Becoming a mom can be both exhilarating and exhausting. While you’re adjusting to this whole new change in your life the one thing that’s mostly affected is your sleep. First week into motherhood and you’re already walking around your house like a zombie. For me the sleep deprivation and other Two weeks after my daughter was born and snap! I was in my zombie mode. I was doing things like a robot and when my baby was napping I would go on about doing other chores, not realizing how badly I am tormenting my body. I was hardly getting any sleep and on the second day of the sleepless third week, I ended up almost dropping my baby while cuddling her to sleep. “This is it,” my husband said and asked me to go to sleep right that instant. I being naturally irritable and unfocused took this as an offensive remark that I am not a good mother and should go to sleep rather than taking care of my week’s old daughter. Then my husband realized what was happening and she called my sister to talk some sense into me. My sister being the pro she is (she has raised my two handsome twin nephews), realized what was happening here and generously offered to help.
She literally was a life saver for me at that time because of her effective tips I was able to get back to my normal self rather than just being a robot — always cranky and distracted.
Don’t be Stupid
These were the exact words of my sisters and the first advice she gave me. She made me realize how I am just being plain dumb, not realizing my body’s natural needs. Sleep being one and foremost element of my own physical and mental health. Getting 4 or 5 hours of sleep was just not enough for me or for anyone. So I need to give my mind and body the amount rest it needs, which is, at least 7-8 hours and little catnaps in the middle, if possible.
Catnaps when the baby sleeps
We all know how a mother’s help ultimately affects the baby’s wellbeing. So if I were to be a responsible mommy, who most definitely wouldn’t want her child to get sick, I had to take care of myself and my sleeping habits. It’s not obviously as easy for everyone to sleep on a dime and the idea of sleeping as soon as the baby sleeps is easier said than done. So I took my sister’s advice of laying down even if I couldn’t sleep. Relaxing your nerves and body can be as relaxing as a sweet slumber when you’ve been constantly on your toes, the entire day. Keep your gadgets aside, every time you plan to lay down for a little power snooze. It’s no big deal if you cannot instantly fall asleep. If you can’t fall asleep after unplugging from the technological world and even if you’re bone breakingly tired then you need some sleep inducing activities like reading a book listening to sad, sleepy music or just the most uninteresting news, can all be great sleep stimulators.
Lay down till you can and as long as the baby is asleep. Even little naps or reclining for just about half an hour can work wonders.
Shifting the feedings
If you’re not breastfeeding your baby then the best thing to do is set shifts for a visitor or your husband to feed the baby at night when you’re sound asleep. Even if you are a nursing mom, you can introduce your child to a bottle of breast milk so that you don’t have to wake up in the middle of the night.
Dealing with the what ifs
My biggest problem with sleeping while my baby slept was my mind playing “the what if trick.” What if the baby is crying, what if the baby woke up? What if she crawled to the edge of the crib, what if there were mosquitoes biting my baby? Yes, all of these are real struggles I couldn’t just get my mind off her and every time I would lay down to catch some zzzs , it was a total waste of time because I couldn’t stop thinking. What helped was keeping my baby close while she and I slept peacefully, together. This also saved me from ruining my sleep at night and walking all the way to the baby’s nursery.
Don’t get Addicted to coffee and refusing help
Well, there is no doubt that you’re a great mother but in order to prove that you don’t have to refuse support from family and friends. You still are trying to adapt to all these changes and if someone willingly and happily offers to help then you should make the best out of it and use this time to follow up with your sleep.
Another huge mistake new moms make are guzzling down cups of coffee all day so that they can stay awake the whole day. While this may seem like a great boost from preventing you to sleep but relying too much on caffeine can be immensely destructive to your body. While coffee and all such drinks may provide you the energy you need to go on through the day but as soon as you lay down and try to fall asleep, you’ll regret this whole coffee consumption idea.
Establish the habits early
Initially, your child would only be doing as he/she pleases but as soon as you start establishing their sleep habits, your baby will naturally settle into this routine. So it’s extremely important that you understand the importance of a good night sleep for yourself and your baby, even if it seems like too early for your baby to adapt to it.
The ultimate don’ts
Never let your mind wander with watching TV or surfing the internet if you wake up in the middle of the night.
Do not drink numerous cups of coffee – one cup a day, is just what you need.