Motherhood is not just about picture perfect beginnings; it has it’s highs and lows, especially when it comes to managing sleep after having a baby. Getting uninterrupted sleep is almost impossible when you have a newborn at hand.
Lack of sleep makes moms cranky, edgy, and temperamental. It is normal to feel stressed out because your body needs rest, and unfortunately, you are unable to take proper rest when your baby is also learning to adjust to this new life outside the womb.
Stress and fatigue can affect you mentally, physically, and emotionally. At the beginning of your motherhood journey, it is okay to feel overwhelmed but not to the point that it could cost your sanity. This needs to change!
While you are in your exhausting post-baby period, you need to set priorities and plan everything, so you could cope up with the baby’s needs, your six-hour sleep and a reasonable to-do-list. Well, this does not necessarily mean you could sleep in advance, but you must give yourself some time to heal and delay things that could wait.
Even if you are a first-time parent, you will learn as you go, you do not have to look like a Zombie. Here are the few best strategies that could get you some sleep after having a baby.
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Best Tips to manage sleep deprivation for new moms
Not to surprise you, but you can’t do much about sleep deprivation for the first couple of weeks. Some babies are great sleepers naturally. In this regard, you consider yourself lucky.
However, if your newborn has gas issues, or she is colic, etc, you would not be able to sleep that well at night. But, things do get better only if you follow the right strategy for yourself and the baby.
1.Understand Newborn sleep from the beginning
The OBGYN recommends 6 hours of sleep for a new mom, so the mind and body could function better right after having a baby (postpartum).
As disheartening as it may sound, once you become a mom, uninterrupted good night sleep is rare and surely is a treat. Once your baby gets hang of the proper bedtime schedule, you may sleep better, and on some lucky nights, you can get more chances of uninterrupted sleep for at least 4 to 5 hours.
Newborns tend to wake up every one to two hours for feedings, and they get hungry faster due to a small stomach size. Gradually, you can stretch the time in between feedings for the night – if the baby is well-fed during the day. That way you will be able to get much better sleep.
The best thing you can do as a new mom is to understand newborns’ sleep and how you can go in the right direction about getting your newborn sleep at night right from the start.
Newborns do not need sleep training for the first several months. However, at the same time, you do not want to switch your baby’s sleep clock altogether and not be on a schedule. Every baby is different but remember, you should be working in a direction to sleep train so your baby could be on a proper sleep schedule And that is possible ONLY if you do not make sleep mistakes with your baby.
Get to know newborns sleep in a better way. Grab your copy of the newborn sleep ebook, this will help new moms to understand newborn sleep and putting them on a schedule right from the beginning.
2. Be prepared for not getting enough sleep
The best advice you could get; DO NOT STRESS about the baby not sleeping. When you have a newborn, be prepared for the middle of the night cries, frequent wake-ups due to gas, acid reflux, colic, and whatnot.
You might get lucky if your partner helps get you enough sleep at night so that you can function all day long. But for a mom who is exclusively breastfeeding or pumping, things are different and a lot more challenging.
As a co-sleeping parent for over four years, I can tell you that kids’ sleep schedule adjusts just fine as you move on in your parenting journey. Not to mention, the transition may get stressful, but things do come off in the right way with a lot of patience and perseverance.
3. Take a short nap if you are feeling drowsy
Drowsiness can be really dangerous when you have a newborn. Try not to doze off while you are breastfeeding your newborn. Keep your newborn safe in your lap, or use a nursing pillow for proper support.
As baby gets bigger, try safe nursing positions, so you could get some rest while breastfeeding.
Nursing while being drowsy could be fatal for the baby. That is why it is always a good idea to have a partner or someone else with you for a few days unless your routine settles down.
When you are close to your due date, give your body as much rest as you can. Once the baby arrives, you won’t be able to rest like before.
4. Do not overdo at this point
Either you have a newborn, or you have older kids who need time and attention, when you are sleep deprived, it is not as easy to fulfill your family’s needs like before.
Plan some activities or get help for your older kids. Do not add extra chores to your schedule for now. First, you need to feel better regardless of the delivery you had.
Do not overexert, eat healthy, stay active and strengthen your bond with your little one.
5. Nap when baby naps
You must nap when the baby naps, essentially for the first six weeks. Get the rest that your body needs the most.
