Becoming a parent is one of the most beautiful and rewarding experiences that one can go through in a lifetime. However, the reality of it is usually much more different than what you had in mind. Sure, you love your newborn baby more than anything in the world. But when will you ever get a good night’s sleep again?
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It’s not easy to take care of an infant – as well as the rest of your family – when you’re battling sleep deprivation. More than that, it could be potentially dangerous by increasing your risk of accidents and postpartum depression. So, what can you do about it? Here are 5 expert tips to help you improve your sleep while taking care of your newborn:
1. Focus on Sleep Sharing
Sleep sharing is just a fancy term for a foolproof strategy. All you have to do is to keep baby close to you while you get some sleep too. You could keep baby in the bassinet and nurse them until they fell back to sleep. But that doesn’t work quite as well as actually taking baby into bed with you. In the latter scenario, your newborn will sleep better and only wake up briefly to nurse.
2. Work with Your Partner
Before you even bring your newborn home, it’s important to set some ground rules with your partner. The first thing you have to explore early on is your ability to handle sleep deprivation. If both of you find that you can’t handle it well, you might have to enlist the help of a babysitter or night nurse.
However, an easier way to work around this is by working out a schedule with your partner. You could opt to take care of baby in shifts throughout the night. Alternatively, you could settle on taking turns with your newborn every other night for the first few months. Either way, this type of shift work is the best way to protect your sleep and make sure that you and your partner are functional for work.
3. Sleep When Baby Sleeps
Any professional will tell you that the best way to stay well-rested is to sleep whenever your newborn does. In many cases, people often use baby’s nap time to do chores or take care of any pending work. But this is counterproductive; once baby is up, you will have to be up too.
4. Accept the Help
It is exceedingly important for new parents to accept any help that they can get. Most times, people are resistant to this because of various reasons like guilt or sheer stubbornness. But whether it’s a friend, family member, or babysitter, accept their help so that you can catch a few hours of sleep every now and then.
It’s also vital that you and your partner work as a cohesive team. If you’re pumping, ask your partner to handle the feedings. Avoid taking on any new responsibilities when you have a newborn at home. Also, divvy up all the household chores as best you can to give yourself some free time.
5. Rule Out Sleep Disorders
Short naps throughout the day should be enough to revive you and keep your energy levels high. But, if they don’t, it might be time to seek the advice of a professional. Research has shown that sleep deprivation can lead to mood changes or even the more serious postpartum depression. So, if all else fails, it’s incredibly important to consult your doctor and address the symptoms. That’s the only way to keep baby healthy and happy, especially in the first few months.