When a new member of the family enters the world, it can mean changes to a family’s routine, including big changes to mom’s sleep cycle. A lack of rest is one of the biggest struggles for mothers with newborns, and sleep deprivation can lead to more serious concerns and complications, such as drowsy driving, emotional distress and a weakened immune system. Brandi Acosta, RN, BSN, birth planner, Parkview Women’s & Children’s Hospital, has some important pointers for tired parents looking to get more shuteye.
7 Sleep Tips for New Moms
- Go for walks or workout in the morning. If your baby had a rough night and you did not get much sleep, being outside helps to revamp your circadian rhythm. The exercise also helps you to be more apt to fall asleep during nap time. Babies often develop a better sense of night and day when they are exposed to the sunlight in the morning time.
- Sleep when the baby sleeps. This is probably the most common piece of advice, for good reason. Often times during the day when baby is napping, moms tend to use that time to catch up on house work. Those things can wait. Shut off your cell phone or turn it on vibrate and rest. Even if you are not able to sleep, your body is still getting rest by relaxing.
- Accept help from others. Ask others such as your partner, family, or older children to watch the infant while you take a nap. Naps don’t need to be hours long. A 15-20-minute nap has huge benefits to the mind and body.
- Never co-sleep with your baby. In addition to the fact that the practice is extremely dangerous for your baby, it also lessens the quality of sleep that you will get. Your subconscious will not rest well when the baby is laying with you.
- Don’t be afraid to say no to other responsibilities. Now is not the time to do extra volunteer work or take on new projects. You should scale back your other obligations and focus on recovery and rest.
- Don’t worry that you won’t hear your baby cry. Mothers are naturally apt to hearing their baby cry, it is how you are made. If you are not room-sharing with your baby, place a monitor next to your bed.
- Remember this phase doesn’t last forever!