Having a newborn is a beautiful but sleep-deprived time in your life. Here are a few tips on how to find healthy sleeping habits for you and your new baby…
Having a new baby comes with so many intense emotions – happiness, fear, excitement, anxiety, relief – and all of those things, coupled with your lack of sleep, creates a perfect storm for utter exhaustion. Without the right amount of sleep, you face a lot of health risks and feel an enormous amount of stress.
But how in the world do you catch some zz’s while caring for a newborn who doesn’t understand sleep patterns yet!?
There is a way to find precious sleep moments (granted, not your pre-baby sleep) while hanging with your new mini-you.
Sleep When Baby Sleeps
This rule seems to be as old as “Sesame Street” and pacifiers. After we stopped letting wet nurses take control of newborn care, we learned the best thing to do is to take the lead from our new bundle of joy and snooze when they do.
This means doing a few things we may not be comfortable with like ignoring the laundry and turning off our electronic devices, but your overall health is more important than the dishes in the sink. They’ll still be there after a 20-minute cat nap. Yes, just 20 minutes. You don’t want to sleep too long during the day – anything over 45 minutes may lead to sleep inertia.
Take Morning Walks
By seeing the sun in the morning, you reset your body’s natural clock. Plus, the exercise will boost your endorphins and help you get more restful sleep when you do find times to drift off.
Ask for Help
As new moms, we want to believe we can do it all. But remember that thing about ignoring the laundry so you can sleep? Scroll up. I’ll wait.
There is no shame in asking a spouse, sibling, parent, or even a dear friend to come help with some of your chores. They are your community and are ready to help in any way they can. Consider asking someone to cook a meal, fold the laundry, do the dishes, or even just hold the baby while you close your eyes for 15 minutes. It will make a difference, and your support system is waiting to offer a helping hand.
If your level of exhaustion is making it hard to perform routine daily tasks, however, it’s important to also seek help from your doctor. There’s no shame in asking anyone for help.
Find What Wakes You Up for Work
If you’re one of the many women who go back to work before the U.S. mandated 12 weeks of maternity leave, you don’t need sleep tips. You need to know how to get that little jolt throughout the day to keep you alert on the job.
Many women find movement helps them recharge – even if you just get up every 90 minutes and take a walk around the office. Some get a boost from listening to their favorite songs, while others watch funny YouTube videos because a good laugh wakes up the whole body. If you need something a little more extreme, you can try an ice-bath for your little piggies.
That’s right, if your office has a freezer, you can try going ankle-deep into a bowl of ice water. It’ll definitely alert your senses to everything. Once you’re alive, alert, awake, enthusiastic just pat your feet dry, throw on some new socks and hit your next meeting. That doesn’t sound like fun, but whatever gets you through the day, right?
It’s important to remember that while this baby boot camp is a trying time on you emotionally, mentally, physically, it doesn’t last forever. Eventually your baby will learn sleep habits and you’ll all get back to a healthy level of rest and relaxation for your growing family.