If you ask a new mom about her sleep habits,
she might just laugh at you.
It's not her fault she's just tired.
Sleep deprivation is a very real phase of postpartum life, and a good night's sleep can seem like a distant memory. You might be one of the lucky ones if your newborn is snoozing through the night, but things could change a few months later.
Every baby is different and their sleep habits tend to change as they develop, which usually means less sleep for parents during these growth spurts.
Overtired or sleep deprived parents are usually more at risk for lowered immune systems and in some cases postpartum depression and anxiety. When we sleep we're actually going through two phases of sleep; dream sleep or non REM "deep sleep." Quality sleep is a good balance of both and in the first few months with a new baby, there's certainly no balance going on.
Sleep deprivation can take a toll on emotional health and even weigh heavy on your relationships at home. Not only can sleepless nights leave you exhausted, you can experience some physical pains, tension headaches and even stress on your breast milk supply.
Why won't my little one sleep?!
Newborns tend to sleep for 4 hours or less at a time, waking up frequently throughout the night. When parents wake up for their shift of baby care, they start the sleep cycle from scratch and keeps them from getting to the "deep sleep" stage they need to actually feel rested.
How to Get Better Sleep
Believe it or not, it is actually possible to get a decent night's sleep or at the very least you can catch up on some precious Z's.
During the night, trade off night feedings with your partner so you can each get a guaranteed few hours of sleep through the night or better yet, hire a Postpartum & Infant Care Doula to do the waking for you. Catching a nap on the weekends or during the day while your baby naps will also help you feel recharged after a long night. Try not to get too many naps to avoid oversleeping. Oversleeping can sometimes make you feel worse than getting no sleep at all and your natural rhythm will be thrown off at nighttime.
Avoid taking in too much caffeine, it might actually do more harm than good. Take in some power-foods that give you sustainable energy without any jitters or dehydration. Almonds are just some of the great snacks for sleepy moms in need of a pick me up
Long story short, sleepless nights might not be avoidable but we can sure make the best of them when we know what to expect.
Your doula can help get your baby on a sleep schedule that works for you, helping you get more sleep and giving your baby a good foundation for self soothing. We're here to help and just a phone call away!