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Help! I Just Had a Baby - Why do I Feel Like I Look 10 Years Older?
As a mom of two little ones, 6 years old and 14 months. I know how it feels to adjust to life after a new baby. You’re more tired than ever, your brain feels fried and you dream wistfully of the days when you could take long, luxurious, uninterrupted showers.
Many new moms feel like they don’t recognize their post-baby faces in the mirror. Sleepless nights, less personal time and hair dye hiatus really do a number on us when we’re enjoying life with the newest little member of our families.
If you feel this way, you’re not alone.
An online survey about post-pregnancy motherhood found that out of 150 women, 65%claimed to be unhappy with their bodies and 64% were less confident about the way they looked.
Manywomen experience physical or emotional changes after welcoming anewborn into the family. Our bodies change, our minds can feel like they’re in a fog, and our normal, pre-baby schedule packs up and takes a vacation for a while.
We can end up feeling like these lifestyle alterations come with less-than-glamorous results and can affect the way we view ourselves.
Why do I feel like I look 10 years older after having a baby?
There are a few factors contributing to our dip in confidence after the arrival of a baby.
Lack of sleep - This is a biggie. All those nightly feedings accompanied with teething, illnesses and work may seem like they’re waging a battle on your gorgeous mug. The resulting dark circles and baggy eyes can be unwelcome additions to your recently expanded family.
And it’s no wonder. The vast majority of mothers are no doubt getting less than the recommended 8 hours of sleep.
And, a UK study suggests that the average new parent is losing 2.9 hours of sleep per night.
The study calculated that this equals out to a sleep loss of:
20.3 hours per week x 52 weeks
= 1,055.6 hours or 44 DAYS in the first year of your child’s life!
No wonder we’re so tired!
Bodily Changes - Of women surveyed, 41% noted increased weight, different body shape, and concern over their tummy as their biggest body issues.
Body shape - Our bodies go through an amazing transformation to accommodate ushering forth the miracle of life. Our hips expand to make way for baby, our tummies stretch, our busts lines grow (and eventually leak), and, oh, the swelling!
Afterwards, however, these changes can hang around for a bit causing us to alter how we feel or how we see ourselves. We might find trouble dressing our newfound figures and longingly visit our pre-pregnancy jeans vowing, “Soon, we shall meet again.”
Not to mention our lack of sleep can zap energy making the idea of a simple workout seem like running up a mountain in a suit of armor.
Hormones - You experience a flood of hormone changes during pregnancy, but they can still be in flux after delivery resulting in SUPER FUN! mood swings, blues, and weight that refuses to leave.
Hair - Aside from the fact that we may have to forego root touch ups and are forced to get reacquainted with some old, grey friends, many women experience some hair loss during and following a pregnancy.
Plus, our new schedules don’t allow much in the way of shower time so our hair can achieve a level of greasiness we never knew was possible. We become so well-acquainted with the messy top knot, we might as well introduce it as our second new child.
This is where dry shampoo can swoop in and save you from tress stress. Make it your between-shower bestie.
Skin - We already mentioned how sleep can affect our skin. But, those pregnancy hormones can bring along another unpleasant companion: acne. “Hooray!,” said no one ever.
And don’t forget our dear friends, stretch marks.
Some women experience Melasma, or “The Mask of Pregnancy” (cue doom music) which can cause dark patches around the forehead, upper lip and cheeks due to a higher hormone levels which causes an increased production of melanin
According to the The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, up to 70% of expectant mothers experience Melasma.
I’ve personally struggled with Melasma with both of my pregnancies, and it is difficult! The sun and heat can darken the melasma, so wear your sunscreen and don't panic if it gets worse after being in some warm temperatures, totally typical.
If you want to reduce or get rid of your Melasma, you can use aggressive topical skin care products that use retinol, to reduce dark spots. I recommend waiting until you are finished breast-feeding and it is the fall or winter. The reason being that some of these products, if they contain retinol, can make your skin sensitive to the sun and during fall and winter, sun exposure is less intense.
I personally don't recommend retinol products during pregnancy or while breast-feeding as a precaution. You should always ask your OB/GYN if a skin care product is safe to use during pregnancy or while breast-feeding.
