Like any rite of passage, there is no way to really describe it until you are in the situation and going through it. One of those things is the sleep deprivation that comes with a newborn. You might think you have been tired in the past, but now you will know that you’re tired and it will feel unlike anything you have experienced before. If you have a bad night pre-children, then you might be able to sleep in or make up for it the following night. But with children, especially a newborn, things can always be a little bit unpredictable. Parenthood is like you’re always tidying up for a party that you didn’t attend and feeling hungover even though you’re the most sober person around.
All’s not lost, though. The sleep deprivation does ease. The first few weeks or months can be a tough. But then it can become less often, until you’ll forget what it likes to be woken up in the night. But if you’re expecting a newborn baby, then there are some things that you can prepare for. Though you can never be fully prepared for anything, you can put a few things in place to help you to cope. After all, having a newborn does come with the inevitability that you’re going to have some disrupted sleep. So here are some tips that are pretty essential to helping you to survive those precious first few months.
Save Your Energy
Let’s face it; now is not the time to be planning to run a marathon or run a million errands. Now is the time to relax as much as you can and enjoy those precious newborn days. When you’re already low on sleep, you don’t want to tire out your body even more. Read those books you haven’t been able to for a while, or binge watch a Netflix series. If you feel like you need to do some exercise, then some yoga can be a good way to strengthen your body, without the impact and energy required for an aerobics class, for instance.
You should be making sleep and rest a priority, though; we are given maternity leave for a reason. As Bear Grylls will attest to, sleep deprivation is a method of torture. So don’t try to be a hero and torture yourself! Life (and your home) may become a little messy as you prioritize sleep. However, this won’t last forever. When you know that it will end, then you can forgive yourself more easily for having dirty dishes piled up high, right? You could always get a cleaner if you’re in a position to do so and the mess is driving you mad. That or eat on disposable plates that you can just throw away!
Make Notes on Feeding
Your head will be a foggy mess in those early days. So making some notes about it all can be a good way to help you to remember everything. When was your baby last changed? When was his last feed and how long was it for? There are apps that you can download to track this kind of thing, as well as using something like the notes app on your phone.
You can make yourself feel worse and even more exhausted by what you choose to fuel your body with. Think how you feel after guzzling a huge soda and then eating a burger. That is more likely to make you feel worse than if you were to have a fresh salad, for instance. Homemade meals can be a dream, so making some ahead of giving birth and then freezing, can be a really good idea. Vegetable soups and smoothies are nutritious and filling and can give you so much more energy than any processed foods will. That is not to say a delivery pizza isn’t going to be just the thing that you might need that day. But when you regularly fuel your body with foods that will sap your already depleted energy stores, then it will take its toll.
Hydration is really key too, especially if you’re nursing. It will help you to avoid headaches, as well as keep your body functioning as it should. It can clear toxins and help your skin to clear. So there is no excuse to sit and sip on some water while you’re nursing your baby, for example.
Create a Good Environment To Sleep
If you want to maximize those hours that you are going to get to sleep, then you need to make sure that you have created an environment that is conducive to getting a good night’s sleep (even if it will be broken). A comfortable and peaceful environment can make all the difference to how well you sleep. One thing that can be really beneficial, especially for nap times, is to get some blackout blinds for your windows. It will allow you to not be disturbed by lighter mornings and encourage your baby to go back to sleep too (as well as you).
Making your bed and using things like lavender essential oil can be really handy to encourage you to sleep too. Having a comfortable bed, with plenty of the right pillows, a warm duvet, and a comfortable mattress are really key too. So have a think now, is your bedding up to scratch? It could be worth looking at Ted & Stacey’s Mattress Guides if you’re in the market for a new mattress. Knowing the right one to help with any back problems you have or for pregnancy can be helpful.
Ask For Help
There is nothing worse than feeling isolated and alone, especially with a newborn baby. So if someone offers help, then take it! Family and close friends are likely to want to help in the first instance. But other visitors can be welcomed. Put them to good use, though. Unless you want to sit and chat with them, ask them to watch the baby while you take a shower, or even while you head to the store for half an hour. They may offer meals or offers of cleaning, as well as helping with other errands. Not everyone feels comfortable asking for help. But if it is offered, then make sure you take them up on the offer. It won’t last forever, and when you’re in the swing of things (and getting a full night’s sleep), you can pay them back and help them.
You could even think about hiring help if you are in need and in a position to do so. As has been said, a cleaner could be desirable for you. You could even look into hiring someone like a night nurse to help during the night. With multiples, this could be a good idea to help you through.
If you want to get a good night’s sleep, then there are things that you can do to help, that don’t just involve having comfortable bedding. One of those can be to avoid having caffeine too close to bedtime. You might be getting through your day with the help of some caffeine. But closer to bedtime, it is best to avoid. You don’t want to still be buzzing when it comes to going to bed. Being able to fall asleep instantly is a skill to master with a newborn, as you want to make the most of the time that you have to actually get some sleep. For many people, avoiding caffeine after lunch is a good idea. But you know your body and how much is too much for you.
Get Fresh Air
Going for a big hike is not going to be the best idea with a newborn. But getting outside and giving the both of you some fresh air, can really do you the world of good. It can help you to feel more energized, as well as make you feel happier. Being cooped up indoors all day isn’t going to be conducive to a happy mood all of the time (there is only so much Netflix a person can take, right)? Push your baby in a stroller or carry them in a sling; it will all help to lighten your mood, reduce stress, and give you an injection of much-needed energy.
You’re not going to be a sleep-deprived parent forever! It can be hard to imagine and envisage, but it doesn’t last forever. So while you can, make some adjustments and it will certainly help to make you feel less zombie-like. Fill the freezer with homemade meals, as well as finding some quick and healthy recipes to make when the baby is here. Take help and make yourself as comfortable as possible. Pregnancy is uncomfortable a lot of the time anyway, so getting yourself a comfortable place to sleep now, before your baby is here, can be a wonder for when your baby does actually arrive. Are there any other tips and tricks that you would add to help a new mother survive?