Those nine months of anticipation have been filled with all kinds of emotions and challenges, and many moms-to-be struggles with insomnia and reduced energy during that time, too. Now that the little bun has left the oven to enrich your world, you’re left without any semblance of a routine. In addition to regular feedings that interrupt your sleep, you devote all of your energy to start understanding your baby’s cues.
As beautiful as this bonding period is, it also brings so much stress to the already exhausted mamma, and many often deal with post-partum depression on top of it all. Sleep is vital for your wellbeing and for connecting to your child, so it’s worth trying to adapt from day one. Managing sleep in such circumstances can seem like a lost battle – but it doesn’t have to be, with a few practical tips up your sleeve.
Set up a sleep-friendly zone
Is your bedroom a storage room for all the things you don’t use during the day, or a truly clutter-free, snooze-perfect zone? For most parents dealing with a newborn, the former is likely true, which means that your room layout might not be working in your favor.
Ideally, you can prepare your bedroom before the baby arrives. That way, you’ll have a soothing sleep zone ready for you the moment you come home. If your baby is here and your bedroom is a mess, enlist your partner’s help to eliminate clutter and add sleep-friendly details. Curtains to keep your room dark during daytime naps will help, while a white noise machine can make all the difference in getting your newborn to get some shuteye.
Follow a soothing routine
At first, your newborn’s sleep patterns will likely oscillate, until you create a clear baby regime that will set the stage for your baby’s development, correct feeding times, and the like. To avoid haphazard sleep times, which can lead to more anxiety for you and the baby, it would help to create a routine that prepares your body and mind for sleep and downtime. Even if you’re too tense to fall asleep, it’s crucial that you follow through with this routine until you’re able to sleep.
- Do a bedtime digital detox by avoiding phone use and other screens about two hours before bedtime.
- Read a chapter of a book, or read a bedtime story to your baby as a bonding ritual before sleep.
- Enjoy a warm bath or shower, just like you bathe your baby before bed.
- Dim the lights and use soothing fragrances like lavender to slowly prep your body for sleep.
- Enjoy a cup of herbal tea without caffeine.
Seek help and support from other moms
Being a new mom and caring for a newborn can be overwhelming for your body and your mind. Some moms deal with post-partum depression, insomnia, while others find that their energy levels are virtually non-existent. Other moms know what all that means, and many have found unique ways to manage.
In such situations, you can connect with other moms with a motherhood app such as Mumli where you’ll find real-life advice and organizational suggestions to help you manage your energy and your time better. Their experiences can be extremely beneficial when you’re building your sleep routine, but also for figuring out motherhood in general, to learn more quickly and adapt with less stress and hassle.
Ask for help from your family
Being a mom is a unique, cherished role, but the responsibilities of childcare are by no means just your own. You feel entirely responsible for your little one and as commendable as that might be, you should feel free to develop a routine that includes your partner, spouse, and other family members.
Ideally, you should have as many hours of nighttime sleep as possible, but getting a few brief naps during the day can also help revitalize your energy and mental health. Ask your family to step in when you’re tired and work out a schedule that allows you enough downtime.
Invigorate yourself through healthy choices
Sleep might be one of the main pillars of healthy living, but it’s also dependent on other choices you make during the day. Just like that soothing routine helps you unwind before bed to fall asleep more quickly, proper nutrition and exercise are crucial in enabling sleep for any new mom.
If you’re having a hard time incorporating a workout routine or eating well, you can also use a fitness app such as My Fitness Pal. It allows you to track your progress, find routines that work for you, and learn how you can change your diet to be more energized.
To sum up
Being a new mom and learning what your newborn needs take time and even more patience. As much as we’re told that moms won’t sleep enough while caring for a newborn, there’s no need to go down without a fight, so to speak.
Support systems, moms with more experience, and all the health tips are there for a reason. Use them to refresh yourself, revamp your energy needs, and you’ll have all the more zeal to connect with your baby and prepare for many milestones that are coming your way.
Alaska Sleep Clinic works every day to reach moms that need help diagnosing and treating sleep issues for their families, including our regular appearances on KTUU Channel 2's "Moms Everyday" program.