Newborn baby sleeping with mother.

Newborn baby sleeping with mother.

Did you know that the average person spends approximately 3,000 hours lying on their mattress? Tell this to any mother of a newborn and she’ll probably laugh in your face. Once you have a baby, it’s likely you’ll be spending way less time on your mattress. In fact, you might want to gear up for many a sleepless night.

According to a 2013 study, mothers with newborns lose 44 days of sleep in the first year of a child’s life. When broken down further, this means an average of five hours of sleep per night (that’s generous) with a total of 20 hours of sleep lost per week.

And despite popular notions, sleep isn’t just a luxury — it’s a medical requirement. Moms of newborns who don’t get enough shuteye are more susceptible to developing postpartum depression, as well as a host of physical maladies.

So how can you get some much-needed shuteye during that first year? Luckily, the sleep deprivation doesn’t have to last! With a little clever resourcefulness, you’ll get the sleep you need in no time.

Sneak in Naps
“Sleep when the baby sleeps” is a cliche, sure, but it’s a cliche for a reason. When you put the baby down for a nap, you should lie down too. Resist the urge to catch up on cleaning or your favorite Netflix show! This is not the time for Kimmy Schmidt; it’s time to sneak in an extra 20 minutes of sleep in any way you can.

Take Turns With Middle-of-the-Night Feedings
If you’re bottle feeding, you’re probably already doing this. Nursing mothers should consider pumping so their partner can take the middle-of-the-night feeding shift every once in a while. Having an opportunity to sleep through the night can do wonders!

Turn Down the Monitor
Yes, I know — the hardest thing is to hear your baby whimper or fuss in the middle of the night. But before you go running to the rescue, it’s important to remember that newborns are active sleepers, and it’s natural for them to make some noise. Give the baby a few moments to settle down before you dash to the nursery. And take heart: research shows that by six months, most babies are able to sleep seven to eight hours at a time.

Timing is Everything
In order to make falling asleep easier, create rituals and habits that facilitate bedtime. Rocking your baby, listening to a lullaby CD, giving him a bath or reading a bedtime story are all lovely ways to prepare your little peanut for sleeping, and over time they will become cues that will help him doze off on his own. Remember that routine is good for you, too! Avoid eating heavy meals close to bedtime and keep your exercise limited to earlier in the day (that doesn’t count chasing the kids around!). Put down your electronics at least an hour before bed, too.

I know that sleeping (you know, that calming horizontal activity) might seem elusive, but remember that this phase of your newborn’s life doesn’t last forever. Pretty soon, you’ll be getting all of the shuteye you need!

Spread the love
Southern Carolina Family