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Five Simple Ways New Parents Can Practice Mindfulness

As a new parent, you’ve probably been given a list of things that could improve your daily routine and self-care rituals – most of which don’t fit into your difficult schedule. Compared to a few, precious, extra minutes of sleep, self-care is often at the bottom of your list of priorities. Why is there never enough time?! The joys and struggles of parenting may simultaneously involve sleep deprivation and a constant feeling of being overwhelmed. 

The benefits of mindfulness are abundant, but include enhanced sleep, reduced stress, increased productivity, and elevated energy levels. Adding something new to your routine may be daunting, but some of our practices include things already in your day-to-day routines with your baby. 

1.There’s nothing better than holding and snuggling with your child – such a wonderful feeling, and also a great way to practice mindfulness. Bring your senses and awareness to holding your baby. What do you feel, see and smell?

2. Breathe deeply – something you hear often in moments of stress, and something you’re already doing (at least we hope so!) Paying attention to your breath is a great way to practice mindfulness. Try to match your breath to your baby’s, syncing their inhales and exhales to yours. 

3. There are many sensations of feeding (whether by breast or bottle), some uncomfortable or gratifying. There are also joys to burping a baby, hone into the act of patting your baby’s back. Becoming aware of what is present in these moments can help ground you for the rest of your day. 

4. There are many ways to practice mindful activity with your baby. You can note the sensations of placing your baby in the stroller/carrier and the sensations of walking with them in the carrier. While taking a walk, or holding the baby during burp time, pay attention to your feet and your connection to the ground. Take note of the beginning of your step, what actions you’re taking. Pause between steps while your next foot starts moving. Play with walking faster, or slower, with more or less weight. As your awareness will drift to the millions of things on your list, take note of your thoughts and keep on going.

5. The significant task of caring for a child comes with a vast variety of emotions. It can be helpful to hold awareness of your body, and the inevitable thoughts and emotions. See if you can hold this awareness with kindness and compassion for yourself. 

We hope these small and easy practices can help navigate new parenthood more stress-free. If you’re looking for more ways to practice mindfulness, you can join one of our in-person or online courses. If you are an expecting parent or new mama, you can join our brand new 8-week live online program – Expecting Mindfully. Our first session begins on February 13 at 9:30 am. We’d love to see you there!

 

Chetna Suri is a writer for the Centre for Mindfulness Studies and is working to connect more individuals to mindfulness-based practices. She’s a previous student of the MBCT, and MBSR programming. Since graduating from the University of Toronto she’s worked as a digital writer and is passionate about mental health advocacy. 

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