5 Ways Sleep-Deprived New Moms Can Get More Rest
There are three things you instantly gain when you become a new mom - endless patience, unconditional love, and the ability to function on little to no sleep. Although burning the candle at both ends is sometimes unavoidable as a new mom, getting ample rest is also important both for mommy and baby. Without adequate sleep, you can’t function the way your infant needs. Finding time to sleep with a newborn at home might seem impossible. But here are 5 tips and tricks to help you score those much needed z’s so you don’t miss a single moment of your baby’s amazing journey through life.
1. Close Your Eyes, Even if You’re Not Sleeping
Rest comes in many different forms. Just because you’re not actually sleeping, doesn’t mean you can’t rest you mind, body, and eyes several times throughout the day. If your baby is napping or happily playing nearby, sit down in a comfortable spot and relax your body. Take a break from your cellphone or other electronics that can stimulate your eyes and mind. If your child is asleep, put your feet up, rest your head, and close your eyes. Even if you don’t fall asleep, the act of resting can actually have restorative benefits.
2. Keep in Mind That It’s Not Forever
There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Any time you’re experiencing a difficult situation, it helps to know that it won’t last forever. And sleepless nights filled with countless feedings and dirty diapers will soon be a distant memory. When you feel completely overwhelmed and exhausted, focus on the more enjoyable moments like rocking your newborn to sleep after their last feeding and celebrating longer stints of consistent sleep.
3. Limit Visitors
It’s always nice to have a little help when it comes to managing a newborn. And some people simply want to stop by and cuddle, snuggle, and oogle over your precious bundle of joy. And while this is very sweet and nice, you need to know when to kindly decline visitors if it’s interfering with your day and ability to rest. The problem will too many visitors is that most women feel the need to entertain, socialize, and maybe even prepare snacks! That’s a lot of work for a brand new mom working on little to no sleep. Be selective with your guest list. Allow helpful, supportive family and friends who are willing to lend a hand come over while declining invites from those who tap into your limited supply of energy.
4. Share Responsibilities
This is sometimes tricky for breastfeeding moms but it’s important that you don’t take on all of the nighttime feeding responsibilities yourself. If you’re living with a spouse or partner, allow them to help you split the feeding duties. You can either alternate who gets up, taking turns at each feeding, or a better option is to have your partner or family member take over an entire night shift. This means you get one solid night of continuous sleep, leaving you feeling refreshed and energized. Breastfeeding moms can pump an extra bottle or two prior to bedtime, making it easy and convenient for someone else to feed your infant when they wake.
5. Consider Co-Sleeping Practices
Many new moms allow their infants to sleep in a bassinet in their bedroom for the first few months of life. This makes nighttime feedings easier and less disruptive. An even better option is to purchase a bassinet or sleeping apparatus that attaches directly to the side of your bed. This way, when your infant wakes for a feeding, you can easily scoop them up, feed them, and return them to the comfort of their bed. And the same goes for you! Without having to get out of bed, heat a bottle, turn on lights or fully awaken, you can more easily fall asleep. This works best for breastfeeding mothers.
Getting ample sleep as a new mom is about more than just feeling rested. You need to be alert, aware, and focused when it comes to caring for your newborn. This ensures that your child can grow, learn, and develop in a safe and healthy environment, with you by their side.
I am a 32-year-old mother and wife of a police officer living in NJ.
I have my MFA in creative nonfiction and 10 years writing experience.
When I'm not writing I enjoy hot yoga, cardio kickboxing, running, and camping.
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