After extensively interviewing Lori Yu, a Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist, I have to admit, I had been woefully uneducated in this area of women’s health and I had completely misunderstood and misjudged this important area of my anatomy. My hope in sharing this information is that you too will tune into this critical area of women's health that is often overlooked and NOT discussed. Trust me, YOU WANT TO KNOW THIS IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR PELVIC FLOOR!
It can be surprising for mothers and fathers just how exhausting it can be to adjust to a newborn’s sleeping habits. You may not realize how severely your new sleeping schedules can affect you, but losing sleep regularly with a newborn can lead to serious sleep deprivation.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, 76% of parents have sleep problems. For parents who need to be able to think and cope, especially if you have infants and small children, this degree of sleep deprivation is particularly detrimental to your personal and family life.
In order for you to best take care of your baby and your family, you must take care of yourself as well. Here’s what you can do to make sure you and your partner keep your sleep and your sanity under control with a newborn:
1. Communicate With Your Partner and/or Support System
Even before you bring your baby home from the hospital, you should communicate with your partner or support network about how much sleep your body needs, including how you handle sleep deprivation.
Some people are more sensitive than others to sleep disturbances, based on individual conditions like susceptibility to depression, mood disorders, or other diseases. Knowing this information in advance helps with your spousal relationship and expectations for each other prior to the baby coming home.
2. Avoid Taking On New Roles or Responsibilities
It is important that you avoid adding anything else to your plate when you have a newborn. It can even be tempting if you have an older child to plan a special day outing with him or her to make up for less attention at home, but even that can be a mistake.
In addition to not making additional commitments and not taking on new responsibilities, it is even time to delegate chores and other tasks you took on pre-baby. This can mean giving visitors to your home tasks or chores to do while they are there. Don’t try to be the perfect hostess or fret about what your house looks like to others.
It can be easy to say you can do things yourself, but when having a newborn, just say ‘yes’ to any help you can get from guests, spouse, or any other family member.
3. Sleep When Your Baby Sleeps
When it comes down to sleeping or doing chores when your baby is asleep, choose sleep every time. When the baby is asleep, lie down and rest, even if you don’t think you can actually fall asleep.
Just like with not taking on new responsibilities, this means turning off your phone while you rest and forgetting about your to-do list. Pick a quiet, relaxing environment in which to rest, and dim the lights.
Sleeping as much as possible is essential to combat postpartum symptoms of depression and mood-related disorders. Remember, the longer more time you can carve in for napping, the better!
It can feel all alone when you are up at night with a crying baby, where you may only get a cumulative three hours of sleep per night, but you are not alone as this is common. Keep your eye on the horizon, as your baby will sleep at night in a matter of time.
Author’s bio: Ashley Little is a writer for Mattress Advisor, a site dedicated to helping others get their best sleep each night.
I am on a mission to ensure that no parent endures the pain of exhaustion, overwhelm, and relentless questioning of their value and self-worth when they have a child that consistently does sleep well.
I help parents tenderly and gently teach their children the “skills of sleep” so that their child has lifelong sleep habits, which results in a family system where ALL family members enjoy a full and well-rested life.
Below is an important and inspiring recounting of sleep deprived mother’s journey from overwhelm and self-doubt to feeling confident and balanced.
She is now living a well-rested life and reconnecting to her family vision.
With proper sleep, families can enjoy the keys to life: health, harmony, and vitality.
A Sleep Deprived Mother’s Tale: Breaking the Baby Sleep Stigma
A True Story By Kathleen Poorman
Her daughter was 19 months at time of Guilt-Free, Gentle Sleep Coaching
You’re texting one of your mommy friends and she suddenly asks “How’s your 6 month old doing with sleep? Is she sleeping through the night yet?” Your mind flashes back to the hour you spent walking and bouncing her last night, just like every night, pleading with her to please just go to sleep. You remember how heavy her body gets after 5 minutes in. You think about the list of things waiting for you when she’s finally asleep: the laundry, the dishes you haven’t done in days, the shower you never got this morning. Forget the things you want to do. This is sleep deprived survival mode.
Your fingers hover over the phone, your mind racing to come up with something positive to say. You don’t want to look bad. You can’t admit you truly don’t know what to do to help your child sleep better. You’re her mom, your mother’s intuition should be on this by now, right? So you text back “She’s doing pretty well. Still learning how to fall asleep but I’m sure she’ll figure it out soon!”
There. That should keep her from asking again for a couple weeks. You hit send and let the mommy guilt wash over you like the hot shower you never got.
This is the full weight of the baby sleep stigma we hold over ourselves invisibly. We feel trapped by what others will think of us if they knew the full truth. But what if we told each other the truth, and put the stigma to rest for good? What if by doing this, we could spread the knowledge of how to help each other, and we ALL SLEPT?
Let me be the first to rip the cover off the baby sleep stigma. Let me tell you my story.
Our child was never what we would call a good sleeper, and I was a sleep deprived mother. Not knowing what to do, I Googled ways to DIY our own solution, but came away more confused than ever. We stumbled our way into a mess of “sleep crutches”, or things that a child requires you to do for them before they can fall asleep. We kept adding new ones over time, thinking they’d be the final fix to help her sleep through the night.
