If you’re a new mummy, you’ve heard old and experienced mum’s tell you on countless occasions that you should sleep when your baby sleeps. And you’ve probably gotten so sick of hearing it because it just doesn’t work the times you’ve tried.
You and I both know that sleeping when the little critter does only leaves you more tired. Besides, when will you have your alone time if you sleep your afternoon away?
You keep telling yourself that you’d be so much better at motherhood if you just managed a few more hours of sleep a day. Clinical psychologists have a 10-fold solution for you (or any other sleep deprived soul) that will get you back into awake mode. Here they are:
Allow yourself to sleep. You have to tell yourself that it’s okay to be exhausted and to call up someone to take over for a little while is not only okay, but also meritorious! You’ve burnt the mid-night oil, and you most definitely deserve a break!
Get your support structure in order. If you don’t have family around, you need to build relations with responsible friends who could help you out when you need them. Or…Get a nanny or a babysitter (what I did) for an hour or so, so that you can get that much needed rest.
The dreaded “sleep when baby sleeps”. You will need to do this regardless of how much better it makes you feel. According to research the fact that you aren’t really sleeping doesn’t mean that it’s all in vain; just resting will allow your body to heal.
Do the best you can. Early days of motherhood are no time to try and be a perfectionist or a martyr. Studies show that mummies who breastfeed and co-sleep with their babies sleep better since they don’t have to wake up completely to feed.
Breastfeeding for better sleep! A study published in the Journal of Perinatal and Neonatal Nursing found that breastfeeding parents slept 40 to 45 minutes more on average than those who didn’t!
Rest! You know those times when you feel too tired to sleep? Just rest yourself down and breath :) In a number of lab studies, subjects denied that they had slept at all when they woke from the first stage of sleep.
Light up your life. And dim it down completely at night! Getting outside in the sun with your baby during the day and keeping the lights dim at night will teach your baby the difference between the two. It will also get your circadian rhythms in balance!
Relax. Go for a walk. Meditate. Focus in your salah and get rid of stress hormones that keep you awake.
Early to bed. Develop good sleep patterns of your own and soon you and baby will be in sync.
Phases. It’s important to remember that baby’s sleep improves when they’re around 12 weeks and that babies develop in phases. So don’t despair if something isn’t working out for you for undoubtedly, the situation will most definitely change.