There’s nothing that makes you simultaneously need time for yourself and completely lack time for yourself like becoming a new mom.
Luckily, journaling can help you take care of yourself and navigate the ups and downs of becoming a mom.
Different journaling methods can help you track your emotions, keep a record of memories with your new baby, or even give you a safe place to record your worries and frustrations. In short, you can use journaling to alleviate some of the struggles you may come across navigating the uncharted waters of becoming mom.
From journaling one sentence a day to creating crafty and colorful memory pages, there’s a journaling method that will work for any new mom. Keep reading to learn more about different ways to incorporate journaling into your mom life, even if you have basically no time at all.
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Benefits of journaling for new moms
Journaling has many benefits. These benefits are available to anyone, not just moms, but are especially helpful for new moms.
Potential benefits of journaling include:
- Improving your mood
- Boosting your sense of well-being
- Calming your mind
- Releasing pent-up feelings and stress
- A chance to express your creativity
- Exploring and labeling your emotions (Research shows that simply naming your emotions can help tame them. Learn more in the book The Whole Brained Child)
- Acknowledging your successes and progress
- Reducing rumination and worrying
- Considering your options and planning a course of action
- Tracking cause and effect
- Increasing your optimism and happiness when you practice gratitude journaling
Journaling is most beneficial when you journal consistently – at least several times a week, if not every day. You do not have to spend a lot of time on your journal for it to be effective. Journaling can take as little as five minutes a day. As long as you’re consistent, you’ll still see benefits.
Keep a pregnancy journal
Before becoming pregnant, I imaged I would feel strong, powerful, and generally super amazing because I’d be creating a new human being inside my body. Creating an entire person is pretty incredible!
Instead, quite honestly, I mostly felt scared and vulnerable. I had a healthy, normal pregnancy and a healthy baby, but I lost so much sleep worrying about every little thing.
Between various stressors, hormones, and getting ready for your baby, you may have surprisingly deep (and wildly varied) emotions that you’ve never felt before while you’re pregnant.
I really wish I’d understood the power of journaling when I was pregnant with my daughter. Starting a pregnancy journal can help you in several ways.
Starting to journal with a few sentences a day while you’re pregnant can later become a great method of reflecting on how you felt while pregnant.
If you’re feeling stressed or anxious, journaling can help calm your mind. Gratitude journaling is particularly powerful and can shift your focus away from your one zillion fears (seriously, just stop reading Mums Net and Babycenter discussion boards) and onto the many things you have to be grateful for.
It’s also useful to record how you feel at different times when you’re pregnant to understand your own emotional cycles and triggers. Especially if you plan to get pregnant again later on, it’s extremely useful to look back and remember what it was like to be pregnant and how you might prepare differently the second time around.
Journaling while pregnant is the perfect opportunity to reflect on and record the goals you have for your future family, how you plan to parent, and what parts of raising a child you’re most excited for.
Looking back through these journal entries you created while pregnant, you’ll probably be amazed at how far you’ve come as a new mom and how different being a parent is from what you expected, and how much more rewarding it is to raise a new baby.
Keeping a pregnancy journal isn’t just sentimental – it’s also practical.
Your pregnancy journal can also help you keep track of the items you have already received for you baby and what you still need to buy, log important information about your prenatal visits (or to share with your provider at your visits), create your birth plan, and more.
Shopping while pregnant can be tiring and take valuable time you’d rather spend browsing Pinterest for nursery ideas (or taking a nap). Save time when you snag this printable pregnancy planner and journal for the very low price of $7.99 today.
Your new pregnancy planner includes everything you need to track your pregnancy, journal your thoughts, keep track of prenatal appointments, and celebrate your progress. Catch a glimpse of every page that’s inside (including two cover options and adorable baby animals) when you watch the video below:
You can click over the product page for all the details, or save time and checkout below. Don’t worry – even though this is a digital product, I’m proud to offer a satisfaction guarantee and full refunds within 14 days in the unlikely event that you’re unsatisfied with the journal.
How to find time to journal with a baby
Once you have your baby, your journaling routine will necessarily shift.