At night, try to sleep when the baby is asleep. As long as the baby is safe and healthy, do not overthink about staying awake to monitor the baby. Luckily, the baby knows the language of crying to communicate. You will see when the baby needs to be fed, requires a diaper change, burp, and whatnot.
Use baby monitor if your baby is sleeping in the nursery.
If you are an overprotective parent, and your sleep is really affected because you are fearful of something happening to the baby, you can use baby Owlet monitor socks. Using the Owlet Monitor sock might get you the peace of mind and much-relaxed sleep.
6. Nap when you have the help of your partner or anyone around
Not everyone is lucky enough to have help, especially at night. Try to get enough sleep and nap whenever you can. Deep cleaning and dishwashing can wait. Thanks to disposable plates and cups.
Getting a night’s sleep should be the priority if you are the only one to take care of your kid(s) all day long.
I understand the importance of “Me Time” and finding a balance between motherhood and spouse. You need to prioritize your tasks during the day.
Plan your meals ahead of time.
Try to sleep early for a well-rested night after having a newborn.
7. Choose to Co-sleep if your baby is a light sleeper
If your baby is an extremely light sleeper and you are breastfeeding, I would advice to co-sleep. That way you’ll be able to get much better sleep.
Not every parent enjoys co-sleeping; it could get challenging as your baby gets older. Once you start noticing a better sleep pattern, try bed transition that may take some time to adjust but it is certainly not impossible.
Try using a bedside Swivel Bassinet for more rested sleep.
8. Sound Machine is a game-changer
Depending on the schedule of your family member, for light sleeping moms and babies, the sound machine is a game-changer. Some families live independently, while some share their family space. No matter what family setting you are living in, I highly recommend using a sound machine for a newborn and also for a co-sleeping parent.
I have been using the sound machine for my kids for almost 2 years now. One thing I must assure; even if you are sleeping for a couple of hours, your sleep quality gets better. Your mind is well-rested and you may notice a considerable decline in discomposure.
This is the sound machine I use. Out of all, the rain sound is the best. As long as the functionality is concerned, it is super light, portable, and travels all over the world with us.
9. Reduce /avoid using cell phones or gadgets when close to bedtime
I understand how much ME TIME is essential for your sanity, but your sleep takes up the priority for a few months after the baby is born. Try to cut down your gadget time and sleep when your baby sleeps. Try unnecessary gadgets at night, so you can have a well-rested sleep, even if it is not 8 hours long.
10. Avoid Caffeine intake or Tea close to bedtime
Avoid taking caffeine close to bedtime. You can take tea, coffee or any other caffeinated drinks during the day to stay active and more alert.
11. It’s okay to delay Cleaning and other overwhelming tasks
Try to get your sleep debts whenever you can manage while everything else can wait. It’s okay if your house seems messy. Try to be there for your kids when they need you in the best of your emotional and physical state.
Hang in there, everything falls in place with time.
12. Invest in a Rocking chair for mom and baby
If you have enough space, or you have set up a separate baby nursery, I highly recommend you having a rocking chair with an Ottoman or a footrest. For night feeding, a swivel nursing chair is ideal.
This is the one I have with Ottoman. You can use a nursing chair not only for breastfeeding but also to soothe a crying baby. Sit back, relax, and enjoy baby sleeping on your chest. Indeed, that’s the most beautiful way to bond with your baby.
13. Listen to your body and do not ignore any signs
An overwhelming routine does affect your overall health and shifts focus in the long run. For parents having multiple kids with less gap, it could be a mind jolting experience. Stress is the root cause of most of the health concerns. It affects your quality of life when you don’t feel good about your health. Restless legs, dizziness, body aches, and brain fog could be the causes of sleep deprivation.
While you have a baby to focus on, do not ignore any health signs that may go unnoticed.
If you are a new mom or expecting a baby pretty soon, I highly recommend that you should at least know how to manage your newborn sleep for at least the first six months; these are the toughest for new moms. No matter what kind of sleeper your baby is, this NEWBORN SLEEP EBOOK has everything you need to know about putting your newborn on sleep track from day 1.
Sleep deprivation is part of motherhood as babies may experience sleep regression, teething, sick nights, night terrors, and much more. But you have to take care of yourself too. You are as precious as your baby is. If you are sleep deprived, you can’t parent the way you want to. You need the stamina to deal with tantrums.
Just hang in there, Mama; this too shall pass. Remember – things do get better with time and you can enjoy uninterrupted sleep before you even know it.