By Eric Stengle
It’s generally known that one of the challenges of motherhood is interrupted sleep throughout the night. Your little one has a unique internal clock with frequent awakenings and feeding needs that require you to be available at all hours of the night. In fact, a recent study shows that parents can face up to 6 years of disrupted sleep. This means that sleep deprivation might continue even after your babies start sleeping through the night. Getting proper sleep is important not only for your own health, but for keeping up with the responsibilities of parenthood. Here are 5 great hacks to help mothers of newborns sleep better.
- Keep your baby close. Whether you are nursing or using a bottle, it is easy to get a bassinet and attach it right to your bed. When you hear the baby start to cry, you can feed the infant without having to get out of bed, and then fall right back asleep.
- Take a nap during the day. Your baby is going to sleep a lot during the daytime, and so can you. But because babies wake up every couple of hours needing to be fed, you must reduce your sleep debt whenever possible. A thirty-minute cat nap will refresh you without leaving you groggy when you wake up. It is best to nap no later than around 3 pm so you won’t have trouble falling asleep at night.
- Turn off the baby monitor after 6 months. After around 6 months, your baby should be able to sleep through the night. Turning off the monitor will help you sleep better and help your baby develop healthy sleep habits. Your baby might still whimper and make some soft noises during the night. This is normal and doesn’t mean that you need to wake up.
- Limit caffeine consumption. If you are sleep deprived, you will be tempted to drink several cups of coffee during the day. But this can prevent you from catching a nap or falling asleep quickly at night. It is recommended that breastfeeding mothers don’t have more than two cups of coffee per day. Caffeine consumption can also cause you to feel anxious, jittery, and less patient with your baby. Mothers of infants need to be able to get some sleep whenever possible, so avoiding drinking any coffee and soda might be best. A great coffee alternative is Matcha green tea, which is packed with anti-oxidants. This healthy beverage has a lower percentage of caffeine than coffee or soda but will still give you a slow increase in energy levels throughout the day.
- Ask for some help. Raising an infant is a big job and you shouldn’t have to do it alone. If your partner works during the day, ask them to check on the baby when they wake up in the morning and you are still asleep. Don’t be afraid to enlist help from other trusted family members who are on later sleeping schedules to stay over and help with the night-time responsibilities.
If you are the mother of an infant and are regularly having trouble sleeping or think that you might have a sleep disorder that is impacting your daily life, the professionals at Family Sleep Diagnostics are here to help. We provide comprehensive sleep diagnostic and management services including consultations, sleep studies, and treatment of sleep disorders. We will get you sleeping better in no time. Just make an appointment online or call us at (972) 714-0011.