How To Create An Intentional Morning Routine As A New Mom
Though my baby will soon be a year old, I still consider myself a new mom. And a year ago, I would have told you that the words “routine” and “new mom” don’t belong in the same universe, let alone the same sentence. How wrong I was.
Routines are good for us. They’re good for our brains and our mental health, and though new moms often find themselves wading through sleepless nights, early morning feedings, and prioritizing the little one over everything else, a routine can be the boost you need to tackle the unknown. You don’t need to have everything figured out perfectly to reap the benefits, but a few small choices here and there can make the difference between an okay morning and a great morning. Here’s are 10 simple ways to create an intentional morning routine as a new mom.
1. Be Realistic
Ignore the momfluencers on Instagram and TikTok who believe they know better than you. You don’t have to get up at dawn, drink only lemon water, and do five hours of yoga to be in tune with yourself and have a productive morning. Not only is comparison the thief of joy, but it could also instill unrealistic thoughts in you about what your morning routine needs to look like.
Your routine should be suited to you and your baby. If getting up at 10 a.m. consistently is what you both need, then that’s the time your day should start. The same goes for 5 a.m. You alone know what you can accomplish and do confidently. Don’t think that every dish needs to be washed and every load of laundry needs to be done on the same day. Devote your morning to waking up fully and peacefully. There are only so many hours in a day, and those hours can feel even more limited with a newborn. Be realistic, and don’t stress the small stuff.
2. Enlist Help
A little extra assistance during the first few weeks of your little one’s life can help you acclimate to motherhood. For some of us, that means enlisting the help of friends and family, but not all of us are that lucky. Even if it’s hiring a cleaner once a month or a sitter so you can catch up on a nap or go to the grocery store untethered, don’t be afraid to ask. No mom is an island, and it often takes help for us to feel confident and productive in our routine — even if we're reluctant to ask.
3. Do Something Just for You
Many moms suggest waking up before your little one, just so you can have some time to yourself; there’s always time for naps later on. Whether it’s prayer or meditation, light physical activity, or even making yourself a fancy cup of coffee, doing something just for you can jumpstart your day and give you a little taste of "me" time.
4. Make Sure You Eat
Whether or not you’re breastfeeding, nutrition is key to the success of your recovery. You’ve gone through a major physical change, and feeding your body the nutrients it needs can better aid your postpartum health. Your hormones have fluctuated in the last few weeks, and you’re probably feeling stressed or anxious from lack of sleep, stimulating your cortisol production.
Consider starting your day with a balanced breakfast, specifically a source of protein and moderate to limited carbs. Be sure to stay hydrated and keep taking your prenatal vitamin, even though you’re now in your "fourth trimester."
Start your day with a balanced breakfast, specifically a source of protein and moderate to limited carbs.
5. Have Quiet Time
There is plenty of time throughout your day for music, podcasts, TV shows, and playtime, but with a newborn in the house, you don’t want to overstimulate them and disrupt their nap and sleep cycle too much. Spend your morning on a quiet walk, reading a book, or singing softly to them while rocking. It’s the perfect way for baby to wake up, and a comfortable and relaxing way for you to start your morning as well.
6. Get Moving
Physical exercise decreases stress and helps you sleep better, both of which you could use as a new mom. If you had a particularly stressful birth, be sure to check with your care provider beforehand, but light physical activity is recommended for postpartum recovery.
You don’t have to join Crossfit or sign an intimidating gym contract either. Keep it enjoyable and fun. Lift weights, go on walks with your baby, and get outside for some vitamin D.
7. Keep It Simple
Although there’s a pressure to “bounce back” into your pre-baby body, this pressure isn’t usually conducive to a good recovery, especially where mental health is concerned. Every woman is different, meaning each recovery will be different. Some moms lose the weight they’ve gained during pregnancy right away, and for others it could take longer.
Additionally, many moms struggle with postpartum depression or anxiety, while others may not have any issues at all. What’s most important is that you’re checking in with your emotions. Try journaling, even if it’s just a few sentences. Or just make it a priority to take a shower, brush your teeth, and eat regularly. These things can help you get into a simple routine, especially since many of the basics are easily forgotten as a new mom with a baby in the house. Your routine doesn’t have to be scheduled down to the minute to be meaningful and worthwhile.
8. Get Organized
Ideally, your nesting instinct will kick in before your baby arrives, but a good way to streamline your morning routine is to make your home organized. Ensure that your bedroom, nursery, kitchen, and other key places have everything you need before you need it.
Make sure the key places you’ll be spending time have everything you need before you need it.
A good way to put this in practice is to keep a “mom cart” in your bedroom or living room, where most moms live during the first few weeks with a newborn. Stock a three-tiered cart with everything you’ll need: diapers, wipes, and diaper cream for the baby, a water bottle for you, snacks if you’re breastfeeding, and other necessary items like clean nursing bras, bottles, pacifiers, nursing pads, blankets, socks, and burp cloths. Customize your mom cart to your desire, keep your most-used items stocked and replenished frequently, and let your worries float away.
9. Keep Outside Pressure to a Minimum
All of your friends and family will want to descend upon your house to see your new addition. And while their snuggles, meals, and extra pairs of hands might be welcome on some days, other days, you might not be feeling it as much. Ask for the help you need, but keep the rest to a minimum. If you prefer, you can even designate a two-hour window in the morning or afternoon for your visitors to come by. This keeps friends and random aunts from showing up unexpectedly (in an ideal world) and allows you to dedicate your morning routine to just yourself and your baby.
10. Limit the Bad, Accentuate the Good
If you know that social media or watching the news will trigger a wave of anxiety, keep the TV off and your phone in another room for at least a few hours each morning. Soak up contact naps and feeding times, and leave the chores for your husband or at least until the afternoon. Read or listen to an audiobook, hydrate frequently, and take care of both your mind and your body. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the newness of motherhood, remember that you’re not expected to know what to do right away. Much of it will come with time, and there is a learning curve to having a baby. Soak up the sweet sights, smells, and sounds, and cherish your early days as a mom.
There is no right or wrong way to go about your mornings as a new mom. Mornings can be difficult after sleepless nights and postpartum hormones wreaking havoc on your body, but the time to start building routines is early. We know that routines boost our cognitive function as well as our confidence, and if there’s one thing we need as new moms, it’s self-assurance in our own instinctual capabilities.
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