For the first few days at home, don’t stress about writing in your journal. It’s still beneficial if you have the chance, but there’s no need to make it a priority. Take care of yourself, recover, and get to know your new baby.
Once you feel up to it, journaling is a great way to practice self-care as a new mom. It can be a fun and easy outlet to express your emotions and create more records of this important time in your life.
The first thing everyone else will tell you is that you can try journaling for a few minutes in the morning or a few minutes when your baby is down for a nap.
I’m going to be real with you – “sleep while the baby sleeps” is probably the most worthless, frustrating advice I ever received as a new mom. I’m not someone who falls asleep easily, even when I’m tired, and I had other things to do (like use the bathroom!) while my daughter was napping.
Like me, you may not want to try to fall asleep whenever your baby naps. You still have your own things to do!
However, you can still use a one line a day journal or a simple gratitude journal to jot down a few lines. Even a simple journaling practice can help you take care of yourself.
You don’t have to wait for Baby to be down in order to journal. I did basically everything while wearing my daughter in a soft carrier (either a K’Tan or a ring sling) for the first three months. Try journaling while baby wearing, whether or not you little one is asleep!
You can also get down on the floor and journal during tummy time. Having a familiar face to look at will encourage your baby to life her head and you’ll get a moment to jot down your thoughts.
Remember that a few words is enough. You don’t have to write a novel each day – just a sentence or two will help you receive the benefits of journaling.
Another way to find time for journaling as a new mom is to use a digital planner or journal.
Time for more real talk: you’ll probably spend way more time on your phone than you expect. My daughter nursed a zillion hours a day as a newborn. Scrolling on my phone helped me feel somewhat connected to the outside world when I just didn’t feel like reading on my Kindle anymore.
Using a digital planner or a digital notebook as a journal gives you the opportunity to journal with a more “real life” experience than simply using your notes app. It’s portable and easy to do, even when your baby is sleeping on you.
If you want to give digital planning and journaling a try, download a free digital planner in this post.
Keeping a baby memory journal
As a new mom, you get to experience first steps, first words, first smiles, and all types of other new experiences you get to have as a new mom.
These initial experiences you have as a new parent are wonderful memories you’ll want to look back on, and journaling is the perfect place to record those memories.
You can dedicate a new journal to your baby’s memory book or set aside or pages in the journal you currently use to glue down photos, memorabilia, and other keepsakes of special days or events you have as a new mom. Tape down or glue a few special items from the day and write out a few sentences that describe what you did and how you felt.
While many moms have memories of their new baby that they’ll never forget, sometimes in the hustle and bustle of every day with a new baby, recording some special memories is a great way to remember the details that you may not have otherwise remembered.
When you keep these special memories in a journal, you can look through with your kids when they’re older. I enjoy looking through my baby book and sharing it with my daughter. (And I felt bad
Recording the exact day that your baby took their first steps or said their first word makes the moment even more special.
Documenting your memories keeps them from fading too quickly, and it can help you feel even more grateful for them. I can’t remember whether my daughter’s first word was “up” or “dog.” Learn from my mistakes and write these little things down! You’ll be so glad you did.
Taking the time to slow down and keep track of your journal of the different events you and your baby had that day or that week can help you keep those positive moments in the front of your mind when you face struggles or frustrations as a new mom.
Use journaling as an emotional outlet
Many new moms face an onslaught of emotions as they navigate how to take care of their new baby.
There are excitement and love that fills the home when you bring home your baby, but there can also be frustration, fatigue, sadness, and tons of hormones.
This is where journaling can become a useful outlet for you to record and let go of the different emotions you’re facing.
Emotions run high as a new mom. Rather than lashing out or feeling like you’re bottling up your emotions too much because you’re so busy taking care of your baby, journaling is a serene and private way to release any emotions you want to get off your chest.
When new moms feel overwhelmed, there’s not often a quick way to release those pent-up emotions. Journaling provides an immediate and accessible way to write down how you feel quickly.
Simply carrying around a small notebook in your diaper bag or keeping a few small notebooks around your house to quickly grab when you need to are easy ways to make it easy to journal whenever the mood or need strikes.
