Say good-bye to eight straight hours of sleep at night. We feel really sorry to tell you this, but this month you might be lucky if you get two or three hours in a row at any point during the day or night. This won’t last forever, we promise. But until you get your baby into a sleeping routine, how are you supposed to function and feel good without a decent night’s sleep?
The number one piece of advice you’ll hear from people is “sleep while the baby is sleeping”. It does make sense, but there will be so much you need to do in those precious moments that there’s no way you will sleep every time your baby goes down for a nap. Besides, no matter how many little naps you get during the day, for new mothers that doesn’t add up to uninterrupted sleep. The bottom line is, when it comes to sleep, the first month with a baby will be rough. Hang in there and try these sleep strategies for a new mom:
- Involve your hubby with at least one middle-of-the-night feeding. If you are nursing, turn the baby over to him as soon as you’re done and have him do all the legwork of burping and changing diapers and re-swaddling you so you can stay in a semi-asleep state and go straight back to bed when the eating portion of the program is over. This might not make complete sense until you are in the thick of things, but nighttime feedings are about more than feeding, and with everything else that needs to be done that can take a while. So divide and conquer!
- May be you can’t sleep every time the baby sleeps, but try to sleep during at least one of her daytime naps every day during this first month. Even an extra forty five minutes or an hour of sleep in a day when you might otherwise get only three hours makes a real difference.
- Ask for help! You know all that stuff you want to do while the baby is sleeping? Get help with as much of it as you can. That’s how its supposed to be – we still have families living together, and moms have sisters and grandmothers around to support them. Nowadays, moms are determined to be supermoms and do everything themselves. But this is one time you have to suck it up and admit that you can’t do it all by yourself. When friends or family members offer to help you, take them up to it. Ask them to help you cook dinner, run to the grocery store, help you with laundry, or whatever needs doing so you can relax and sleep
- Ask for help at night, too! This one might be even tougher for the do-it-yourself moms, but try it. Ask a family member or a close friend to stay over, once a week or couple of nights, so that you can sleep. If you are nursing, pump a bottle for the baby, or do the feeding and then hand the baby over for all the other stuff. Do not wait too long to do this. Your close friends and family are happy to do this because they love you, so feel free to ask!
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