Healthy living

Advice for parents with a new baby – care for yourself with a little TLC

Research shows many therapeutic lifestyle changes (or TLCs) improve mental wellbeing. Not only are they effective, they are also cheap and benefit your physical health too.


All exercise is good for your well-being, the more you do, the better you feel.

Eat well

Consider the foods you choose to eat. Fill your diet with multi-coloured fruits and vegetables. Eat fish for those excellent omega-3 oils.

Spend time in the natural environment

Getting out of the house and into nature has been shown to enhance your thinking, attention, and emotional and spiritual wellbeing. Pop your baby in a baby sling or in the buggy  and head out for a walk, or you can spend time relaxing on a blanket in your local park. 

Nurture your relationships

Good relationships enhance happiness, quality of life, and resilience. Spend time with your partner, your kids, your parents, and your friends. Talk often to your partner. Couples who talk about the changes that are coming before having a baby can be better prepared when thing s get difficult. If difficulties do arise with your partner, find a good time to talk together where you can listen to each other without too much distraction.

Play, laugh and do what you love

Playing and humour appear to lower stress and enhance mood. Artistic pursuits – like music and painting – also produce positive emotions.

Relax and manage your stress

Meditation and muscle relaxation skills can help with anxiety, stress, insomnia and depression. Things like tai chi and yoga can also benefit health and wellbeing. More and more places offer mum and baby yoga classes.

Nurture your spiritual side

Religion or spirituality can help many people with anxiety, stress and depression by providing a sense of community, time to reflect and a chance to be of service.

Contribute to the community

Research suggests people who volunteer are happier and healthier. Simple things like donating clothes or volunteering at your local toy library provide a chance to be part of something bigger than yourself.

Before making major changes to your lifestyle, especially to your diet or exercise routine, be sure to consult your GP or another health professional for advice.

Acknowledgement: These tips have been inspired by the following article: Walsh, R. (2011). Lifestyle and Mental Health. American Pyschologist, 66(7), 579-592.

Women and Newborns Health Service

This publication is provided for education and information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical care. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your healthcare professional. Readers should note that over time currency and completeness of the information may change. All users should seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional for a diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.

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