During the first few weeks after your baby has made her grand entrance into the world, getting gussied up — or even simply changing out of your sweat pants and old maternity shirt — may be the last thing on your priority list.
Postpartum survival tips for new moms
Before you let your new postpartum ensemble get the best of you, check out these three reasons new moms should get dressed, from avoiding postpartum depression to adjusting to having a baby.
Mood-booster for postpartum mothers
There's no magic formula that determines which postpartum mother will be affected by the baby blues, but when you take the time to get dressed, not only will your partner appreciate it but you may be lessening your chances of falling prone to postpartum depression, too. "It's important to take time for self-care when taking care of a newborn, urges Pec Indman, Ed.D., MFT. "That means showering, brushing your teeth and getting dressed. Mothering and parenting are very real jobs and early on are repetitive and without thanks. Acting as if you deserve the time for yourself, and taking the time for yourself, even if you don't feel deserving, can improve mood."
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Morning marker when adjusting to having a baby
When your days and nights consist of every-two-hour feedings, it can be tough to establish when your morning really begins. But, even if you don't have time to take a shower, getting dressed can help you feel like you're motivated to tackle the day. "It is important for new moms to not spend a lot of time alone, with the baby, in their sweats and scrunchies," Cammi Balleck Ph.D. warns. "Getting dressed, fixing hair and putting on makeup are great ways to fill your own gas tank each morning and help get you through the day. When we keep our gas tanks full it releases endorphins — our feel good happy brain chemicals — it helps new moms connect with who they were before baby and helps them feel normal."
A sense of daily accomplishment
During a time when all of the rest of your decisions are based on your newborn's needs, getting dressed for the day can become an emotional win in your list of daily to-dos. "During the postpartum period, everything is a whirlwind. With a new baby to take care of, things that used to be necessities suddenly become luxuries," says Dr. Juli Fraga. "Sometimes getting dressed can ensure a feeling of being in control of one aspect of your day when everything else is up in the air. It's a wonderful way to incorporate some self-care, which goes a long way to protect your own well-being when much of your care is going to your baby."
While these three main reasons new moms should get dressed can do wonders for your emotional well-being, feeling overly emotional, fragile or moody beyond your first month as a postpartum mother may go beyond simply needing time to adjust to having a baby. Do not wait to talk to your physician about these extended baby blues to rule out postpartum depression — both you and your baby deserve a happy mommy.
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