At 16 months of age, she had a whopping 7 sleep crutches. She’d become the proud owner of our guest mattress (on the floor of her room) because she wouldn’t fall asleep without me beside her, and was too heavy to move into a crib once asleep. She’d ninja kick, roll around, and pull escape acts repeatedly. It wasn’t uncommon for this routine to take over an hour before I could try to sneak out of her room. Bonus points if she didn’t wake up! Four hours later, she’d be up again, crying for me. When my husband tried to help her, she’d scream for me until she threw up. I’d spend the rest of my night on her mattress in impossibly uncomfortable positions. It was infuriating chaos.
After several months of getting little to no sleep this way, I finally lost it. I hadn’t had a solid 8 hours of sleep since before the “squished bladder” stage of pregnancy. I told my husband something had to change or I was sleeping somewhere else. Taking the first real step towards sanity, I did what seemed unthinkable. I asked for help.
I called a professional sleep coach named Joanna Clark (owner of Blissful Baby Sleep Coaching) who taught my husband and I what we didn’t know about sleep. She listened to our story, taught us the science behind our daughter’s sleep needs, and created a plan with us that we carried out with her continual guidance. We did weeks of prework to set the stage and then devoted time each day to sleep training. We were consistent and made it the main priority for that month. It took lots of hard work, but almost anything worth having does.
We were stunned when our sleepless child became a “good sleeper” in a matter of days. To compare, her bedtime now includes reading 2 books, laying her in her crib, saying goodnight, and closing her door behind us. Either my husband or I can do this routine. She falls asleep on her own quietly and sleeps a solid 11-12 hours each night. It is a true night and day difference.
We had been missing two things: A solid education on a baby’s sleep, and the guts to ask for help.
It was really hard calling Joanna and admitting that I didn’t know what to do with my own child. I was afraid of being judged by others for needing help. I also wondered “How could a complete stranger know my child’s needs better than my intuition?”
It took asking for help to realize that sometimes, asking for help is what your mother’s intuition is telling you to do. It’s starved for knowledge until you give it something to run on.
Once I finally slept and regained brain cells I’d done without for 2 years, I realized I was mad. Why didn’t I know to do this sooner? Where was this information in the pregnancy books or in my midwives’ handouts? And even worse, why did I feel like the only one struggling in the first place?
We got brave and decided that it was time to share our whole story with everyone who’d listen. The more we shared, the more we realized how many people are struggling with the same problems. We heard repeatedly “Our grandson doesn’t sleep through the night and he’s 5!” Or “They spend hours trying to get their kids to sleep!” Oddly enough, the truth came mostly from grandparents or relatives, hardly ever from the parents themselves. And no one knew what to offer them for help.
Maybe, just maybe, we don’t know what to do because we don’t talk about it.
Imagine how my story could have changed if I had said to my friend via text “You know, she’s not sleeping well at all. I just don’t know what to do to help her.” What if she had been in the same boat before, and had asked for help and gotten it, and now knew to pass it on to me? What would it be like if we truly believed it was ok to not know it all on our own?
I’d love for every sleep deprived parent to find out.
And so, I am prying away the talons of baby sleep stigma by sharing my story with you. I am shouting it from the rooftops that IT IS OK TO NOT KNOW! I am unapologetically saying that I, a mother, needed baby sleep help and asked for it. And I’m begging you, if this is you as well, to step out from the shadows of self-shame, ask for help, and pass along the torch. It’s up to us to offer honesty and gain so much in return.
We may all sleep better for it.
Kathleen Poorman, Jasper, GA. Her Daughter was 19 months at time of sleep coaching.
DO YOU WANT A SAFE PLACE TO TALK ABOUT YOUR CHILD SLEEP STRUGGLES?
DON’T BE A SLEEP DEPRIVED MOTHER LIVE LIVING IN A SLEEP DEPRIVED HAZE.
SCHEDULE A 30 MINUTE SLEEP STRATEGY SESSION SO WE CAN EXPLORE HOW TO GET WHERE YOUR CHILD AND YOUR FAMILY LIVE A LIFE WELL-RESTED
Blissful Baby Sleep Coaching is proud to be recognized as a Pediatric Sleep Expert in the Healthy Living section of Gate House Media. Joanna Clark was interviewed by a top journalist. Joanna's knowledge and her perspective on guilt free, gentle sleep coaching has reached more than 23 million readers in 37 states.
This is an empowering success story from a pregnant "Mama on a Mission" who is now enjoying calm bedtimes and solid sleep for her first child before expecting her 2nd baby!
Meet Angelina, a working mother who was expecting her 2nd child and was worried that her first child's sleep was not on track. The bedtime drama and struggles and lack of sleep was starting to affect the whole family and especially her own energy levels. This mom needed her sleep to have a healthy pregnancy and keep up with the demands of her profession.
After working with Joanna at Blissful Baby Sleep Coaching, now her whole family is sleeping beautifully. Everyone feels grounded and well-rested and ready to welcome their 2nd child!
Watch this video testimonial below on Angelina's detailed account on her guilt-free, gentle sleep coaching journey.