“My baby is three months old, and I couldn’t remember the last time I got enough sleep. I think the last time I slept well was before I even got pregnant. Lately, I am feeling so exhausted as my baby needs 24 hours of attention. I can’t even enjoy my bath or shower. He wakes up screaming and whining at least 2 to 3 times at night, and I find it difficult to go back to sleep again.” It’s a story that almost every new mom can relate to. The good news is there are ways sleep-deprived new moms can get more sleep.
For new moms, sleep deprivation is a regular feature of motherhood. According to new research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), single parents, especially mothers, are the most sleep-deprived group in the United States. The fallout from this sleeplessness is negatively impacting the physical and emotional well-being of new moms. Here are some effective tips for sleep-deprived moms to get through the days that follow those stressful days and sleepless nights.
The Effects of Sleep Deprivation on New Moms
Although a certain amount of sleep loss is inevitable, many sleep-deprived moms aren’t aware of the negative effects. You might feel dizzy all the time, and it can only get worse without proper steps in the right direction.
Apart from extreme dizziness, signs of sleep deprivation include:
- Feeling easily irritable
- Sheer fatigue or stress
- Clumsiness or disorientation
- Easily distracted
- Being less or more hungry than usual
- More prone to frequent coughs and colds
There are some real risks to chronic sleep loss — risks that many sleep-deprived new moms just don’t take seriously.
- Rows with partners
- Even splitting up with partners
- Lack of libido
- Lack of confidence
- Lower work performance for working moms
Mom and Baby Sleep Gear Essentials You’ll Need
Baby Crib: Baby Bassinet/Crib: A bassinet or crib allows you to check on your baby without getting out of bed at night. Deciding between a crib or a bassinet can be a tough decision as a new parent. Yes, your baby can sleep in a bassinet, but you’ll need a crib eventually. So it would be a good choice if you go straight to a crib.
We recommend that you buy the Mika Micky Bedside Sleeper and Portable Crib. The easy to assemble crib comes with a large sleeping space that can accommodate your growing baby. What’s more, it has two fastening straps to hook under the bed mattress so that the bassinet doesn’t budge.
Mattress: Mattress: It’s easier for your baby to go to sleep when there’s no to little light and noises. The squeaky, scratchy sounds of a mattress can wake them up easily, whereas a firm innerspring or foam crib mattress can save you from so many sleepless nights.
For any sleep-deprived moms, a Milliard Crib Mattress is a great investment. This mattress is soft and perfectly silent when your little one moves around. It’s well worth the money!
Baby Swing: Many sleep-deprived new moms find that a baby swing is an effective way to calm a crying baby. The rhythmic rocking motion of a baby swing may very well put your newborn to sleep in seconds. However, it’s advised that you shouldn’t leave your newborn unattended in a swing for a longer period.
Graco DuoGlider is one of the best baby swings out there. The great thing about this baby swing is you can also use it as a bassinet for the first months. It has been a lifesaver for new moms over the years. Don’t believe us? Check out the reviews below.
White Noise Machine: You might struggle to keep everything silent when your newborn is sleeping. A white noise machine can help block out the outside noises and let your newborn sleep peacefully.
Hatch baby rest sound machine works wonders for little kids. Get one to ensure better sleep for you and your baby.
Baby Monitor: Monitors are particularly useful for sleep-deprived moms to monitor kids at night when they sleep apart. Some baby monitor notifies you real-time sound and motion. So they’re great for naps too.
The Nanit Baby Monitor is particularly designed for sleep-deprived new parents. It’s easy to set up, and the picture quality is much better than the other baby monitors out there!
- Wide-angle view & great image quality.
- Effective sleep tracking
- Easy to monitor temperature & humidity
- Easy setup
- Little pricey
PS: Don’t forget to read manufacturer instructions thoroughly and follow all safety guidelines.
Related Post: How to Soothe a Crying Baby in Seconds
How to Handle Sleep Deprivation with a Newborn
You’ll need to prioritize your sleep. You have to find a sleep routine that works for you and your baby. Think of some sleep strategies like the use of calming lotion to help your baby get used to sleeping longer during the night. If your baby does sleep longer, it will be easier for you to get a good sleep as well.
The old sleep advice “sleep when the baby sleeps” probably doesn’t work for all. Not because you will want to do chores or run errands, but because the baby will not want to sleep on his/her own. Rest if you can, but don’t put extra pressure on yourself.
Newborns sleep better at night being swaddled. It can be an incredibly effective sleep strategy to calm your infants and promote sleep. So before putting him/her to bed, make sure he is clean, dry, full, and swaddled. Just make sure you are following the APP’s safe sleep guidelines and doing it accordingly.
Sleep-sharing is another option worth considering. If you sleep with the baby, it is so much easier to pick the baby up and breastfeed and also allows you to get some much-needed sleep. Even research supports that both new moms and babies get more sleep when they are sharing a single bed. As long as you are paying close attention to the general safety guidelines for co-sleeping, everything should be fine.
Motherhood is all about sacrifice as a mother. But sometimes you can use a hand to make it through the day. If you have a partner, try to get sleep in shifts and discuss how to make the transition easier.
Find out more about your baby’s sleep or nap schedule. Create a bedtime routine that works best for you and your baby.
Take it easy on yourself. Try a few runs around the garden or up the stairs a few times. If sleeping when your baby sleeps doesn’t seem practical in your case, you can just take a quick shower or listen to your favorite music. It will improve your mood and energize your body.
Doing exercise as a new mom may be the last thing you feel like doing. But research shows that starting a regular exercise program soon after the pregnancy is not only good for your mental and emotional well-being but may also help reduce the risk of postpartum depression. In the beginning, you can start with an easy stroll. Try to do it every day with or without your baby whatever works best for you.
How to Handle Sleep Deprivation with a Newborn
If you’ve just returned to work after maternity leave, try to manage a short nap somewhere around lunchtime. The benefits of a quick nap can help you re-energize, feel better, and even lower your blood pressure.
If you work part-time, ask to change your hours or your shift pattern so that you’re at work when your energy level is at the highest.
Although losing baby weight might be at the front of your mind after pregnancy, aim to eat foods that give you the energy. You can continue the prenatal vitamins which will give you more energy during the day, and boost immunity. Instead of sugary carbohydrate foods like muffins, try keeping the fridge stocked with easy snacks or quick small meals high in protein. And no matter what, drink tons of water and enough fruits.
Chronic sleep deprivation can cause other problems that may have a domino effect. Getting a handle on it right away is the best thing you can do for yourself and your baby. Many working mothers don’t have family or friends to help them. There is also so much pressure to be a super mom. If you are finding it harder, consult your doctor. It’s one of the most important things you can do for your well-being.
Hang in there, fellow sleep-deprived new moms! Sleep deprivation is just a temporary problem, which will resolve itself over time. You just have to find a balance that works for your family and take the appropriate precautions.