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.