How much sleep a new mother actually gets – and how you can maximise

Originally published at: https://nappies.co.nz/parenting-blog/sleep-needs-deficiency-in-new-mothers-an-approach-to-maximising-sleep/

Sleep needs deficiency in new mothers – an approach to maximising sleep

It is vital to take care of sleep needs for the new mother during the first few weeks of giving birth.

Prince William and Duchess Catherine welcomed their third royal baby and surely they would be facing sleep shortage till the few weeks at least. The royal couple has better access to assistance than other average couple but they are none other than hands-on parents.

There is constant feeding needed for a newborn baby at around the clock for every three to four hours. The small doses of sleep could toll the sleeping pattern of the parents within a few weeks of enjoying parenthood.

A prominent research shares that around two weeks of sleep gets lost by the new mums within the first year of becoming parent, there is an average sleep of five hours per night is received by 25 percentage of new mothers.

The first four to six weeks for a new mother comes as a hit to a wall, the first time parents generally had no idea to deal with the situation. Sleep deficiency poses a challenge to new parents as that can result in postnatal depression. The mental health gets impacted and it influences the coping ability of new parents. The need is to set priority around getting sound sleep.

There are some valuable tips for new parents to maximise the sleep during early weeks of becoming a parent.

A good diet for better sleep

The sugary food and carb-laden diet became part of craving during being tired and such food don’t support the nutrient needs of bodies. A whole food, protein rich, lean red meat, fruit and veggies diet can help meet the needs of a balanced diet.

Sleep prevention can take place through eating refined sugar in high quantity which is commonly found in sweets and processed foods. The diet that supports hormones of sleep inducing is required and that includes herbs, cherries, bananas and almonds so that it enables calcium rich, magnesium, melatonin and tryptophan.

Sleeping pattern in line with baby sleeps

It is not suitable to do the housework during the little baby naps, get a cleaner if sleep gets impacted due to housework pressure. It is important to take ample rest whenever there is an opportunity to get it.

Schedule to discuss: The nap time of my first baby was used by me to do pre-cooking, cleaning bathroom, taking care of visitors and doing vacuum.

Exhausted by week four: I had a sleep disorder, started seeing double. I slept for four hours in one such afternoon while trying to catch a quick nap. I just got myself on the couch and went into a deep sleep, luckily newborn also slept that long.

I realised that I was not able to adjust myself with the changing life, my life went dramatically changed after becoming a parent and now I have to take care of a totally dependent little person. The realization helped me with taking a decision to manage a nap each afternoon and that assisted me to improve my level of energy and coping ability.

Seek help – don’t be afraid about getting any assistance

It is useful to seek help from others, don’t be afraid or hesitated while getting any assistance. The family and friends come handy to do the ease of load – they can take a baby to walk in a pram and that time can be used to manage sleep. Someone’s assistance can be taken to watch the baby while doing the cooking, taking a shower, doing washing or to go out for groceries.

Keep a check on the intake of caffeine

Coffee temptation needs to be controlled, a high intake of caffeine can impact the ability to take a sound sleep. The morning cup of coffee is fine but then it should be avoided throughout the day.

Make baby learn about day and night difference

A baby needs to be taught between day and night difference. The loose routine gets set through it, the practice of a few weeks can help the baby to adopt the right sleeping pattern and that includes timely awake in the day and getting overnight sleeps for a longer time.

The dim light can be used during night feeding, there should be minimum chatting with baby, at a lower tone. Get them straight to the bed after the feeding. The opposite approach needs to be followed for a day, baby can be indulged in playing and talking during the feed time.

Bath-time can be introduced in the evening and that can bring the bedtime routine at winding down.

Journal at bed for noting down ‘to-do list’

The control of thoughts became difficult after giving the night feeds especially if something is bothering you. Journals can be kept by the bed so that it could help with noting down thoughts and to make a to-do list to be remembered. An assured rest can be taken after noting down the things to be done and it can be further checked in the morning.

Night feeds to have avoidance for screens

It is a daunting task to manage night feeds while keeping ourselves awake, but there should be no TV watching, checking the feed of social media or to watch Netflix. The longer time spends at screens makes it hard to get back to sleep.  

The no-screen rule has to be followed before bedtime so that the sleep-inducing hormone named as melatonin remained intact and doesn’t get affected by emitted lights from the screens. The rule is equally applicable for the parents taking care of night feed for their babies.

You are not the only one The interrupted form of night sleep is not going to last forever. The ray of light will finally appear after a certain period of time. There are other parents who are witnessing similar stages, you are not the only one. Stay there.