Sleep is the constant struggle of new parents! Even though a mother’s brain typically re-optimizes for shorter sleep periods, most parents struggle to get the rest they need. So let us share some tested and true methods for getting better sleep through the first year of baby’s life!
Nap with baby.
You’ve likely heard this one, but it’s a solid piece of advice for those who nap easily. Especially in the early days of babyhood, when baby doesn’t have a consistent nap-wake pattern, try side-lying nursing and dozing while your baby is sleeping. (Note: mothers who are obese, on prescription medications that affect sleep, who have sleep disorders, or who are ingesting substances that affect judgement should not share a sleep space with their baby. Consult an IBCLC lactation consultant if you have any concerns.)
Have baby in your room.
You may be spending hours planning your perfect nursery, but consider this change: Have the nursery be in your bedroom, and the crib within arm’s reach. Having baby close to you reduces the amount that you have to wake up for nighttime feedings. More importantly, it reduces the amount baby needs to wake to alert you. This increases the likelihood baby will easily and quickly go back to sleep, rather than wanting a midnight playtime.
Adjust your expectations.
I always find it’s far more exhausting to absolutely need baby to go to sleep at the time I am trying to put them to sleep. Sometimes my baby is just not ready to sleep, and I will spend an hour trying to make them be asleep. Eventually I give up, frazzled and angry, to wait for when they’re truly tired. Save yourself the drama and listen when baby is telling you it’s not time yet. Chat with older mothers about what was normal for their babies at different ages. Let your expectations give way to learning about your baby in every season.
Don’t rely on caffeine. (Or support your adrenal glands!)
It’s commonly said that caffeine gives you energy. This isn’t quite right. Caffeine forces your adrenal glands to give you energy. Relying on caffeine as the main source of your energy can deplete your adrenal glands, leaving them sluggish when you really need them. Nothing against a good cup of coffee – just ease up for the sake of future you.
One of the early warning signs of many vitamin and mineral deficiencies is excessive tiredness. Try the following common culprits! 3-5 weeks should be enough to see a change in how you’re feeling.
Vitamin D3 + K2 (You can find these packaged in the same capsule typically.)
Magnesium (A lotion with magnesium flakes is the easiest for the body to absorb! Plus it’s more luxurious than taking a pill.)
Iron (The Floradix brand iron supplement is packaged with a lot of vitamin C to aid absorption. Or mix a tablespoon of unsulphured molasses in warm water up to 3x/day.)
Choline (Found in egg yolks and wild fish, this lesser-known vitamin is commonly overlooked in new mothers’ health.)
Remember that even with your best efforts, there will still be hard nights. But finding what helps you have consistently okay nights will make those hard nights so much easier to bear. We believe in you!
Baby Discovery Box Team