There’s nothing that can prepare you for the sleep deprivation that you’ll endure as new parents. I was a nurse who frequently worked night shifts for 12 years before I became a Mom. I was certain that those years of night shifts would help me feel less tired in those early weeks of night time feedings. WRONG!!! I was just as tired as any new parent out there. Getting up at least every 3 hours at night to feed our boys took its toll on me, on us as a couple. Here are some tips to help you feel better about sleep, or lack there of.
1. Positive Attitude
There’s nothing that can prepare you for the lack of sleep that you’ll experience as new parents. But know this, a positive attitude and a positive inner voice can help. Some say that if you tell yourself that you feel good, well rested, and happy you’ll feel those things. I’m not suggesting that you lie to yourself or others. However, sometimes if you tell yourself that you’re not feeling too bad considering your were up 4 times to feed your sweet angel in the night might serve you better than thinking about how tired you are and asking yourself how you’re going to survive.
2. Sleep when you can
Prior to having your little one, enjoy that wonderful pregnancy sleep. Once your little one is here, sleep when they sleep; at least for the first few weeks. Even short naps will help you feel better for those 3 AM feedings. I remember feeling so tempted to stay up once our boys were sleeping so that I could catch up with friends or Netflix. Resist those temptations! This short-term newborn sleep deprivation calls for frequent naps.
3. This too Shall Pass
This too shall pass. I know this sounds cliché but it’s true. Enjoy the newborn snuggles and middle of the night feedings. One day your little one will be sleeping through the night and you’ll miss those snuggles. I remember feeling so intoxicated with exhaustion in the middle of the night. But now, 2 ½ years later I look back on those night time feedings with fondness. As parents of twins we got the opportunity to do night time feedings together. I didn’t think of it at the time, but I loved those quiet loving times with my boys and my hubby.
4. Take care of yourself.
Postpartum health isn’t just about sleep. Take care of your physical and emotional health. During the day, open the blinds. Try to eat a well-balanced diet. Take your vitamins. Manage your postpartum pain. Get out for a walk. Bathe. Get dressed. Drink lots of water. Sleep is a big part of how you’ll feel as new parents but there’s a lot more to it.
5. Accept the help that’s offered to you
I can’t stress this enough. No one in your inner circle is going to think you’re an incapable parent if you ask for or accept help that is offered. Friends and family are always excited to visit your little one; take that time to have a nap. Your loved ones will enjoy the cuddles and you’ll wake up feeling like you can take on the world.
I hope that these tips help. Being new parents can be an exhausting time. But it’s also a short time; enjoy it. The days are long, but the years are short. You Got This Mama. As always, we’re here for your support. If your baby is having a tough time sleeping at night, reach out to a Mama Coach near you or virtually.