Journaling your emotions as a new mom is also a useful way to track what events trigger different emotions.
For example, through journaling you may figure out that your mood starts significantly better when you’re able to start your day with a cup of coffee by yourself before your baby wakes up.
Journaling the different emotional patterns you have may give you the information necessary to set yourself up for a more relaxed or energized day.
It can also help you have a record of your feelings if you’re concerned and want to talk to your doctor. People are shy about mentioning postpartum depression and anxiety, but they are real and happen to a surprisingly large number of women.
Try journaling your emotions as a new mom whenever you get the chance. It can help you release any feelings you want to let go of, track your own emotional cycles, and learn more about how to prepare as best you can to feel the best for your new baby.
Brain dump journaling for new moms
While trying to start the habit of journaling, it may seem like another thing you need to add to your to-do list. Brain dumps are a great way to clear your mind without the “stress” of a formal journal.
Many new moms find it helpful to create brain-dump pages in their journals.
To do a brain dump, also called a mind sweep, write down everything that’s on your mind. Don’t worry about whether it’s listed in an order that makes sense or whether the page is organized. You can organize it later! Getting everything out of your head and onto paper is a great way to calm your mind.
Writing things down means you don’t have to be responsible for remembering it, and as a new mom, you might find yourself short on memory. Here are some things you can include on the pages where you want to purge everything from your brain onto your brain-dump pages:
- A general to-do list
- Things you want fixing around the house
- Anything you notice that you’d like to deep clean (at a later date, of course)
- Possible updates you want to make at home
- Chores you’d like to save for “when you have more time”
- DIY projects you see elsewhere that you’d like to do
After writing down everything in your journal and seeing all the different tasks together, it becomes easier to pick out the high-priority tasks or the ones that need to get done first. From this page in your journal, you can also discern which tasks are unnecessary or can be done later to make your schedule more efficient.
Because brain dumps can get messy, you may want to keep a small journal or notepad easily available for your brain dumps and keep a separate notebook for your “regular” journal or memory book.
For more information on a brain dump, and a free printable brain dump template, check out this post on how to do a brain dump.
Using journaling prompts for new moms
If you’ve never journaled before, it can seem a little daunting. On top of that, the importance of being a good parent can translate into a lot of pressure, and it can be quite intimidating to feel like you need to put the good, bad, and the surprising down on paper.
Guided journals also come in handy with questions or topics you may not have thought about writing on. In this way, guided journals provide useful methods for reflecting on your time as a new mom while avoiding any overwhelming feelings you might get when staring at a blank page and not knowing where to start.
If you want to start journaling and record your journey as a new mom and the myriad of wonderful memories that come with it, try using a journal with short prompts for new moms.
The “line a day” style is popular with moms because it’s quick, easy, and doesn’t have the pressure of an entire bank page staring you in the face. Many of these types of journals have lines for 3-5 years, which makes them a great way to see how your answers and thoughts evolve over time.
There are many types of guided journals available, so make sure to select one that matches your journaling goals. Some are geared mainly towards memory keeping, and others are for tracking your baby’s schedule or your own emotion cycles.
These are just a few ideas about how you can bring journaling into your life as a new or expecting mom.
The benefits of journaling build and grow the more consistent you are. Even though it can be challenging to find time for yourself, even five minutes a day journaling can help you with the stress and difficulties that can come with being a new mom.
Journaling can also provide a valuable keepsake you and your child can look back on. Journaling can help you slow down and record the moments you want to hold on to so you can remember the little moments.
Journaling for new moms helps make more sense of all the changes, emotions, and memories of being a new parent. Try journaling, and you will understand the positive impacts it can bring your journey as a new mom, firsthand.
Natasha Núñez is a former classroom teacher with a Masters of the Arts in Teaching. She also is a registered yoga teacher & holds a certificate in natural skincare formulation from the School of Natural Skincare. She shares her passion for education, positive parenting, free printables, and recipes for DIY bath & home products. Learn more about Natasha and where she’s been featured.