Congratulations, you’re a new mom! Maybe you’ve put off having children to focus on career, struggled with infertility, or just decided that now the time was right. You’ve experienced pregnancy, labor, delivery, and finally, you can bring your baby home and relax. Right? Many new parents, especially those who have waited to have children do not realize how much a new baby disrupts your entire life, at least for a while. The new center of your universe needs so much from you, 24/7 leaving you feeling overwhelmed and sleep-deprived. So, it is essential for you to learn how to get sleep with a new baby in the house.
Why is sleep so important? Sleep deprivation has a cumulative effect that builds over time. When you are experiencing a lack of sleep, you put your health at risk.
Sleep deprivation affects your mood, body, cognitive abilities, and potentially all aspects of health. This is especially troublesome for new parents because losing sleep can increase your chances of postpartum mood problems.
Here are seven helpful steps you can take to get more sleep, survive, and thrive postpartum.
Step 1: Sleep when the baby sleeps
This may seem counterintuitive, but trust me, you need this.
You may be tempted to take advantage of the time you have to yourself as the baby sleeps. You may want to do some household chores and check things off your To-Do list. Believe me, this is not a good habit to develop. Your baby needs you to be alert when they are awake, so when your baby sleeps, you should sleep.
Remember that boring speech they give you on the plane before takeoff? You always put the oxygen mask on yourself before helping a child. If you are sleep deprived, you may be unable to care for your baby and could inadvertently put your child at risk. For example, being too tired to safely drive a car. Make sure you are grabbing those Z’s together.
Step 2: Get a meal train together
Cooking healthy, nutritious meals takes time- something that may be in short supply for many new moms. Joining a meal train can be a lifesaver. Meal trains are a great way to organize giving meals to someone who has undergone a significant life event, such as having a baby.
How do you set up a meal train? There are several websites that can help you out. Most operate like a gift registry- friends and family can choose which days to bring you meals. If the idea of setting this up sounds too daunting for you to take on, ask a friend for help in organizing this. You will be grateful that you did.
Step 3: Take morning and evening supplements
Having a baby is physically and emotionally taxing on mothers. One reason is the depletion of vitamins and minerals, which affects all aspects of your health, including sleep. It is essential to replenish and rejuvenate your body now to avoid further issues. Supplements such as a multivitamin, magnesium, and energy support are great choices.
Step 4: Make protein smoothies for easy nourishment
Protein is important for any diet and especially for postpartum women. Protein provides energy, supports hormone production, builds and repairs tissue, maintains muscle, and more.
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Step 5: Phone a friend or family member for help
Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Taking care of a baby is a lot of work. Develop a plan with your family and/or friends to assist you with watching the baby or doing some basic chores for you. You might find that your friends are eager or even relieved to have a concrete way to help.
Step 6: Get at least 30 minutes of time to yourself, away from the baby
Taking care of an infant full time can be extremely stressful. Give yourself permission to take care of you. This may seem hard to do for a new parent, but it’s necessary to recharge your batteries. This also provides opportunities for your baby to bond with other people, which helps prepare them for childcare. If you don’t take time for you, it will be that much harder to care for your baby.
What can you do when you are away from the baby? Try to focus on you and not on your to-do list. This is a time to nurture yourself. For instance, you might try going for a walk, spending time with a friend, or exploring your creativity with hobbies such as painting or music.
Step 7: Practice pranayama breathwork
As a new mom, it’s just as important to address your emotional health as it is your physical health. A worried, galloping mind can make it hard to drift off. Simple techniques such as pranayama breathing can help to calm a stressed mind and put you on the fast track to snoozeville.
Pranayama breathing techniques are commonly used as part of yogic practice, however, they can be used anywhere.
A few styles to try include alternate nostril breathing (Nadi Shodhana Pranayama), diaphragmatic breathing (Yogic Pranayama) or left nostril breathing (Surya/Chandra Bhedana Pranayama). This last option is a great place to start, as it is one of the most effective ways to induce sleep.
Try this: Do this right before going to bed. Lie in a comfortable position and close your right nostril with your right thumb. Close your eyes and gently inhale and exhale through your left nostril. Focus on your breath as you do this simple breathing technique. Continue for at least 5 minutes.
Life as a new mom is tough, but hang in there! Implementing just a few of these helpful steps can make a huge difference in your quality of life, leaving you more time to enjoy your little one.
Please connect with us here and let us know if you have tried one of these methods or if we can help you in any way.
Dr. Jessica Hayman is a Licensed Naturopathic Doctor in the state of Arizona, where she
currently practices and resides in beautiful Sedona. She received her Doctorate in Naturopathic
Medicine from Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Tempe, Arizona and she also
holds Bachelor’s degrees in International Relations and Spanish from The University of Southern
California in Los Angeles.
Naturopathic Medicine found Dr. Hayman, as she was continually trying to find answers to the
root cause of disease processes occurring within her circle of friends and family. She soon
realized that the alleviation of disease is prevention and wellness. Her curiosity and desire for
living a clean lifestyle turned a passion into a profession. She sees herself as a facilitator to help
empower patients to take measures to better their lives through seeing the world around them in a