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As a new mum, you probably heard someone advising you to get some sleep. Usually, mums like you are fortunate enough to get undisturbed sleep of more than 2 hours.
The obvious remedy for this sleep deprivation is to simply get a good night’s sleep. However, this can seem impossible when you’ve got a baby to look after.
Fortunately, it does get better with time and there are several things you can do to help. Read these 7 must-know tips on how to deal with sleep deprivation as a new mum.
7 Essential Tips on How to Cope with Sleep Deprivation as a New Mum
1. Make the Most Out of Nap Time
Most mums would try to be more productive when they finally get their little one to doze off in the afternoon. You may want to do household chores—wash the dishes, mop the floor, or do laundry—especially with the current state of your home. You might even be tempted to catch up on your favourite TV shows.
However, know that everything can wait, except for your baby. So, put everything aside for now and take a nap alongside your baby. Dozing off for about 20 to 30-minutes can refresh you without causing sleep inertia. Promoting naps can also be beneficial to your baby. For one, naps improve memory and overall development.
Just make sure you don’t sleep any later than 3 p.m. in the afternoon as it may interfere with your and your baby’s bedtime routine.
2. Prepare Healthy Meals
Preparing and cooking proper meals might feel like too much of a hassle, especially when you’re too tired. However, this behavior is unacceptable. Just think of its impacts on your baby’s developmental and emotional stage?
You need to makethe extra effort to eat a nutritionally-balanced meal so you can gain much-needed energy which you will pass on to your baby, especially if you’re breastfeeding. So stock up with easy-to-eat, healthy snacks like fresh fruits, raw vegetables, and nuts!
Do avoid excessive eating, though, as it can actually result in drowsiness. You should also ditch foods with high carbohydrates and sugars such as chocolates and crisps.
Tip: Don’t forget to stay hydrated by drinking at least 8-10 cups of water everyday! Being dehydrated actually contributes to fatigue.
3. Try Horizontal Breastfeeding
If you’re still nursing your little one, you may want to try breastfeeding him or her while lying down on a bed or a couch. Your baby might find the position oddly comforting plus you can freely catch a few extra zzz’s! In fact, breastfeeding while lying on your back is also ideal if you want to minimise pain in your hips or shoulders.
But before trying this method, make sure your little one does not suffer from reflux because you’ll still need to burp him or her afterwards.
CAUTION: You may also need to be careful with horizontal breastfeeding as it can become an unhealthy sleep crutch for your newborn. This simply means that he or she would not be able to fall asleep until you practise this habit.
4. Trade-Off Tasks
At first, you might feel like it’s required that you (typically the at-home parent) take on round-the-clock feedings so your partner can enjoy sleep and get up in the morning for work. However, it’s important to divide household responsibilities as best as you can.
Do consider asking for your partner’s assistance to feed the baby at night through the bottle. If you’re still nursing, you can pump breastmilk so the other half is responsible for at least one nighttime feeding.
This way, everyone in the family gets a good night’s sleep, instead of both of you only getting fragmented sleep.
5. Accept Other People’s Help
You can say “no” but you can also say “yes” to other things, especially people who are offering their help. Whether it’s a family member, friend, a babysitter, or even baby sleep training experts, you can accept help from these reliable people so you can get a few hours of much-needed sleep.
You might be hesitant at first to hand over your baby to a person he’s not familiar with (it’s perfectly normal to be anxious!).However, remember that you need time-off too in order to take care of your baby and yourself.
Having enough sleep has its advantages. Not only does it lowers the risk of accidents caused by drowsy driving, but it also reduces the chances of developing postpartum depression. Motherhood might be a little different from what you had in mind. But no matter how difficult it might be to take care of your baby, it’s best to catch sleep whenever you have free time.
Nurture Parenting, a company in Australia that offers a holistic approach to baby sleep through The Nurture Sleep Program that is designed to take babies from sleepless to slumber.
Nurture Parenting is recognised as Australia’s baby sleep expert. Headed by Karen Faulkner, a Baby and Toddler Sleep Consultant, the company offers The Nurture Sleep Program that helps babies and children on sleep training. This is a tried and tested approach that has already transformed the lives of families through its exclusive baby sleep methods that help baby self-settle and promote blissful sleep.