There are so many wonderful moments in those precious first weeks and months as a new parent. Unfortunately, exhaustion caused by frequently disturbed sleep is not one of them. Here are a few simple steps you can take to help yourself get more – and better – sleep during the early stages of your baby’s life.
Sleep When Baby Sleeps
A famous bit of advice – but it works. If you can get a couple of hours here and there when baby is napping during the day, do so. If you struggle to fall asleep in the daytime, just being restful and taking some quiet time while they sleep will still benefit your body. Try listening to relaxing music or taking a bath to unwind.
Go to Bed at the Same Time
It might sound crazily early, but going to bed at the same time as your baby gives you time to catch up on precious sleep before you have to wake up for overnight feeds. It you feel at all tempted to use your late evenings to catch up on laundry or tidy the house, just remember to go easy on yourself. You’ll be in a much better state tomorrow if you hit the sack early and get the sleep you need when you can.
Don’t Obsess Over the Clock
Try not to clock-watch when you’re up in the night. It’ll only make you more aware of how much sleep you’re NOT getting, which will make it even harder to drop off. Instead, hide any clocks, tuck your phone away overnight and do what you have to do with baby before heading straight back to bed. Find Relaxation Methods
Sometimes, baby can be fast asleep, but you simply can’t nod off. Your mind is buzzing with anxieties about baby as well as the long list of things that you ‘should’ be doing right now. At times like this, try deep breathing, relaxation techniques and easy yoga to help with energy levels and mindfulness during a potentially stressful and manic period in your life. Write things down rather than trying to remember them like superwoman.
Share the Night Feeds
If you can, share the load between yourself and your partner. It can be bliss to know you’ve got at least one or two magical nights without having to get up to feed them. If you choose to breastfeed rather than bottle-feed, consider expressing and storing your breast milk so Dad can take control when needed.
Our Twist™ Breast Milk Expressing and Feeding System is the ideal solution for getting dad involved with feeds. It is the only expressing product that will allow you to express with your own breast pump and baby’s favourite bottle teat (if they have one). The bain-marie function heats milk gently with a maximum temperature of 65°C, designed to better preserve the nutrients in breast milk.
If you’re dehydrated, your feelings of tiredness will be more severe. It’s important to drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration and to help you stay alert. Keeping your fluids up will also benefit your skin, reducing the appearance of tired eyes and dry skin.
Food is your fuel: make sure you eat well and get enough energy to cope with daily life. Avoid junk-foods which give you a quick burst followed by a crash. Instead, choose slow-digesting foods like whole grains, oatmeal, beans, nuts, fruits and veggies. Try not to let tiredness get in the way of being able to cook or eat a decent meal – this is your recovery time too.
When the last thing you feel like doing is cooking, our top tip is to batch cook meals to store in the freezer and defrost when you need them. The Nutribaby+ has the largest capacity on the market for exactly this reason. As well as preparing baby food, it can also be used to prepare simple meals using its steamer, blender or reheating function.
If you do get chance to catch up on some sleep and want to make the most of it, there are several foods known to have sleep-inducing properties. Fish, bananas, cherries, yoghurt, warm milk and chamomile or decaf green teas are all on the list.
Take Time to Shower
Never underestimate the effect of having a simple shower and putting on clean clothes. This is a great trick to help you feel refreshed, energised and more in control, even when you’re tired. Spending the day in your PJ’s won’t necessarily help you feel motivated or awake.
Reconnecting with the outside world in the first few weeks of motherhood can be somewhat of a challenge. A short walk is an excellent way of taking in some fresh air and natural daylight for you and baby. Natural light exposure is directly linked to better mood and energy levels, which is paramount for the wellbeing of new mothers and fathers.
Coffee is Your Friend
There’s something about the flavour, satisfying aroma and experience of taking just a few minutes to enjoy a coffee, that can work wonders for awakening the senses and providing a little injection of energy. If you’re breastfeeding, opt for decaf coffee – some mums have reported that even decaf coffee has an energy-boosting effect on them despite the lack of caffeine.
It’s likely that during these amazing but busy few months, you’ll have lots of visits from friends and family, offering to help with ‘anything you need’! It can be difficult to actually take up these offers, but they really could be your saviour. Just having someone else look after baby for an afternoon or doing a load of washing, can free you up for more of the rest your body is craving. It’s also a great opportunity for baby to get used to meeting different people and seeing new faces.
Positivity is Key
Do everything you can (and as much of the above as possible) to stay positive. This state of exhaustion might seem unbearable now, but it WILL get easier as you become more confident as a parent and establish a bedtime routine with your baby. In the meantime, try these 4 simple rules for settling baby to sleep.