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For moms, the term “self care” can seem indulgent. We tell ourselves we’re too busy caring for our little ones to care for ourselves. We often put our own self care needs on hold to prioritize the needs of our families. But there is nothing that says one needs to be selfless in order to be a good mother.
When you have a baby in the NICU, these feelings are amplified. Parents strive to spend as much time at the bedside as possible, taking advantage of the small acts of care they can do, such as feedings, diaper changes and skin-to-skin care. They fear leaving their baby’s bedside, should the unthinkable happen.
NICU and bereaved mom and author Natalie Estelle knows this feeling all too well. Estelle delivered her micro preemie daughter just nine months after a devastating stillbirth. Today she strives to help advocate for the mental health and well being of parents in the NICU. Her work led her to release a new book, 52 Self-Care Tips for NICU Moms.
52 Self-Care Tips for NICU Moms is a quick, easily-digestible read, perfect for the NICU mom who doesn’t have a ton of time or mental energy to devote to a lengthy self-help book. Estelle’s tips are quick, to the point, and include the reasons behind each tip.
Tip 14: Meditate
Sit and center yourself quietly for at least 10 minutes a day so you can be fully present for the remainder of the day.
Benefit: Meditation should become a part of your daily routine. It helps clear your mind and prepare you for what’s ahead – your mind, body, and soul will thank you.Natalie Estelle, 52 Self-Care Tips for NICU Moms
Estelle’s tips range from practical, like drink water, exercise and eat healthy, to the more luxurious. She encourages moms to take opportunities to pamper themselves, no matter how small. Get a haircut. Take time to participate in a favorite activity, like crafting or reading. Buy yourself that new journal you’ve been eyeing – and then use it to journal through your NICU stay (another self-care tip from Estelle!).
Estelle’s 52 tips also include advice for moms (and dads) to help navigate the NICU journey that only a fellow NICU parent would know. Having a routine, taking notes and learning to advocate for you baby are all things that will help make the NICU journey a little smoother.
Tip 28: NICU Space
Personalize your NICU space. Bring a picture of you, your spouse and siblings, stuffed animals (not to be placed in the isolette/crib), and notes of well wishes and love to place in the isolette area. You can even bring some soothing music to play. Make it your own.
Benefit: Personalizing your baby’s space will make you feel much better and bringing photos of family members can help the baby become accustomed to your faces.Natalie Estelle, 52 Self-Care Tips for NICU Moms
Natalie Estelle’s 52 Self-Care Tips for NICU Moms is a quick, easy read that is chock full of useful, practical and fun tips to help make the NICU journey a little easier. It makes a perfect gift for a NICU mom in your life. The book is available for Kindle on Amazon, and a hard copy will be available later this summer at mrsnatalieestelle.com.
We were provided a complimentary copy of 52 Self-Care Tips for NICU Moms for review.