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Me-time for new mums

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Life with a little one can often leave little time for you. There's the feeding, the changing, settling, shopping, cooking... and the list goes on! It's only normal to crave a little quality time to do your own thing and it's always great to remind your partner (and yourself) that you're still the same people underneath - not just mummy and daddy. Here's how to make the most of your precious me-time, and recharge your batteries too.

Get support

Whether it's a trusted friend, relative or neighbour, you're bound to need a babysitter at some point, so get them lined up because a supportive network is essential for any new mother.

Treasure your time

How you spend your time off is up to you (although housework is banned!). You could have a long lie-in, a haircut, a swim or lunch with a friend.

Take turns

Let your partner take some of the pressure too. The sooner he knows how to care for your baby, the easier it will be for you - this is a joint project, after all! Jane Brewer, 32, mum to five-month-old Dylan, says: "I suggested to my husband Phil that each of us took two hours at the weekend to do what we wanted, while the other looked after Dylan. Phil's into competitive cycling and often goes out riding with his club. I might read, go shopping or do my nails - things I used to take for granted but feel blissful now. Those two hours have given Phil a real taste of what it's like to look after a baby by himself, so he has become more understanding of what my week's really like."

Pamper yourself

It's also vital to remember that looking after yourself isn't vanity: pampering can give you a real boost. "I lock myself away in my bathroom," says Stacey Simpson, "and have a great time exfoliating and de-fuzzing my poor neglected body, and rubbing in all the lotions and potions I never normally get time for, while my partner Chris plays with our baby Chloe. I can't tell you how much better I feel for it - it's almost like therapy - and having smooth, shiny limbs afterwards isn't bad either."

Rediscover your old self

Try and recapture how you were before you became a busy mum, by putting on your make-up and really dressing up every now and then. It will help lift your spirits, and will remind your partner that you're still the same gorgeous, sexy woman he was first attracted to.

Try a simple pleasure

Being good to yourself needn't mean spending a fortune either. The simplest treats can be the most uplifting. Reading a magazine in the park, having time to go for a walk or to stroll round the shops can be bliss if you're used to having a little one in tow all the time.

"I can recommend kickboxing as a wonderful way to exert some energy and clear the mind. At the end of a long day, hubby and I don our boxing gloves and get started!" Felicity Bertin, mum to Lucas, 1