My favorite solutions?
I used this concealer to cover up dark patches. It’s lightweight and goes on smooth while offering great, illuminating coverage. Plus, it provides SPF protection!
This is great to use for Melasma as it lifts dark spots and evens skin tone. Best used during fall or winter when sun exposure is low. When you do use this, make sure to apply and reapply SPF sunscreen during the day or if you’re in the sun since it can make skin sensitive to sunlight.
Lack of Time - As new moms, we can all attest to the fact that once you have a baby, your regular regimen often goes out the window. At least initially.
And being a mother means there’s less time to invest in ourselves to shop for clothes, work out, or stay on top of our skin care or basic beauty regimens. We may forego showers, mani pedi’s, and regular skin care routines all in the name of new motherhood.
Nutrition - That aforementioned lack of time could also result in lacking nutrition. When you’re caring for a newborn 24 hours a day, have new mom brain fog, and catching sleep where you can, it can be tough to plan and prepare well rounded meals regularly.
Let alone trying to shed some baby weight.
And when we don’t make sure we’re staying hydrated, it can show up on our faces in the form of fine lines and wrinkles. Dehydration can also contribute to your fatigue, so make sure you’re drinking plenty of water so you can operate at your optimum level!
It’s important to take care of ourselves while we’re taking care of our little ones.
My Beauty Tips for New Mommies
Get Some Rest - How? Become best friends with napping. It can be tempting to want to catch up on chores or check social media while your baby is asleep, but a nap will do you some good. One study showed that even a 45-minute nap improved alertness for six hours afterwards.
Even if you can’t fully fall asleep, do something soothing. Lay in a quiet, dark environment, close your eyes or slip on an eye mask (my favorite!) and focus on your breathing.
Try listening to calming music. After my last delivery, I downloaded an app on my phone that plays the sound of ocean waves, and it really helped me relax.
It might also help to silence your phone. I would alert my husband, friends and family about my rest times so they wouldn’t worry if I didn’t answer.
If necessary, place a note on the front door politely asking visitors not to ring the doorbell and knock gently so as to not interrupt nap time.
The bottom line: power down and catch some beauty rest. Your body and mind will thank you!
Beautify From the Inside Out - Enjoy eating healthy foods that will nourish you, give you energy, and provide some added benefits of beautiful, glowing skin. Choosing foods high in antioxidants and vitamins will do good things for your body and your complexion, and high fiber foods will help….ahem….get things moving.
And, of course, make sure to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated! Especially if you’re nursing. Breastfeeding requires you to intake more water and calories.
Get Down and Break a Sweat - Along with shedding some of those pregnancy pounds, exercise boasts a bevy of benefits for new moms.
It strengthens ab and core muscles, which is important post-delivery and will help protect your back with all the lifting and carrying your little one.
Even a quick 20 minute walk can reduce stress, boost energy and promote better sleep. If you have questions, talk to your doc about when you can start working out after delivery and which exercises would be best for you.
Show Yourself Some Love - Here are some of my top picks for taking care of your fab mom self!
Until you can start catching up on sleep, use this lightweight serum to combat dark circles and de-puff tired eyes.
Yes, this is my product and I am totally proud of, and love it! This anti-aging and rejuvenating moisturizer soothes sensitive skin and smells amazing! Perfect for getting that essential moisture and keeping your skin looking beautiful and bright.
Teeth whitening is in instant way to add a youthful effect to your already beautiful smile.
A little peel at home will rejuvenate the skin, smooth lines and refine texture of skin. And with quick results!
This primer reduces the appearance of deep wrinkles and keeps makeup from falling into fine lines to leave skin looking flawless.
Use these toner pads to reduce breakouts, exfoliate and tone skin, and maintain a clear complexion.
Having a new baby can make us feel like we’re running a daily mental and physical marathon.
But we should remember to take moments to care for ourselves. After all, we just went through one of life’s biggest challenges - having a baby - and we owned it! We’re strong, amazing, wonderful and beautiful no matter how we’ve changed or how we’ll continue to transform in this new life of motherhood.
What are some of your favorite new mom beauty tips? Share them with us!