It’s ok to be a little bit selfish
Natalie Smith is a mama on a mission. Determined to make fashion accessible for breastfeeding mums, Natalie founded successful brand Mothers Love Fashion. I didn't discover MLF until post BF, but her pieces are awesome: practical and ones that you'd actually want to wear. Natalie started her business as her bit of 'me' time and here she tells us why it was important to her.
Thinking about yourself when you're a mum isn't something that comes easily to most of us. It's only natural that our babies come first and take up most (if not all) of our time and our headspace, especially in the early, newborn days and weeks. But looking back at my first year as a mum, I don't think I looked after myself as much as I should have.
That’s why I know all new mums should try and make some time (however small) for themselves. What is it you love? Music? Reading? Swimming? Shopping? What makes you feel good about yourself? Getting your hair done? New clothes? A bike ride?
Whatever it is that makes you feel like you again, try to gradually get it back into your life. You'll feel better for it, honestly! I'm a mum of one, and now that my little one is a toddler I can look back on the early months and admit that I neglected myself, and my own wellbeing a lot.
Not enough rest or sleep, not enough help (the offers were there, but I was a bit of a control freak and found it hard to leave my little one). Not enough exercise (oh my poor pelvic floor will never forgive me - I'm paying for that now that I've got a bad cold - sneezing and coughing will never be the same!)
For me, my ME time came in the form of my idea for my business, Mothers Love Fashion, which was started after a family day out with my husband and little one when she was three months old. It was a beautiful spring day, and we had a lovely day out. Pub lunch, park, walk along the river - but I really struggled to find something nice to wear that I could breastfeed in that wasn't my usual day to day baggy top and jeans combo. I wore a ‘nursing’ dress, but it was also a maternity dress so it was baggy, and frumpy and I didn’t feel like myself.
By that point, breastfeeding was established and getting easier (even in public), sleep was getting slightly better (or at least I'd got used to the lack of), and I was getting back to my old self. I had a bit of a light bulb moment, realising I was ready to start doing the things I loved again. To look after myself and to go out with pride and confidence in the way I looked.
That's what prompted me to start trying to find some time for myself, and to design our breastfeeding jumpsuits and dresses!
Everyone is different and deals with the adjustment to motherhood in different ways and in their own time. For me, once I started going out with friends more, having more quality time with my husband, and then later going back to work, I felt more confident and like the old me and I actually liked that. I realised that I can still be a good mum (maybe even a better mum) if I have some time for myself and look after myself. So go on, be a tiny bit selfish, treat yourself to whatever it is that makes you smile.
You deserve it!
Natalie is the founder of Mother Loves Fasion a mama-founded brand that’s dedicated to creating cool, stylish clothes for breastfeeding mums.
At &Breathe Postnatal we run retreats and events specifically designed to to help new parents come up for air. Check out our week long retreats in France and our 24hr retreats in the UK