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Newborn diaries | How to | New Mom sleep challenges

When the baby sleeps but you don’t

How you can get the best night’s sleep when living with a newborn

Do you know that wonderful lie line that says sleep while the baby sleeps? Well sometimes it’s just not that easy. Shortly after Grace’s birth I realized that I was experiencing challenges when it came to doing just this.

Was it that I was still riding the wave of the adrenaline rush of birth or something else brewing?

To me it was simply laying awake while my family slept (newborn included). I stared at the ceiling and watched the clock ticking. I listened to the birds waking up outside all while actively trying to make myself fall asleep.

Photo by Krista Mangulsone on Unsplash

Reality check

I thought I was nailing the first few days / weeks of Grace’s arrival. I preempted her feeding and nappy changing times. I was ready for action with every moan.

This behaviour however soon led to me being utterly exhausted and feeling completely run down. But like every aspiring Super Mom I thought I could deal with it.

Then I felt the affect on my milk supply. This in turn led to a fussy cluster feeding niggly baby and I knew that I needed to make a change.

Happy and well rested Mommy = Happy Family

This is what helped me sleep better

  • Resting – This does not necessarily mean sleeping. Simply put I forced my body to rest or sleep when she was doing this, but not intentionally. I found that when I told myself I needed to sleep I didn’t. Instead if I relaxed on the bed while she took a nap – without my phone, I either felt much more relaxed or eventually fell asleep.
  • Having Grace in our room during the night meant that I couldn’t just lay there watching YouTube right through the night as the lights and voices disturbed her sleep. This forced me to have the room dark and eventually doze off.

I acknowledged that I needed some help

  • Asking the Hubby for help during the night, BUT be specific about the help you need. Instinctively knowing what your baby needs may not be your partners strong point especially if you’re the one alone with the baby during the day (every day) so help your partner. Give them specific tasks in order for them to help. You feed the baby and they burp, or change the nappy or handle bath time. This meant that I was able to get some shut eye for a bit knowing that she was safe and well taken care of with her Dad.
  • Express milk if you’re breastfeeding, this could mean that you’ll be able to sleep in or skip a feed and get the sleep your body needs while someone else cares for the baby.
  • Sometimes a scent is all you need to put you into a relaxed state of mind thus allowing yourself to fall asleep. For me these includes, mint and lemon.
Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

Something else you could try

  • Invest in a white noise machine / download an app or just listen to the calm app.

In the end I also needed to limit the amount of screen time before bed, just like babies we can be over stimulated as well. Therefore limiting the amount of devices / screen time before bed allowed me to relax and eventually fall asleep.

Did you have any challenges with sleep after your baby was born? What worked best for you?

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