How New Parents Can Manage Sleep Deprivation

The first few months of a baby’s life follows a simple cycle: cry-poop-sleep and cry again.

Visitors rock the babies for a short while, talk about how adorable they are and then go home. The mothers, on the other hand, have to cope with sleepless nights when some babies only eat and cry.

Sleep deprivation is a major challenge new parents have to cope with. Without sufficient sleep, mistakes are inevitable as rational thinking can be impaired, mood swings emerge and energy levels drop. For those who have to return to work almost immediately, stimulants such as coffee become the new best friend. Although, it doesn’t take long before the body becomes immune to the boosting effect of such products.

‘While still holding on to your cup of hot thick black coffee, your head nods from north to south in a meeting.’ Hummmm…… sound familiar?

Extended lack of sleep can lead to fatigue, quick temper, and stress. This is particularly difficult for the new mother who needs lots of rest to recuperate. So what’s the solution?

There is yet a revolutionary solution for sleep deprivation. The best solution to sleep deprivation still remains sleep and rest.

So, as a new parent, your strategy should be finding ways to catch some sleep whenever you can.

But how do you get some rest with your very needy little one?

  • Sleep when your baby is sleeping. You may be drawn to catch up on some house chores when the baby is sleeping, but resist. Seize the opportunity to get some sleep too, it may be the only time you will rest for the day.
  • Ask for help. If you can afford domestic staff, the money will be well spent during this period. Otherwise, ask family members or friends for help with house chores and taking care of the baby. You will get some extra time to rest.
  • Reduce distractions. Watching the latest never-ending Netflix and HBO series is good entertainment. Uploading pictures and chatting with friends on social media is a good way to socialize. But remember, these will rob you of sleep so prioritize rest and sleep.
  • Find alternatives. Consider extracting and storing breast milk for exclusive breast milk fed babies. Others can help feed the baby through their bottles without having to wake up the mother.
  • Be proactive. Track your baby’s feeding and diaper change routing. You can be proactive with these activities before the baby becomes restless.
  • Learn to say no. Watch what you commit to! Prevent the unnecessary increase in activities, including receiving guests. With family and friends visiting, don’t feel compelled to go overboard with entertainment. Unless you have some help to cook and clean, get packaged food to entertain guests. Avoid worrying, they will understand.
  • Take care of yourself. A new mother should eat healthy and nutritious food to aid healing and recovery. Also, she should drink lots of water.
  • Worries don’t help. Rather than worry about the baby waking and crying while you are asleep, place the baby within earshot distance. You can also use devices like baby monitors to keep track of the baby’s activities. The aim is to ensure you can sleep without waking to check continuously.

Most importantly, new mothers should be kind to themselves. Don’t judge yourself harshly if you make mistakes or can’t get to do things you usually do. Create time to rest without feeling guilty.

A well-rested mother is better equipped to take good care of the baby. She is also better able to observe the baby’s wellbeing and recognize issues with the baby that may require medical attention.

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