So here you are, delivery complete, the newborn fed and happy and you’re finally going to try to catch some z’s. Here’s hoping right? Well it really depends on what sleep actually means to you. Are you looking for a full night’s rest, seven to ten hours of sleep? Are you a person that can get by on a couple of hours? Regardless, your body has been through quite an ordeal and you’ll want to try to get some sleep.
Sleep is not something that you will get a whole lot of. Unfortunately that’s a fact. There isn’t much you can do about it. If you happened to have the unfortunate symptoms of insomnia, then you might actually welcome the next couple of months with your newborn; You might get more sleep.
Your sleep patterns as a new mother can really help keep your head together. Without that peaceful bliss at night, you and your loved ones will only feel pissed off. Discord will happen in your home (more than what a newborn can create) and resentfulness will set in. There are several stages of sleep that you must be aware of. As a new mother, you may not be fully prepared for the fluctuation in your life and your sanity. So let’s begin in the hospital where the interrupted sleep patterns begin.
So here you are, baby born, ready to get that rest that your body desires at this point, and yet, I hate to burst your bubble, you may not get a whole lot of rest the first two nights. Honestly you won’t get a whole lot of rest the first couple of months but hey, were starting at the beginning.
After moving to a Postpartum room, feeding your child, and hopefully by this point, you may have taken a shower, you’re ready to get some sleep. There are two different types of hospitals; ones with a nursery and a room in type. Both have their pros and cons. The type of nursery options depend entirely on the hospital which you give birth in.
If you have a hospital with a nursery, this is a great option for sleep. The nurse will take away your newborn for several hours a day, bringing it back only to feed. The ‘nursery’ type of hospital gives you time for your body to heal from the insanity of delivery.
If you have a room in type, which is what I gave birth in, you’re in for no sleep. The pros to having a child room in is that it kinda gives you an idea of what the nights ahead of you are going to be like. It begins to prepare your body for waking up whenever the baby cries and gets you used to hearing the sounds of your baby. However it’s not conducive to sleep at all. I had no sleep and actually had a mental break down in the middle of the night one night because I had no sleep. It didn’t help that my child wouldn’t actually suck on my breasts and that I had a bunch of visitors who wanted to see the newborn. SO if you have a room in type room, my advice to you is to limit your visitors and try to have a family member there that can watch the child so you can get a little bit of sleep.
Each hospital is different and it really just depends on where you want to give birth. Just be prepared to understand the differences that each option presents you and work out a plan with family members ahead of time.
FIRST WEEK HOME
So you’re now home and everyone is trying to settle into the routine and get used to the newest addition in the household, and it does take some getting used to. Most babies (I say most because every child is different) tend to eat every two to three hours for the first couple of months and it’s extremely important that they eat this way for the first week or so because the babies system is learning to function on its own without amniotic fluid. You are both learning and its rough. The first week is hard.
With the baby wanting to eat every two to three hours it’s almost impossible to function with catnaps supplying your shut eye. Making a pallet in their room or having a attachable bassinet on the side of your bed will help. Having an older family member who is experienced with babies also helps. My mother took a week off of work to help me with my child and having her their was the most helpful thing and the crutch I leaned on. Take naps when you can. Its hard when you’re on your own and their are other things to get done in the house. My other half pays for our household so i didn’t expect him to be awake with the baby in the middle of the night when he had to get ready for work at five in the morning.
Talk with your partner about how best to manage duties when regarding the baby. Obviously the first month your baby will be sleeping a lot as its growing, so maybe once your partner is home or available, see if they can’t watch the child for a few hours so you can catch up on some sleep.
SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT
Most of the time, your body is on hyper alert waiting hear the cries from your child. As the first couple months pass, your body will slowly want to sleep more and more, or at least this was the case with me. It becomes difficult to keep up the sleep pattern of every couple hours at night, since our bodies know that were supposed to be sleeping through it. As the child grows, he or she will sleep for longer periods of time at night, slowly working up to sleeping through the night.
Believe it or not, five to six hours of sleep is not that far away. Once my child hit about ten and a half pounds a magical switch flipped and i was sleeping through the night. Its amazing and a great time to catch up on that lack of sleep. Occasionally you will have nights where your child might wake up earlier or later and you need to be prepared for that, but a consistent schedule will help your child get used to the hours of sleep. Mine has his last feeding at 8, (he doesn’t nap too much through out the day) and he will usually be awake about 7 in the morning.
TOOLS TO HELP YOUR CHILD SLEEP
occasionally you have that one that is stubborn and think the world is much more interesting than you or him sleeping. Swaddling your child is a great way to help them feel more comfortable at night and until they can roll over its fantastic. Swaddle sacks from Halo mimic the feel of being in the womb, comfy, tight and snug. They are great until the child learns to roll, then you have to teach your child to sleep with his arms out of the swaddle.
A lavender essential oil diffuser works great for you and the child. It really helps one feel relaxed and peaceful. Also lavender body wash and lotion help as well.
really there is no magical button for more sleep when dealing with a young child. You, as a mom, have to realize that both of you are learning how to do this together. It’s not easy and it doesn’t come with a manual. I cannot stress how important sleep is to a new mother. You are going to be faced with situations that will test your patience and your mental health. You need to find some way to get some sleep.
There is no good way to say this, but honestly, sleep is just not something that you’re going to have a lot of. Get what you can, and use coffee for the moments when you’re awake.