It seems that once your baby is born that you’ll never again get a good night’s sleep. Getting the sleep that you need during the first few months after your baby’s birth are crucial for your health and sanity. The key to getting enough sleep is recognizing that sleep is important and that for the first few months after giving birth you need to do what you can to get the rest and sleep that you need. You’re probably able to get more time in for sleep than you think. The problem is that new parents often let things interfere with sleep.
Not Being Able to Sleep
Many exhausted new parents are surprised that when they finally get into bed that they just can’t fall asleep. The reasons for this are many. Maybe you’re on the alert, thinking that the minute you fall asleep that your little bundle of joy is just going to wake up anyway. Or maybe you’re thinking about all the things that you didn’t get done today that you need to try and accomplish tomorrow. After being woken up a few times during the night to a crying baby many parents start to be concerned and worried that they’re unable to fall back to sleep once they get back into bed. This can lead to a vicious cycle of insomnia. The less you sleep, the harder it is to fall asleep. Especially if you’re always on the alert for when your baby is going to wake up and need you.
Sleep When Your Baby Sleeps
Try to sleep when your baby sleeps. This includes naptime during the day. You may feel as though napping during the day is a waste of your time since you have so many things that you want to do when your baby is sleeping. Stop thinking this way. Your sleep is more important right now than throwing in another load of laundry or making sure that the kitchen is clean. Even a 30-minute nap is going to help you catch up on that sleep that you’re missing out on.
Lie Down To Rest
If you aren’t able to fall asleep, lie down whenever your baby is sleeping so that you at least get some rest. Read a magazine or pick up that book you’ve wanted to read. Turn off the television and your phone so that you aren’t interrupted. Just resting for a while each day, is going to help improve your energy.
Take Turns with Nighttime Feedings
If possible, have your partner share the load when it comes to getting up during the night with your baby. This is easy if you’re bottle feeding your little one. If you’re breastfeeding, consider pumping enough milk for a nighttime feeding and letting your partner take over on alternate nights so that you can get some sleep. Getting that relief even on every second night is going to make a big difference in your battle against sleeplessness.
Sleep with Your Baby Beside You
Consider sleeping with your baby in a bassinet that is attached to your bed. This way when she wakes up for a feeding all you have to do is reach over to pick her up and pull her into bed with you. As soon as you hear her stir, feed her and then when she’s finished put her back into the bassinet. This will quickly become second nature to you and even though your sleep is interrupted it will be easier for you to fall back to sleep than if you got out of bed.
Avoid Nighttime Stimulation
It can be tempting to get up and watch television or get on the computer when you can’t sleep. This is one of the worse things that you can do and will actually be counterproductive to falling asleep. The lights from the television and computer are stimulating and will, in fact, keep you awake and not relax you at all. Find other ways to relax and get sleepy. Listen to music, read a book, or do a crossword puzzle.
Stop Thinking About Not Sleeping
It’s easy to get into a panic about not sleeping when you know that you only have about five hours before your baby is going to wake up. This panic can make it worse and you may soon find that you’ve been awake for over an hour and are still no closer to falling asleep. Stop thinking and worrying about not being able to sleep. Practice relaxation techniques such as meditation and deep breathing. Give yourself permission to sleep and not worry about your baby waking up. It’s going to happen even if you lie awake in anticipation. Stop thinking that you need to be a perfect parent. Grab that nap during the day even if you think that there’s something else that you could be doing. Lastly, remember that eventually these days of sleep deprivation are going to end!