When I had my first son I never thought I would sleep again. Seriously. My son would not take a bottle and wanted to eat every two hours from start to start. And well, nursing did not come naturally to him or to me. I remember just sitting in the couch in the idle of the night crying because I was so tired and all he wanted to do was eat or be awake.
Fast forward to kid number 4….I thought I had this whole thing all figured out. Man, was I wrong! LOL This little girl of mine never wanted to sleep, well unless she was laying on me. She hardly ever napped and even stopped all together when she was one. Made my first look like a dream and I really knew what it meant to be tired. She’s five years old now and (still) her favorite place to sleep is on my shoulder. I’m really trying to enjoy these moments as I know they are fleeting but it does not make me any less tired.
Getting Some Advice
I decided to take my plight to social media and ask other mamas what some of their advice would be to those of us who are not getting enough sleep. And come to find out, I was not alone. Lots of coffee was a pretty common theme for answers.
There was some really good advice that I wanted to share.
- Get help from your spouse, divide and conquer the workload.
- Sleep when your baby sleeps
- Leave the chores and take a nap
- Utilize childcare at places you visit
- Get regular exercise and lots of yoga
- Don’t try and be supermom
- Have a night nanny or a friend/family member come and help out once in a while.
- Let the baby/toddler watch tv and cuddle with them on the couch.
- Go to bed when the kids go to bed.
- Co-sleep (it does give that special bonding time)
Sleep is so important…and not just because we need it to live. And it sure feels good to lay there all snuggly on a Saturday morning. Cuddling with your new baby is such a joy but did you know that napping with your baby provides that extra bonding time. And being on the same sleep cycle during the first few months of baby’s life helps build that trusting rapport between mama and baby. It’s so hard to do that though because as moms we feel like when they are sleeping we need to jump up and get stuff done. Many experts say that the most healthy postpartum mamas are the ones who allow themselves to sleep as much as they feel they need. Deep sleep allows our brains to produce all those beneficial hormones and restore those cells that help our nervous system communicate with the rest of our bodies.
What the Experts Say
Instead of just going by my mom friends (although I loved their tips) I decided to go to the web and do some research. There was a ton of information and I could have written a book but here are a few things I found interesting and helpful.
- Cutting 60-90 minutes of sleep in a night can reduce mental alertness by over 30% the next day. So getting enough sleep makes you more alert!
- Getting enough sleep can reduce accidents and injury.
- Breastfeeding mamas….getting enough sleep helps prevent low milk supply!
- Adequate sleep can help improve moods and maintain better relationships with your spouse, kids, family and friends.
- AND THIS IS A BIG ONE!!! With enough sleep mamas are less likely to develop Postpartum Depression. Poor sleep is linked to PPD and can worsen symptoms of depression.
- Metabolism functions better when you are getting enough sleep.
- Getting adequate sleep help new mama’s self-esteem which includes feeling better about parenting abilities and life in general.
- Adequate sleep can help reduce the risks of health problems and boost the immune system while even improving memory and a giving moms a better sense of judgment.
One Last Thing
Another huge reason to get a good night’s sleep is we will have more to give to our families and friends. We as women are generally givers. I know I am anyway. And there are just days when all I feel like I do is give and give and give. And the days I struggle with it are the days that I am overtired.
Getting enough sleep is so hard when you have a new baby or young kids. If you are overtired, do not beat yourself up. We all go through it but try and remember to take those moments for you. Sleep when you can. The laundry and the dishes can wait! NAP!!
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Stephanie Rubyor Photography