Sleep Hacks For New Moms

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Becoming a new mom is a rollercoaster journey of emotions. You’ve just gone through one of the most laborious milestones (labor) and are trying to recover from the exhaustion. On the other hand, you are excited your baby is finally here and can’t wait for all the goo goo gagas, mushy cuddles, and sloppy wet kisses you have heard other moms discuss.

However, you soon discover that the journey from labor to when your baby becomes interactively active and able to give you those love talks is not a straight one. In fact, it is filled with the most unexpected curves, bends, speed breakers, “no-road” signs, traffic, and stopovers. One that strikes you the hardest, especially if you are a first-time mom, is how much sleep it seems you have to sacrifice to care for your little one.

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“Why won’t my baby sleep throughout the night? Why must my newborn wake up every other two to three hours to do nothing but suck? Why is it so difficult for newborns to stay awake during the day and sleep at night like adults, or better, like their older siblings?” These, and many more, are questions likely to cross your mind as you try to find a balance between caring for your newborn, sleeping, and doing other equally important activities. It doesn’t help either that other moms ask you every time if your newborn is already sleeping throughout the night, making it seem like something is wrong with them if they aren’t.

If anything, such discussions may trigger some resentment in you toward your newborn, who has done nothing wrong except trying to adjust to a new life, or worse, lead to post-partum depression, among other things. Well, if you are at your wits end already and don’t think you can cope with another day of zigzag sleep, let me whisper something to you: you are not alone, and it’s not “mission impossible.”.

Before we talk about the hacks, let’s discuss some facts that can help you sail through this phase as peacefully as you can.

#1. Newborns are not meant or expected to sleep through the night. I think this is the most important stressor for new moms. While some can still cope with the absence of sleep or naps during the day, nobody plans to go several nights without a sound sleep, but your baby does not seem to understand that. Well, it isn’t entirely their fault. Newborns love to sleep because it’s good for them, but they are still adjusting to the timing on this side of the universe. At least, that’s how I love to think about it. They’ve been cocooned inside your womb for over nine months in pitch blackness. It would be a miracle for them to simply adjust immediately when they get out of there and see light for the first time. In your womb, they’ve developed their own routine, something you may have noticed when pregnant, and it would take a while to rewind all of that.

See this adjustment as what happens when you travel from your country to another place with a different time zone. It actually messes up your body system for a while until you fall in tune with the timing there. You may find yourself feeling sleepy when others are awake, active, and alert. That’s exactly what happens to your newborn. So, expecting your newborn to sleep through the night is as weird as expecting them to talk immediately after birth.

#2. You can get the sleep you want: Being a new mom means sacrificing some things, including some of your “me” time and sleep, but it doesn’t mean you have to give it all up. Sleep is good for your body. You’ll be grouchy without it; you may not feel exactly like yourself. You won’t also be able to care for your newborn as you should if you’re not sleeping. So, you need to sleep, as it should be. So, despite the talks, myths, and facts surrounding sleep time for new moms, have it in mind that you can get enough sleep.

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Here are some ways to get much-needed sleep while caring for your little angel.

#1. Debunk your mind about the myths: Consider statements like “your newborn can sleep through the night” and “you can sleep-train your newborn” myths. As real and truthful as they sound, they are far from being the real deal. Believing in them and trying to achieve them also stresses you and takes away the joy of knowing and bonding with your baby. How do you sleep-train a newborn or develop a routine for them? They are still very young, new to the world, and trying to adjust to the system. What both of you need is to get to know each other and recognize cues that can help you plan your schedule to sleep better.

#2. Lower your expectations: You may be somehow disappointed that motherhood is not all the glamour and smiles you see on TV and social media posts. Nevertheless, it’s a wonderful journey once you give yourself a break from all the high expectations and appreciate what’s in it. With your expectations lowered, it becomes difficult to have your feathers ruffled. A calm mind is needed for a good nap.

#3. Get some help: As a new mom, you’ve got to know that you can’t do it alone. You need some help, either from your partner, granny, other family members, or a paid sitter. Even though your nestling instincts may kick in, let someone else hold or watch your baby while you get some sleep. You’ll feel much more relaxed and able to care for your little one the way you want.

#4. Take turns: Sometimes, it may be impossible to get some external help. That’s why you need to work together with your partner. One way to catch some good sleep and not feel burned out is to take turns and shift sleep, especially at night. Pump some milk—enough for your baby to feed and be good—before you go to bed. When your baby wakes up to feed, your partner can do that while you catch some sleep. You may then offer the next feed from the breast, but by then, you would have had about 5 hours of sleep. You won’t feel as burned out as you would have if you hadn’t slept at all. Your partner can then catch up on some sleep too, so that they won’t feel drowsy and lethargic at work the next day. Let’s illustrate this scenario with an example.

At 8 p.m., offer your baby a late-night feed and put them to bed. By 9 p.m., you both should be hugging your pillows and having sweet dreams. Following the 2-hour feeding rule, your baby should be ready for another feeding by 11 p.m., only that this time around, your partner or external help will be doing the feeding. With that, you are able to sleep for about three hours more until the next feeding time. By 2 a.m., you will wake up, at least fresher than if you had only slept for about 2 hours, to be able to relieve your partner so they can catch some sleep.

Working together, you are both able to get some good sleep, even though it may not be as optimal as when you didn’t have a baby.

#5. Co-sleeping: Another hack to getting some sleep with a newborn on the horizon is to sleep with your baby in the same room. Sincerely, waking up every two to three hours to feed a baby in the next room may seem like lots of work for some moms. Instead of doing that, you could share a room (not a bed) with your baby. It saves everyone some stress. The Four Hands Beds are so worth it because you really get quality sleep. You can quickly pick up your little angel because the cries get to their peak, making them fully awake, alert, and difficult to put back to sleep. Although not recommended, some parents share their beds with their babies. Sharing a bed with your baby increases the risk of SID (sudden infant death). If you must, get professional advice from your pediatrician and ensure that you adhere to all the outlined safety measures.

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#6. Don’t overwork yourself during the day: Hey, new mom, listen up! Those dishes and laundry can wait. If you have older kids, ensure you keep a light schedule enough for you to catch your breath and take a nap. Have some rest when your older kids are at school and your little one is sleeping, even if it’s for an hour. What you do during the day determines how tired you get and the level of your crankiness and restlessness by bedtime. Try not to overwork yourself, or you will be too tired by bedtime.

#7. Keep the phone away: Your sleep time should be for nothing other than that—sleep. Once you’ve got all your work done and ready to sleep, don’t fiddle with your phone, reading and replying to messages, or worse, going through social media trends and hot topics. It stimulates your brain, making falling asleep more difficult for you. Your phone should not be your best friend during sleep time.

#8. Try to have a “me” time: This hack may seem far-fetched, especially when you have other kids. However, it works. Doing something for yourself helps you relax and infuses positive energy into you. Take some time off, even if it’s about 15 minutes, to do something that makes you happy.

#9. Sleep when your baby sleeps: How do you fall asleep at the drop of a hat, like babies? The truth is, it’s difficult, but when you’ve got no other choice, you may have to do just that. Try to sleep when your baby sleeps, and rouse yourself awake when it’s time to feed. On the other hand, let someone else handle the feeding to get extra hours of sleep.

Sleep is essential to your health, and you have to be intentional about getting a good amount of it as a new mom. When you’re still adjusting to the newest addition to your family, try to delegate duties like laundry, caring for other kids, and some house chores to have enough time to care for yourself and your baby. It helps to always remember that you can’t care for your baby as you should if you’re not healthy, and sleep is healthy.







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