8 Things to Do When You're Overwhelmed as a New Mom

Strategies to Help You Feel Better When You're Stressed

There’s nothing that can prepare you for life as a new mom. Even when your friends try to explain the mid-night wake-ups, the crying, the diapering, and the nursing, it’s not something that can truly understand until you experience it yourself. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed as a new mom. That’s why it’s vital to take care of yourself. In the first few weeks, a mother needs to focus simply on herself and her baby. Over time, things will start to get easier.


Limit Visits From Friends and Family

Childbirth is a major ordeal for your body. You need time to recover from the difficult process while also figuring out how to care for this new little being in your life. Although you might feel rude saying no to those who are excited to see your baby, you need to take time to focus on yourself and the baby. It’s okay to tell people that you’d prefer that they wait and not visit until you’re feeling ready.


Ask Visitors to Pitch In

It’s likely that people will ask if you need anything. Don’t be afraid to speak up and ask for help while you care for your newborn's basic needs. Your loved ones truly want to help, and if asking them to stop to pick up a rotisserie chicken for dinner is helpful, don’t hesitate to ask.

Be willing to let people help out with a few household chores or watch the baby if they offer. Putting your dishes away for you while you rest on the couch or holding the baby while you take a shower can mean a lot when you’re feeling overwhelmed.


Make Meals Easier

Even if you packed your freezer with meals before the baby was born, food will eventually run out and you’re going to be faced with trying to cook while you’re running on just a few hours of sleep.

Pizza is delicious, but it’s not necessarily the best choice. If financially feasible, sign up for a meal delivery service for a month or even longer. It removes the need to think about what’s for dinner and cuts out a lot of grocery shopping. Meals are healthy and tasty—and you can feel like you cooked a little bit.


Simplify Your Routine

Before the baby, you might have had a seven-step routine for getting ready to leave the house—one that included fashion, hair, makeup, accessories and more. Now, you might still have a seven-step routine, but it’s going to be focused around prepping bottles, packing diapers, and finding lost socks.

To prevent yourself from becoming completely overwhelmed, think about what part of the pre-mom routine was most important to you. I

If it’s makeup that keeps you feeling like a human being, throw your hair into a pony and throw on some yoga pants—but take time to apply the foundation and mascara. Likewise, it might be blow-drying your hair that allows you to feel like you’re somewhat put together, so try to get to that task every couple of days. Don’t forget that you’re still a person, and you’re allowed to take 10 minutes to put yourself together.


Find Your Tribe

If you ask veteran mothers what was most valuable during their child’s infant years, many will offer the same answer: support. Of course, already-loved family and friends can provide support, but there’s something about finding other moms who are in the thick of it right along with you.

Find a new moms support group, either online (there are many closed groups on Facebook, meaning you can ask questions with the assurance that they won’t show up on your newsfeed) or in-person. Check the hospital’s website to see if they host any support groups or ask around—those who have been in your shoes might have local groups to recommend.


Relax Your Housecleaning Standards

While you don’t want anything attracting bugs or rodents, too many moms stress that their once-picture-perfect home is now overrun with baby things. Pare down on baby items by putting some in storage and let the rest go. No one expects the parents of an infant to have a pristine home.


Make Time to Exercise

You need to be cleared to exercise if you’re still in the early days after giving birth. But most new moms can walk as much as they would like.

There’s something about tucking the baby into a carrier, so she’s close to your chest, and getting out into the fresh air. If it’s winter, you can still tuck her in—just hop on a stationary bike or treadmill. There’s a good chance that the motion of you walking or spinning will put the baby to sleep.

If you’re aching to get back to the weight room or to your favorite step class, check into gyms with childcare. Most will take babies as early as 12 weeks—and the sooner you go, the more comfortable your little one will be in their care.


Know the Signs of Being Overwhelmed

Many new moms describe their early days as the “most magical time of their lives”—and hearing those emotions from others can make you feel like there’s something defective with you if you start to feel overwhelmed.

Rest assured, there is nothing wrong with you. It’s just that those who are having a harder time aren’t as outspoken as those who are enjoying every moment. If you feel overwhelmed by the stress of parenting and you don’t find much joy in daily life, seek professional help.

Postpartum depression—or even the “baby blues”—are much more common than anyone realizes. Research shows that as many as 19 percent of new moms experience depression after giving birth. Postpartum depression can appear up to a year after the baby is born, so don’t dismiss the possibility if you’re six months in and just start to feel the mental pains of it all.

A Word From Verywell

Although you have just added a new, important role in your life, don’t forget who you were before you had a baby. Every so often, hand the baby over to a spouse, parent, sibling, or trusted friend and take a little time to connect with pre-baby you—it’s worth it.

2 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Exercise After Pregnancy.

  2. O'hara MW, Mccabe JE. Postpartum depression: current status and future directions. Annu Rev Clin Psychol. 2013;9:379-407. doi:10.1146/annurev-clinpsy-050212-185612

Additional Reading

By Amy Morin, LCSW
Amy Morin, LCSW, is the Editor-in-Chief of Verywell Mind. She's also a psychotherapist, an international bestselling author of books on mental strength and host of The Verywell Mind Podcast. She delivered one of the most popular TEDx talks of all time.