The life of a new mother is tiring. Heck, life of a mother- new or old, stay-at-home or working, single or not –is tiring. Right from ensuring that your little one has been fed right, to getting tough stains off her clothes, moms have to be on it all the time. In addition to that, keeping up with the energy levels of a child is draining. Especially so when you are sleep deprived.Chronic sleep deprivation in new mothers is a common occurrence. It leads to anxiety, mood swings, fatigue and even depression.
On an average, an adult requires 7-9 hours of sleep daily. Getting only a couple of hours of sleepdaily for a extended period of time can lead to piling up of sleep debt. Here are some sleep tips that mothers can follow to avoid that
Sleep when the child sleeps
No? Would you rather use this time finishing chores around the house? Well, if you try to fit in your pending tasks in this time, you’ll end up being more tired when the baby is up and ready to play. Even if it is a 20-min nap, lie right beside your baby and try to catch a wink. Also, keep the phone away. Continuous screen time can lead to disturbed sleep patterns.
Make alternate feeding arrangements
If you are breastfeeding the baby, express your milk using a pump before you sleep. Have your partner or spouse share responsibility during night feeds. Try nursing in a horizontal position instead of sitting up for every feed. Give your back a break. If you have weaned your baby, then keep prefilled bottle of warm milk or formula at your bedside.
Always ask for help
Request your friend, relative or parent to watch over the child when you are taking a nap. Your house help or a helpful neighbour may be willing to take care of the little one while you catch up on your lost sleep
Get a power nap
If you’re a working mother, a power nap at work can do wonders. Both to your productivity at work as well as to your health. Ask for permission to get a 20 min power nap in your office dorm. You may have to cut out on the coffee breaks or long lunch hours but it is totally worth it.
Outsource daily chores
Hire help for as many tasks as you can. Cooking, cleaning, laundry, housekeeping- if you can afford to hire someone, go ahead. Your first priority should be spending time with the baby. Next should be a well-deserved sleep.
Prioritise your life
As much as you may be tempted to step out for a movie or dinner- remember that it can wait. Having guests over and socialising may sound like a good option but it can be overwhelming too. Anyway you won’t be able to do it wholeheartedly if you’re keeping an eye on the clock for the child’s bedtime and feed routine. Instead try and catch some uninterrupted sleep.
Caffeine, nicotine and alcohol have an anti-soporific effect on your body. Try to avoid these stimulants at least 2-3 hours before bedtime. Exercise also acts as a stimulant so you may want to incorporate your fitness regime early during the day.
As primary caregivers, most mothers feel compelled to pay attention to every small need of their child which leads to lack of attention towards their own needs. Only if you take good care of yourself will you be able to take good care of your little one.