Welcoming a new baby into the house is an incredibly joyful time, but it can also result in many sleepless, or at the very least sleep interrupted nights. Days on end of sleep deprivation can lead to some serious consequences, but there are a few things you can do to help.
Lack of sleep can lead to irritability and even depression, new moms are especially susceptible to postpartum depression. Loss of sleep can also lead to dangerous, drowsy driving when carting your family around.
Know when to get help
To avoid serious problems, know when you have reached your limits and when you need help. If you are too tired to run errands, ask a neighbor to go for you. If you feel emotionally unstable, or severely depressed talk to you doctor as soon as possible to get help.
If you are just feeling tired, or a little irritable there are a few tricks you can use to get a few hours of sleep and catch up.
Most new moms have heard it over and over again; sleep while the baby is sleeping, but this is often easier said than done. If you need the rest, do your best to not feel guilty about the other chores you think you should be doing, just go to sleep. It may feel odd to go to bed at 7:30 at night, but you will not regret it when the baby wakes up for a few hours at 12:00 am. If you have other children, this may be even more of a problem. Consider hiring a babysitter, asking a neighbor, or scheduling a playdate at a friend’s house so you can nap for a few hours during the day if you need to. If you are napping during the day, be sure to find a dark, quiet spot so that you can rest easily.
WebMD recommends not taking on any responsibilities when you have a new baby at home. If you are in charge of any committees at your older children’s school, or are a regular volunteer somewhere, consider taking a break for a few months, until everyone’s schedule has adjusted to having a new member around the household.
Marc Weissbluth in “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child” suggests that new mothers allow someone else to take on at least one feeding every 24 hours. This can be during the day or at night. Either way, use this time to take a break and catch up on some sleep.
No matter what, never be afraid to ask for and accept help. If its with dishes, help with older children, or a partner handling a midnight feeding, accept it gracefully and get a few hours of sleep while you can. The more well rested you are, the healthier you will be and the more you can enjoy the new baby that has become an important member of your home!