Most new parents learn very quickly that along with the new addition to the family, comes a lot less sleep than they had become accustomed to. All too soon they start to feel like the walking dead throughout the day, the end result of hardly any sleep the night before. Even if your baby only wakes every few hours for a feed, you are still getting far less sleep then your body needs at this time. If your baby is not a good sleeper, or is not feeling very well, you may get even less sleep than that.
This can be a very stressful time, and the prospect of another year or two with no sleep can seem all too real. However, with just a few changes to your daily routine, you will get more sleep and begin to feel more like yourself and a lot less like a zombie. Sleep is vitally important, the more of these tips you can follow then the better it will be for you and your baby.
One peice of advice a new parent will get regularly is "Sleep when your baby sleeps". This is definitely excellent advice, if you can do that of course. The two most important things at this stage are you and your baby’s health. You must remain healthy so that you can properly take care of your baby. It is essential for both of you to get a decent amount of rest.
Newborn babies sleep an awful lot, usually around 15-16 hours per day. They wake up frequently however, usually every 3-4 hours or so, to be fed and changed. If your baby is sleeping 15 hours a day, then there is plenty of time for you to catch a nap as well. Do not feel ashamed to take a few naps during the course of the day with your baby. If that is the only time that you can get some sleep, then you really need to do it, and should. Other chores can wait, you and your baby are far more important than dirty dishes.
Of course, things can be difficult if this is not your first child, if your other children are young they may also require constant supervision. This is the time when you need to call in reinforcements. Ask friends and relatives that you trust to help out so that you can get some extra sleep. Don't feel embarassed doing this. They will understand that you need help and will be glad you asked for it. If they can come over for just a small amount of time a day, or better still take the kids out for a little while, you can get some well earned rest.
It would be a very good idea to make it clear that you do need help, but are not looking for social hour with everyone. They must be aware that if they come to visit, the visits may on some occasions be cut short if the baby goes to take a nap, because, remember, that is your sleep time as well. Another idea would be to get your visitors to watch over the baby while you take a well earned nap. This of course, is only an option if you absolutely trust the people involved and are not breast-feeding the baby.
Sleep is one of the most important things that a new parent needs. You should never be afraid or embarrassed to ask for a little help. Most people have been where you are and completely understand what you are going through. They will always be more than happy to lend a hand. In getting more rest you will be a happier, healthier person and will be more able to carry out the daily tasks presented to you and take care of your entire family.
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