Sleep Help! You Love Your Baby, but the Sleep Deprivation Is Killing You. Here’s How to Get More Zzzs
New mom sleep tips you can use.
It’s both ironic and sad—the thing you need most for healing from labor and delivery, producing milk and generally being able to accept the new reality of parenthood is the very thing it’s hardest to achieve right now: consistent, sufficient sleep.
Even if your baby or babies are good little night sleepers, the need to wake them up every three hours or so to feed means a night of uninterrupted sleep is impossible for the first several months. Bad news.
Sleep setups take a million different forms and each family will need to experiment to find out what works best for them. It might not be pretty, or what you expected when you spent all those hours selecting a crib and decorating the nursery only to now have baby camping out in the living room in the Pack and Play, but what each successive sleepless night will teach you is that in the end, it’s just about getting the job done and keeping everyone as sane as possible. Things get a lot more “normal” once Baby is out of the newborn phase.
Here’s a little new mom sleep support in the form of practical tips you can try:
Sleep in shifts.
Mom’s an early bird, Dad’s a night owl. So for the first few months with twins, he stayed up a little later, she went to bed a little earlier, then around three or four in the morning. She got up a little earlier and he slept a little later. Dad took the first shift of feedings and Mom took second shift.
Why this works: The biggest issue affecting your sleep wellbeing is the constant interruption. And for moms this is more severe because even if Dad is helping out by feeding by bottle, Mom needs to pump. But with Dad on duty, she can get up to pump and then quickly go back to sleep. Provided neither of the kids has a meltdown, both can get some very respectable chunks of uninterrupted sleep.
Sleep when baby sleeps.
Everyone recommends this but few actually do it. Why? Because those few precious moments are the time to tackle everything that’s slipping through the cracks now that you have a newborn or two. We don’t blame you. In most cases the bathroom, laundry and dishes aren’t going to do themselves. It’s unrealistic to think you’re going to doze off every time Baby does, but often one of those baby naps could be a mom nap too.
Why this works: Even a good solid hour of midday sleep can leave you feeling like a new person. We understand that there is a lot to do, but you’ll be more efficient over the long haul if you can block out some time to sleep during the day. Even if you’re not typically a napper, you’ll probably be surprised at how fast you speed off to dreamland once you hit the pillow.
Load ‘er up.
Helping new parents get adequate sleep means proper baby sleep support as well. You can’t avoid the frequent feedings, but you can try to space them out a little and make sure Baby is sleeping as well as she could. Feeding frequently in the evening before your bedtime can help keep Baby full through the night.
Why this works: You’ll still need to wake her up, but by loading her up before bed, you may be able to stretch to feed every three and a half to four hours instead of, say, every two. Also, feedings are often shorter because she ate sufficiently before bed. A “dream feed” right before you go to bed can also buy you a few sleep-filled hours.
Have someone else take the night shift.
And by someone else, we mean a postpartum doula who will stand in as your night nurse. That could mean up to eight blissful hours of sleep with interruption only for nursing and/or pumping.
Why this works: There is no substitute for someone coming in and actually taking over the night duties. That means no diapers, no making bottles, no worries that those little grunts are going to turn into full-blown wails. Welcome Baby Care doulas show up right before bed and get the details, then you get to hit the sheets. Bonus: they’ll also fold a load of laundry and make you breakfast.
For more information on new mom sleep support, contact the experts at Welcome Baby Care. Call us today.