Sleep while the baby is sleeping...how many times is a new mom given this advice? During the day there are lots of other things to do while the baby sleeps including practicing a mom-friendly routine of self-care.
First, take a shower! Take advantage of baby's first nap by hopping in the shower! For those who can't bear to be away from their little one, putting them in a cradle in the bathroom is a great way to keep the baby close. Also, try to keep moving so you can care for your skin and teeth and maybe even get some makeup on.
Next, get ready to leave the house. Use baby's second nap to get completely prepared to walk out the door. That was when he or she wakes, the baby can be quickly fed, changed, and ready to go while still in a good post-nap mood.
If you don't have a specific reason to leave the house, try just going for a walk. Whether in the stroller or carrier, when they get moving, babies conk right out. Try and wait until they're tired, but not yet cranky to walk out the door. It's a great way to get exercise and some sunshine, or even just get some errands done, while simultaneously soothing the newborn. If you know that the baby will be hungry after the nap, try to plan the journey so that you end up somewhere that you can feed them.
Self-care might not always involve caring for just the self at all. Your relationships still matter! After having a tiny baby full of demands, you'll realize what a challenge this can be. Even though you may devote more of your time to the baby right now, strive to prioritize your marriage, dating life, partnership, friendships, everything. This includes carving out time for romance and small social gatherings.
Obviously, there are times when you absolutely must take a nap. And at those times, you should do it! But don't feel like you're limited by your baby's sleeping time...instead, take advantage of it! You'll feel better and more productive, and even if you're kind of sleep deprived for a while, there's a light at the end of the tunnel that's coming sooner than you think!