Mother holding newborn baby feet to her face.

Life with a newborn can feel like a whirlwind. You’re adjusting to new routines, dealing with changes in your body, and learning mommy skills on the fly. What can help now (aside from sleep) is a positive outlook. It can keep you strong and calm, and even help you bond with your baby. Read on to learn how to “think positive” from parents who found joy in the chaos. 

What Is a Positive Outlook and How Can It Help You?

Positivity isn't about always being happy. It’s remaining optimistic, hopeful, and grateful even in challenging times. While positive thinking can sound very “woo woo,” science proves it can help both you and your baby in the following aspects:

  • Physical health. Studies found that optimism can strengthen and even by as much as eight years.
  • Emotional well-being. You reduce stress, anxiety, and feelings of being overwhelmed. You feel more confident and in control even through challenges or changes in your routine.
  • Bonding and attachment. You are more likely to engage in nurturing behaviors like cuddling, talking, and making eye contact with your baby. 
  • Calming your newborn. Even one-month-old babies can and be affected by them. A positive outlook can help you manage your emotions better. In addition, you can further keep your baby relaxed with a gentle massage using Baby Dove Rich Moisture Lotion. This gentle, hypoallergenic, and PH-neutral formula keeps skin smooth and moisturized for up to 24 hours.

How to Maintain a Positive Outlook

The next challenge is staying positive when you’re tired, frazzled, and emotional (the natural state of any first-time mom who hasn’t had any decent sleep in weeks). Here are tips from mommies who’ve been there.

Find pockets of me-time.

“Before I had a baby, I could plan me-time anytime,” said Francine, mom to a nine-month-old. “But when you have a newborn, you’re lucky if you can eat one meal with two hands, much less go to the spa! It was much easier to find pockets of time to just relax and breathe than stick to a fixed schedule.” 

Keep your self-care plan simple and flexible. List down the little things that make you happy and find ways to enjoy them throughout the day.

Francine kept a basket of chocolates and sheet masks next to her breastfeeding chair. She also listens to audiobooks while doing housework. “My husband even upgraded my audiobook subscription because he heard me laughing while listening to books. He said it was worth it basta di ako masungit.”

Take “should” out of your vocabulary.

According to many moms, unsolicited parenting advice is one of their biggest stressors. “It made me feel guilty and pressured,” said Lissa, mom to a toddler. “Once I saw these tips as suggestions instead of rules, I felt happier. I could find my own parenting style instead of trying to be the perfect mom.”

Struggling with the pressure of parenting? Recite positive self-affirmations like, “I am doing my best and it is enough.” You can also listen to guided meditations on YouTube or download apps for your daily dose of positivity.

Expand and nurture your support system.

Sheila got married and had a baby much earlier than the rest of her barkada. Even if they were supportive, they couldn’t relate to her parenting stories. 

Luckily, she found other “mother mentors” who helped her through the first few months– relatives, people from her church, co-workers, and neighbors she met on the playground. Aside from being a source of support, their diverse ages and backgrounds helped widen her perspective. “They have shown me there is more than one way to be a great mom!”

Listen to your body.

Nutrition, sleep and other physical factors can affect your energy levels and mood. To maintain a positive outlook, include self-care in your daily routine.

  • Get at least 30 minutes of physical activity. Exercise releases endorphins (your body’s happiness hormone), reduces stress, and increases energy levels.
  • Eat a balanced diet. Food is fuel. No time to cook? Cook meals in bulk then freeze – it's healthier and cheaper than takeout!
  • Prioritize quality sleep. It’s challenging to get the recommended seven hours of sleep a day when your newborn wakes up every two to four hours. Store breast milk so your partner can help with the midnight feedings, grab power naps throughout the day, or sleep earlier (like 6 or 7 p.m.) so you’re energized for early morning shifts.
  • Schedule downtime. Talk to other family members about sharing household and parenting responsibilities, so you have enough time to rest.

Curate your social media feeds.

You can choose what shows up in your feed. Unfollow people who promote false parenting information, toxic standards, or unrealistic lifestyles. Seek whatever provides a positive influence on your mood and parenting style. If that means watching cute pet videos, that works too!

Is social media making you feel stressed out or pressured (or any of these )? Consider going on a digital detox. If you can’t completely unplug, change your phone settings to limit certain apps or remove notifications. You can also schedule screen time and create “No Phone” areas in your home. 

Practice the “attitude of gratitude.”

Gratitude is linked to happiness and a positive outlook since it helps you relish good experiences and remain hopeful during challenges. Wondering how to express gratitude? Here are some tips from Harvard Health.

  • Write a thank you note at least once a month. Pick one person and send a card, message, or email expressing your appreciation. 
  • Keep a gratitude journal. Every day, write down at least three things that made you happy. Be specific and relive how you felt when it happened to you.
  • Practice mindfulness meditation. This helps you focus on the present (such as the warmth of the sun or a soothing sound) and feel the joy of being alive.

End each day with a pampering routine.

Bedtime pampering routines can help you destress and prep for a good night’s rest, which contributes to a positive outlook. Play relaxing music, light a non-toxic scented candle made from natural waxes, and reach for bath products that make you feel like a queen.

Try Dove Go Fresh Cucumber & Green Tea Body Wash. It has a light, soothing scent that won’t irritate your baby’s sensitive sense of smell, and it keeps skin soft and moisturized all day. If you love floral scents, try Dove Go Fresh Sakura Blossom Body Wash. It contains Sakura and Himalayan sea salt extracts, for skin that smells as good as it feels.

Don’t limit treats to bedtime, either. Filling your day with simple pleasures and short breaks can help you stay positive no matter what happens. It also rewards you for all your hard work. Parenting isn’t easy, but you’re doing a great job. You got this, mama!