Parenthood is amazing but it can be tough too. It is even tougher if you are doing it for the first time. Few months after having a baby you pretty much become a machine for changing diapers and feeding your child. The worst thing is the lack of sleep for both parents, mothers more than fathers. Since there is for schedule on when your child will feel hungry, it becomes nearly impossible for you to get a full six to seven hours of sleep at a stretch. Sleeping is more important when you have given birth, and your body just needs to relax. New parents are overworked as they are trying to figure everything out, for the mother the hormones are still at a high and it makes her sleepy all the more.
Sleep deprivation can be dangerous as it makes you lose focus and lead to accidents.
Here are a few things you can do to get some sleep being a new parent
1. Sleep When Your Baby Sleeps
It is very tempting to get some work done while your baby is sleeping. You might want to do the laundry, tidy up your room or even watch your favorite show. Let me tell you, nothing is more important than your sleep when you are bringing up a child. It’s a full time, heavy demanding job, get rest whenever you can everything else can wait. A well rested body is more capable of taking care of everything than a tired one. Grab some sleep even if it means taking a nap in the middle of the day.
Night and day is similar for a newborn, make it the same for you.
2. Devide work among yourself
If you and your husband are the only two taking care of your child, it is best that you divide the work among yourself. Talk in detail about the schedule and duties of each of you. Switch the duties once in a while. You or your partner shouldn’t feel they are doing all the work. It can lead to resentment towards each other.
Dividing the work takes away a lot responsibility from each of you. You wouldn’t have to always run around feeling as if you are fighting a battle.
3. Get a breast pump
Before you read further let me put up this disclaimer–breast pump shouldn’t be used as an alternative for breastfeeding without a medical reason.
Having said that, pumped milk for one-time feeding can give you a couple of hours of extra sleep. Pump milk for the night so your husband can feed your child while you catch up on your sleep. Doing this every alternate day, will give you some time to catch up on your sleep.
4. Don’t shy away from getting help
As much as you don’t like bothering your mom or mother-in-law, this might be the best time to ask for some help. It doesn’t hurt that they probably have more experience on child care than you. Your kid will also get bonding time with his/her granny.
Ask her to stay over during the weekends. You can get some work done, catch some sleep and have personal time to relax.
5. Keep an eye on sleep disorders
If you are having problems falling asleep and staying asleep even after being completely exhausted, there might be some underlying problems that needs addressing. Most women gain weight after pregnancy, the added weight can cause a disorder called sleep apnea. In sleep apnea you stop breathing for a few seconds at a stretch in your sleep.If this happens often it can cause insomnia, tiredness and other sleep related issues. Consult a doctor if you think that is the case with you.
6. Keep your baby active during the day
Keeping your baby active and alert during the day time will put him/her in a deeper sleep at night. Mothers tend to make their kids fall asleep as much as they can, doing so in the day time can keep them up at night.
Don’t put him to sleep before your bedtime, do it at the same time when you want to go to bed. Keep the baby’s room soundproof, bring calmness in your house after sunset, it helps in baby’s circadian rhythm. Lower the TV volume, take the pets away, don’t use noisy machinery. All this will give your baby a sense of relief and he/she will sleep for longer hours.
7. Get yourself prepared for sleep
If you are a light sleeper try to get all distractions away from your bedroom, electronic devices like mobile phones or laptops shouldn’t be around you when you are trying to sleep. Get a comfy bed for yourself to get a good sleep. Get snoring solutions for your partner or yourself if snoring is an issue.
8. Don’t over think
The most common reason for mother’s sleep deprivation is worrying to much about your child. Most moms have an unexplainable fear that something will happen to their child when they are sleeping. You need to understand that the chances of something like that happening is very low. You may be tempted to make your baby sleep beside you on the bed but its not a good idea. Study shows co-sleeping increases the chances of Sudden Baby Death Syndrome, as horibble as it sounds its not veru common. Although, try to avoid making your child sleep beside you at night. The best measure is to get a crib that you can place beside your bed in your room.
9. Go for a Morning walk
Morning walks helps in baby development but also sets your circadian rhythm right. It helps your infant to develop sleep-wake cycle, gives him/her open air to breathe and relaxes you too.
10. Lastly, Stay happy
Parenthood is an amazing thing. Enjoy it. Not everything will go according to plan and it doesn’t have to. You might feel like completely giving up but when your baby smiles at you everything becomes worth it. When you see your baby grow up, your heart will swell up with pride to know you raised him up.