Is adapting to life with your newborn leaving you exhausted?
Does it feel impossible to catch up on sleep?
We totally get it. You’re not alone. Take a deep breath. We’re here to help.
If you recently had a baby, a full night’s sleep can feel like a distant memory. Adapting to your new normal while trying to heal from labor, is no small feat. The longer you go without rest, the worse your body feels — occasionally causing serious side effects. Studies have shown that long-term sleep deprivation can result in anxiety, irritability, reduced cognitive functioning, and can contribute to postpartum depression.
If you’ve been struggling to rest, or are looking to optimize your sleeping environment, continue reading below. Our tips include data on the benefits of bedside co-sleeping, as well as minor changes to your sleep hygiene that will have you sleeping like a baby in no time.
FOLLOW YOUR BABY’S LEAD
When your baby sleeps, that’s your cue to sleep, too. Simple enough, right? Some parents spend the first year fighting against their baby’s natural rhythm and needs, You can try to get your baby on your clock, but this will only add to your exhaustion. That time will come, but don’t expect it right away.
Instead, try taking the opposite approach and create a sleeping environment similar to the womb. Science tells us to expect newborns to sleep 16-18 a day, in 2-3 hour increments (bedside co-sleeping can increase that time.) You can work with that, right? Start viewing those hours as windows of opportunity to rest and relax. Don’t forget to be patient with yourself. This is going to be an adjustment, but you’ll get there. (You just made a human! After that, there’s nothing you can’t handle.)
SHARE RESPONSIBILITIES WITH YOUR PARTNER
Listen to your body. No matter how independent you are, talk to your partner about how they can help. Working together to rotate responsibilities will make it possible for you to sleep, heal, and be at your best. The American Academy of Family Physicians echoes the importance of letting others help during your postpartum recovery:
“During the first six weeks, pay attention to your body…resist the temptation to do more. Overdoing things at this point can set you back in your recovery. Concentrate on nourishing your body with good foods, drinking plenty of water (especially if you are breastfeeding), and getting enough rest.”
Your baby, body, and relationship will all benefit from practicing good communication. After all, teamwork makes the dream work.
PRACTICE PROPER SLEEP HYGIENE
The concept of proper sleep hygiene is all about setting up your sleep environment and making choices during the day to not interfere with your body’s ability to sleep.
For example: not drinking caffeine after 2pm, fighting late-night cravings, and removing technology from the bedroom. With a newborn added to the equation, and feedings waking you up every few hours, the mixed messages to your body make it hard to go back to sleep on command. Additional tips for those struggling to get back to sleep, include:
- Doing 5-10 minutes of yoga or peaceful meditation
- Make a cup of herbal tea (they are naturally decaffeinated.)
- Close the blinds, or try blackout window treatments
POSTPARTUM DOULAS & AFTER BIRTH CARE SPECIALISTS
For those unfamiliar, Postpartum Doulas and After Birth Care Specialists, are specially trained to help moms in the first weeks, or months after giving birth. They work with you, in your home, to help you feel comfortable adapting to all things motherhood. (They’re also covered by state health care and independent insurance coverages.)
For those struggling with getting baby to latch on, or, worried you’ve swaddled your baby too tightly — Maybe, you’re experiencing anxiety about how your body is healing — Or, you don’t know why your baby won’t stop crying — With compassion, understanding, and a helpful attitude, they will help you with all of it.
Although this uncharted territory can be frightening, don’t forget about the resources available to help you. If you’ve got a question, ask it. If you’re unsure of something, or something feels off, trust your gut and find help. There’s nothing like peace of mind when it comes to a good night’s sleep.
Switching to using a bedside co-sleeper can make all the difference in terms of a good night’s sleep. Studies have shown the benefits of co-sleeping, (when done safely,) can be extensive — including: physiological syncing between mom and baby (breathing, heartbeat, etc,) increased time in REM sleep, and in longer intervals.
Try taking the more natural approach, by keeping moms and babies close throughout the night. It will change the game, and the science is there to prove it, says Dr. James McKenna:
“Staying close to the adult’s body helps the baby remain at a more stable body temperature. Physical contact, in close cosleeping, helps babies to “breathe more regularly, use energy more efficiently, grow faster, and experience less stress”
Simply speaking, when you create a sleep environment that allows for physical connection, similar to the womb, the transition won’t be nearly as jarring for your baby (and moms.) The problems start when we fight against nature, and expect babies to not be upset when they don’t know where mom is. They’re not able to self-soothe, yet. So why would we expect them to do so, just because it meets our needs? Now that co-sleeping can be done safely again, there’s no reason not to. It’s best for both of you.
Interested in finding a bedside co-sleeper that works for you?
Consider the leading, attachable, bedside co-sleeper by babybay. Not only are we the only eco-friendly sleeper on the market, but we are also committed to sustainable manufacturing. Each of our sleepers are made with the highest quality, European beechwood, and, for every tree used, we plant another. You’ll never see plastics, cardboard, or any toxic paints on our sleepers. Plus, we hold 2 of the highest safety certifications from Europe and the United States.
Our customers love our bedside sleepers because they’re created by parents, for parents — showing a true understanding of your everyday struggles and needs.
For more information on how we stack up against the competition, click here.