to bring something ready-made food or dishes for the freezer in exchange for baby hugs. If you are trapped under a baby most of the day, make sure you always have a topped up bottle of water to hand and some, easy-to-open-one-handed, snacks near your sofa and bed.
2. Remember to prep
I like to call mine ‘Mum Stations’ but you can call them what you like; little baskets that have everything you might need, strategically placed around your house. My bedside table is a station. The footstool in our living room is a station. The nursery changing unit is an obvious station. And the changing bag is a mobile one. In these places you will have the essential things for baby – nappies, wipes, cream, hand sanitizer, nappy sacks, muslin cloths, bibs, pacifier etc. But we aren’t just looking after baby, we are looking after you too. So make sure you have everything you need. I’ve already mentioned water and snacks. Other useful things might include daily medication, moisturiser, hand cream, lip balm, charger, headphones, tissues etc. If you see your emollients and your medication in these easy-to-reach stations, you will be more likely to remember to use them.
3. Remember your appointments
It is all too easy to lose track of days and times in the first months of parenthood. It is very tempting to stay holed up in your house and to get lost in this newborn bubble. Slowly but surely real life will start to creep back in. You will have GP check-ups or dermatologist appointments to attend. If it is in the particularly early days it would be completely understandable to phone and rearrange your appointment for when you feel more able to get out of the house. However, do not cancel altogether and then forget to get yourself seen. Keeping your appointment is crucial to ensure you are still on the correct treatment plan, to monitor any changes to your skin and to schedule any future tests or treatments.
4. Remember your prescription
If you receive your treatment on repeat prescription, ask if your pharmacy have text/email alerts to ensure you don’t miss your prescription when it’s ready. It is also a great idea to take people up on their offers of help and ask someone nicely if they would collect it for you.
5. Remember to sleep
As a new parent, or parent to be, you will have heard this numerous times but try to sleep when the baby sleeps. Yes you will want to stare at them – a LOT! But this is valuable time to help you recuperate and look after yourself. It doesn’t have to be a deep-sleep, but just giving your body some time to lie down and rest will be a welcome break. Granted you also need to fit in going to the loo, grabbing a drink, eating some food, replying to texts, having a shower, brushing your teeth and putting on a washing etc. All this can definitely take a back seat for sleep (as long as you’ve eaten)!
6. Remember you are not alone
“Raising a child takes a village”. How true! You will have midwives calling on you in the first few days to check on you and baby. Make sure to be candid with them about how you are feeling and discuss any issues or concerns you may have, no matter how trivial you think they are. After the midwife, you get a health visitor to check on the baby, but they are also there to support you. They are great for asking advice and generally unloading your problems to a sympathetic ear, they have heard it all before. And of course your friends and family who will no doubt be eager to help. You may need them for practical help around the house, like cleaning and cooking so you can tend to baby or you may need them for more emotional support. Whoever you turn to, make sure to be honest with them and if things are feeling too much, always seek help.
7. Remember to schedule grooming
I mean this in the loosest term possible. Grabbing 5 minutes to have a quick shower and brush your teeth forces you to do something for yourself. You will always feel better once you’re clean, even if it only means getting out of old pyjamas into fresh ones. Also a perfect time to check your skin and put on some soothing moisturiser to keep your skin hydrated.
UK/IE MAT-14869 Date of Preparation: January 2018
Blog post developed in partnership with LEO Pharma.