After nine months of eager anticipation, there’s nothing more rewarding than seeing your baby for the first time. Wonder, joy, and excitement all rolled into one as you take the first steps into motherhood. Yet, for all the happiness it brings, being a new mom also means losing out on precious sleep. Frequent wake-ups at night can leave you feeling exhausted. A study conducted by OnePoll found that parents lose a third of nighttime sleep after having a baby. It also found that parent’s total sleep time per night fell from 6 hours to just 4.
While a disrupted sleep schedule is to be expected with a new baby, it’s important to try to get as much sleep as possible because sleep deprivation has dangerous consequences. It can impact decision-making, raise blood pressure, make you moody, and lead to weight gain. But how exactly do you get to sleep when the forces seem to be against you? We’ve outlined a few tips below that will help.
Being a new mom can be grueling and you shouldn’t try to take on everything alone. Don’t feel embarrassed to ask for help from people close to you. Having someone do the laundry, cook a meal, or go grocery shopping can free up a lot of your time. If possible, consider hiring a maid so that you can focus on your baby and yourself.
Babies sleep for about 16 hours a day. However, they do so in intervals of two to four hours. This can make getting uninterrupted nighttime sleep difficult for new moms. One way to catch up on sleep is to nap when your baby does. You can also take 20-minute power naps to rejuvenate yourself. If you can’t sleep, don’t force yourself. Instead, use the quiet time to lie down, have a cup of tea, or read a book.
Night time feedings are part and parcel of being a new parent but you don’t have to go it alone. Taking turns with feeding will give you more time for uninterrupted rest. Whether you’re breastfeeding or feeding on a bottle, do get help from people close to you so that you aren’t the only one waking up at night.
It’s natural for well-wishers to drop in and see the new addition to your household. However, it’s important to pick and choose who to welcome so that you aren’t bogged down by hostess demands. Some visitors are considerate and offer to lend a hand while others demand that you give them the same attention you did before you had your baby. Say ‘yes’ to those who come with a helping hand and learn to say ‘no’ to those who visit for gossip and little else.
New moms already have so much to think about and do that it’s important not to take on more responsibility. Learn to delegate tasks to others to avoid burn-outs. Whether it’s attending an older child’s school play or attending a PTA meeting, ask your husband, mom, mom-in-law or siblings to take over.
Since infants sleep for short stretches at a time, new moms can expect to wake up 2-3 times a night. As you’ll be waking up often, getting to bed early lets you stay off your feet and enjoy some extra shut-eye. Even if you can’t fall asleep early, you can use the time for yourself and relax.
Science also says that children with early bedtimes are healthier and their moms have better mental health. In a study by Growing Up in Australia, researchers analyzed the data of families and found
that children who slept by 8.30 pm had a better health-related quality of life while their mothers had better mental health.
A bedtime routine is anything that prepares you for sleep. Turning off gadgets, taking a bath/shower to de-stress, and listening to calming music are a few examples. Do whatever it is that calms you. Try to stick to your bedtime routine each night so that when it’s time for bed, you can fall asleep more easily.
You won’t be able to sleep well if your bedroom isn’t inviting. A dark, quiet space that’s free of distractions will encourage sleep better than one that’s brightly lit and noisy. You should also use a mattress that’s comfortable and keeps your body supported. It’s common for new moms to suffer from backaches as they spend a lot of time carrying their babies during pregnancy and after. Investing in the best mattress for back pain can mean a huge difference to manage and even eliminating discomfort.
Good sleep is a dream for most new moms but that’s no reason not to do all you can to get it. In between the feedings, chores and million and one things to do, it’s very important to focus on yourself. We hope the tips we’ve shared help you get much-needed shut-eye so that you can be the best version of yourself for you and your baby!