Finding Balance: Meditation for New Moms
When you are a new mom, it can be hard to find time to do routine things
such as sleep, eat and shower—let alone find time to relax. But
studies have shown that incorporating the ancient practice of meditation
into your day can help you curb anxiety, reduce stress, boost your mood
and allow you to find a few minutes for yourself amidst the craziness
of life with a newborn.
Meditation and Self-Care
Any experienced mom will tell you that their first weeks with a newborn
were some of the most exhilarating—and most overwhelming—of
their lives. That’s because fluctuating hormones, the demands of
meeting your baby’s every need 24/7, sleeplessness and your body’s
recovery from childbirth wreak havoc on even the most serene mothers.
Although it may sound counterintuitive, taking good care of yourself enables
you to take better care of your baby—and meditation is a simple,
flexible and free way for you to log some quality, constructive “me” time.
In addition to helping you cope with the demands of motherhood, research
has shown that meditation can keep you mentally sharp, improve insomnia
and even help you manage your eating habits. It also can help you feel
more present and attentive when caring for your baby.
The beauty of meditation for new moms is that it can be done just about
anytime and anywhere with almost no preparation. All you have to do is
set aside as little as 10 minutes of your day to focus on your breathing
and calm your mind.
To get the maximum benefits from meditation, you should plan to do it every
day. You should start by going to a quiet place at a time when you will
not be interrupted (nap times and early mornings are ideal). There are
several different types of meditation that you can try, including:
- Guided meditation, which involves listening to a series of vocal prompts;
- Mantra mediation, which involves mental or verbal repetition of a word
or phrase (sometimes called an affirmation); and
- Relaxation, which involves visualizing each area of your body relaxing.
Although traditional meditation involves either sitting cross-legged on
the floor, sitting in a chair with your feet on the floor or lying down,
you also can meditate while walking or practicing yoga. Focusing on breathing
deeply will help you to relax and calm your mind.
Finding the Meditation Practice for You
As you settle into your meditation routine and figure out what type of
meditation is right for you, you will find it easier to calm your mind
and may be able to meditate for longer periods of time.
However, just because you find a good meditation routine doesn’t
mean you can’t change things up. Meditation is ideal for new moms
because it is adaptable—you can adjust your practice based on how
much time you have, your location, your challenges and how you are feeling each day.
You may find that listening to a particular meditation recording or visualizing
a favorite peaceful location, such as the beach or a cabin in the woods,
helps you to relax. Or, picturing a warm, white light that travels throughout
your body might help to relieve muscle tension caused by carrying and
rocking your baby.
If you are working through a parenting challenge, mentally or verbally
repeating a word or phrase—such as “patience,” “life
will get easier,” “I am the best mother for my child,”
or “I can become the parent I want to be,”—can help
you to tap into your inner strength and get you through tough times.
Reaping the Benefits
Immediately after your meditation session, you should feel calm, relaxed
and refreshed. After several days, you may notice that you are more in
control of your emotions, less frazzled and more compassionate with yourself.
And after a few weeks, your partner and other family members may notice
that you are calmer and more relaxed.
And, perhaps best of all, establishing a meditation practice as a new mom
will create a positive habit that you can adapt as your child grows and
you encounter new parenting challenges—from tantrums to toilet training
to the teenage years and beyond.