Sleep tips for new mums
Tired.com. Mums soon learn some valuable lessons about sleep once the newborn arrives
You don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone. That certainly applies to sleep once you give birth. Being a new parent is challenging in many ways but lack of proper shut-eye is generally acknowledged as one of the most difficult adjustments. When you’re used to eight-hour slumbers, adapting to three or four feeds a night feel like torture and nobody can really prepare you for it - not the baby books or apps, nor the well-meaning friends who’ve been there, done that.
It’s just something you go through - and you have to remember that it’s not forever!
There are some things you learn pretty quickly about sleep once you become a new mum.
1. Routine, as you know it, is out the window
Babies don’t come with manuals and if they are hungry, wet, in pain or just in need of a cuddle, they will let you know - they don’t care what time it is, day or night. So forget about binge watching the latest Netflix drama, get as many early nights as possible.
2. Napping is key
Before children, the idea of a nap during the day was only entertained with a bad hangover. Now it’s imperative. Your little one is snoozing and you’ve been up half the night, then take a rest as well, even if it’s not even lunchtime. Nobody will judge you. Even lying down and closing your eyes for 10 minutes is a help.
3. Work shifts
If you have a partner who can help out at night time, try to establish a shift pattern. For example, let them do the 11pm feed while you grab an early night - then you’ll have some reserves by the time the 2am wake-up occurs and your partner won’t be as exhausted going to work in the morning.
4. Learn to prioritise
You may have previously been used to a pristine home but you’ll need to adapt now that baby is here. Yes, hygiene is important but the polishing, ironing and hoovering can wait. Rest when you can and try not to stress about what needs to be done.
5. Agree a lie in rosta
If you can, agree in advance which one of you gets a lie-in on either morning of the weekend. Negotiating this on the actual morning can cause arguments and resentment so be clear of the plan beforehand.
6. Make things easy
If you’re breastfeeding, feeding your baby while lying down on your side tends to be a very restful position, especially at night.
7. Stay sober
You might think that post pregnancy the odd long-awaited drink is OK but alcohol, even is small quantities, disrupts your sleep and when you drink you go into a deeper sleep and are less likely to have quick reactions. It's especially true if you are co-sleeping with your little one.
8. Accept help
If granny/a friend/a partner offer to give you a sleep break, take it. Don’t argue, don’t refuse, don’t feel a burden.