It’s a common understanding that sleep deprivation for new mothers comes with a new baby. The newborn phase is the most challenging for getting enough sleep, and it’s difficult to predict how it will look until your bundle of joy arrives.
Babies are not programmed to sleep soundly. Waking up multiple times a night, particularly in the first three months. A 2019 study published in the Journal Sleep’ found that sleep deprivation for new mothers can occur within the first six years of a child’s life. However, the magnitude of sleep deprivation changes over time, but it’s still important to be mindful of the amount of sleep you’re getting as it can affect your physical and mental health.
Some babies sleep better than others, but if you’re one of the unlucky ones when it comes to lacking sleep, you’re not alone. At the moment, it can feel like it will never end but stay assured that it will pass, and you will get through it.
So, what can you do to cope with sleep deprivation?
Here are five ways you can manage it.
Say No To Added Responsibility:
It is not easy when you have older siblings. The mum’s guilt can take over, and you feel pressured to be as available for them as you are for your newborn. It is simply not possible. Instead, get them involved in helping you and your new baby in everyday things like nursing, swaddles, etc. Also, ask your partner to put aside some time to spend with your other child/children in order to meet their emotional needs parallelly.
Sleep When The Baby Sleeps:
You can often meet this advice with eye-rolling. Everyone has heard it before, and sometimes it’s just not possible. Instead, it can be tempting to get some chores done or tidy up the house, but this is not recommended. Instead, put everything down and take a nap. Your body and mind will appreciate it.
You may also refer to Baby Sleep Tips to help you put your child to sleep.
Accept Offered Help:
Often, it’s hard to accept help when offered. We don’t want to put others out. But, if they offer, take them up on it. Sleeping is not a luxury; rather, it’s a medical requirement. Without it, we simply can’t function. When someone offers to come over to help, let them and take a nap.
Try Not To Worry About Hearing Your Baby Cry:
As a mother, connection with our babies is natural. And if you’re not careful, this link can pull so tight that you become edgy and anxious, listening for the sound of your baby crying. It can further lead to sleep deprivation as instead of sleeping when your baby sleeps; you’re awake waiting for them to make a sound. It is very unhealthy. If you find that you’re doing this, ask for help or talk to a medical professional.
Get Your Partner Involved:
Don’t be afraid to ask your partner for help. You must communicate your needs with your partner to get the rest you need to function. Creating a schedule while the baby is awake and dividing responsibilities is great. It will allow you to create time for rest when you need it.
Regardless of whether you take on the above tips, there will still be days and nights when you feel overwhelmed and exhausted. When sleep deprivation is at its worst, try to be kind to yourself and allow the house to get messy while you take time out on the couch. Let the laundry pile up, and your husband do some cooking: worst case, order takeout. Do whatever you need to do to get by, particularly in those first couple of months, as this will help you keep your focus on the light at the end of the tunnel. You will sleep again, and your baby will slip into a routine that suits you both. And, if you’re severely struggling, seek professional help. There’s no shame in asking for support.