As a Newborn Care Specialist, it can be challenging to remember the importance of self-care. But taking good care of yourself is the single most important thing you can do after taking care of your client’s newborn baby.

The Importance of Self-Care

Working as a Newborn Care Specialist or Doula is an incredibly rewarding job. You get to interact on a daily basis with beautiful babies as they and their parents adapt to their new life together. For anyone who understands the magic of cuddling a tiny infant, the rewards of this job are no mystery.

However, it is also hard work. During your working hours, you are solely responsible for your client’s baby, and newborns can be quite demanding. They don’t care if you need to use the restroom or if you haven’t had a chance to eat. They want and need what they want and need on their own schedule, with no regard for yours.

Additionally, it is very common for NCS’s to work overnight or in jobs that go 24/7. If you aren’t proactive about finding ways to take good care of yourself, you can easily end up suffering from sleep deprivation and other health issues before long.

The Perils of Sleep Deprivation

People often shrug off the importance of sleep. They may feel cranky and tired, but they pour a cup of coffee and rally forward, perhaps with a back-handed promise to “make up for it later.” But sleep deprivation can lead to serious issues more quickly than you might expect. Not only can it harm your mental well-being with bouts of depression and a loss of mental acuity, but it can affect you physically. Insufficient sleep has been linked to an increased risk of developing diabetes and cancer, too!

Why it’s important to take care of yourself

Every human needs relaxation, enjoyment, and comfort. If you don’t take the time to nurture yourself, it undermines your quality of life, and it may even have a negative impact on your longevity. Self-care is vital to managing your own stress levels and maintaining your health. It is also the best thing you can do for the people who count on you. If you wear yourself down to nothing, you have nothing to give to anyone else, including your clients and their newborn babies!

Self-Care Tips for Newborn Care Specialists

1. Sleep When the Baby Sleeps

This advice is particularly important if you work 24/7 shifts. Just as new moms are advised, sleep when the baby sleeps (or when the newborn is spending time with parents) until you have 7 to 9 hours of good sleep each day.

2. Get at Least 30 minutes of Meaningful Activity Each Day

You may feel that you are busy enough with all your NCS responsibilities. But it is still important to get 30 minutes of meaningful and sustained activity. Whether you do some yoga or subscribe to a service like Daily Burn or simply take the baby out for a walk in a stroller, your body will thank you.

3. Eat the Healthiest Diet Possible

This can be challenging, depending on the dietary habits of your clients – especially if you work 24/7 positions. But most people are completely understanding if you wish to purchase your own food. If your diet is different from your clients, ask for a special place in the refrigerator to leave your food.

4. Take Time Each Day for Favorite Activities

Even on 24/7 jobs, you are almost certain to have a little time each day when you don’t need to catch up on sleep. Read a book. Knit a scarf. Play a video game or watch a TV show you enjoy. Whatever you choose, just spend time doing something enjoyable that relaxes and recharges you.

5. Connect with Others

Spend some time with friends on your day off. If you travel for your job and are in an unfamiliar area, you can still get out into the world. When you have a few hours off (and you don’t need to catch up on sleep), take in a movie or spend time at a library or the park. Call someone you love. Even spending time on Social Media can give you the chance to communicate with others and reduce feelings of isolation.

Taking good care of yourself is important, especially when your job is taking care of others. Sufficient sleep, proper nutrition and activity, and stress-relieving downtime are all profoundly important to your mental and physical well-being. Not only is proper self-care important for you, but it is also the best thing you can do for your client and their newborns.