Mother’s Sleep and Care
How do I get more sleep?
If you are breastfeeding, you may be woken up during the night by your hungry baby and sometimes the sucking motion can prevent you from getting any rest. There are however a few things you can do to achieve the sleep you need to keep going :
- If you are breastfeeding your baby in the night you could purchase a bed side cot which can then be placed by the side of your bed. This will allow you to lie down and feed your baby with the reassurance that your baby is safe in the cot.
- Try to get some sleep when your baby sleeps during the day. By combining sleeping patterns you can get the sleep you need.
- Take regular naps during the day or ask a partner or friend to take over for a bit to give you time to rest.
- Make sure your bed is comfortable with pillows and other cushions to ensure your body is rested to ensure a good sleep.
- If you use a lamp at night turn it off or keep it at a dim setting for a better night’s sleep.
- Try to do gentle exercises to help you get to sleep easier at night.
- Refrain from drinking coffee or other drinks with caffeine content that may keep you awake at night.
What to do if my baby wakes up during the night ?
All babies, especially if they are newborn, will wake up during the night at some point. This could be for a number of reasons and it is important to check the following to ensure they can get back to sleep:
- Your baby may need a nappy change
- Your baby may be hungry for milk
- Your baby may be too hot or cold
- Your baby might have wind and need to be burped
It is important to check these four elements, though if your baby simply wants to be awake and is happy and well you could let them fall asleep naturally in the cot.
Will taking naps at intervals benefit me?
Of course, when you’re sleep-deprived, the longer the nap, the better. A 45 minute nap improves alertness for six hours after the nap. Even 20 minutes can make a big difference for many mothers.
A parent loses about 350 hours of sleep at night over her baby’s first year. Napping is a great way to reduce your sleep deficit. If you’ve gone awhile without getting good-quality rest, the sleep you do get even during a nap will become more effective. You’ll fall asleep more quickly and sleep more soundly, so you’ll actually get more sleep and refreshment for the shorter amount of time spent in bed.
How do I prepare my baby’s sleep environment ?
It is always best to create a safe sleeping environment for your baby before it arrives. You can buy a cot and necessary bedding from many mother and baby retail outlets. Many outlets can advise you on the type of bedding suitable for newborn babies to ensure your child is not overheated when sleeping or other relative tips.
Always put your baby to sleep on their back with your baby’s feet at the foot of the crib or cot. This is important to reduce risk of cot deaths.
How do I set a my baby’s sleeping pattern?
Newborn babies sleep a lot during the first few weeks and on average you can expect them to sleep for around 18 hours a day. By the time your baby reaches three months old you can expect them to sleep around 15 hours a day. It is important to remember that this is temporary. As your baby gets older you will recapture many of those sleepless nights.
You can help identify your baby’s sleeping patterns by doing the following:
- Look for signs that your baby is sleepy, such as gently touching their ears or rubbing their eyes. If you think your baby might be sleepy try to put them down in the cot and see if they do go to sleep of their own accord.
- Try to teach your baby the difference between day and night by dimming any lights at night.
- Give your baby a chance to fall asleep naturally.
How do I create a bedtime routine for my baby ?
Try following the same routine everyday for your baby in order to get in the process of having a regular routine. This will not be possible all that much in the early stages though. You could try giving your baby a bath and then singing them a lullaby. If you repeatedly do the same routine your baby will be able to familiarise it with night and day and went sleep accordingly. They will also realise that at night time you wind them down rather than playing with them, another association for when it is time for bedtime.
Should I consider co-sleeping to get sleep?
Some parents advocate “co-sleeping,” a practice in which parents and baby share a bed. Researchers have found that co-sleeping (or the same room) can promote bonding and regulate both mothers and baby’s sleep patterns.
What if I can’t fall asleep?
Weary parents who are unable to fall asleep may have insomnia. Try visualising a relaxing image, such as sitting on a secluded beach while listening to crashing ocean waves. If you don’t fall asleep within 15 to 20 minutes, get out of bed, go to another room, and do something soothing, such as listening to music or reading. Go back to bed when you feel sleepy, and resist the urge to watch the clock.
New parents have the best of intentions when they push themselves to the limit while taking care of their baby during those first hectic months. But doing so without getting enough rest or receiving outside help can be a recipe for disaster. Do the best thing for your family by remembering one of the fundamentals of good parenting: Take good care of yourself so that you can take good care of your baby.