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Looking After Yourself

There are often so many demands on new parents, even more so after a premature birth. It is important to take time out and look after yourself.

Sleep / Relaxation

  • Try to catch up on sleep when your baby is sleeping (give yourself permission, take the phone off the hook)
  • If you are having difficulty sleeping, try and find things that work for you, eg. warm bath/shower, herbal tea, listening to music
  • Taking time for relaxation may help decrease stress and anxiety (deep breathing, meditation, progressive muscle relaxation).



  • A great stress buster also. A short walk can do wonders for your energy levels and decrease fatigue. Regular gentle exercise such as walking, swimming, yoga, tai chi and dancing can help relieve muscle tension as well as mental tension.
  • Endorphins (feel good chemicals) are released which can help to elevate mood levels.



  • Allow yourself ‘time out’ each day. Having things in your day that are enjoyable ‘just for you’ may help. This may include reading, gardening, relaxing with a cuppa and catching up with friends.


Social Support

  • You may need additional support in the first few months. Possible sources of support could include: family, friends, neighbours, mother’s groups, church group, community centres, maternal child health nurse and your GP.
  • It may even be helpful to list all the people who would listen and support you if things become stressful or you feel under pressure.


Formula for a Happy Family

  • Mum needs time alone with the children.
  • Dad needs time alone with the children.
  • Mum needs time on her own (work doesn’t count).
  • Dad needs time on his own (work doesn’t count).
  • Mum and Dad (partner) need time together.
  • The family need time all together.
  • All of the above need to happen, both at home and away from home, at least once per fortnight.

Source: Taken from ‘Sex and Intimacy After Childbirth’ by Dr Martien Snellen

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