Lack of sleep! One of the biggest sanity destroying aspect of having a new baby. On TOP of Baby waking up in the night which is obviously the main reason you’re exhausted, your own sleep routine is all over the place. And don’t get me started on those, aherm, well meaning people who say ‘Sleep when the baby sleeps!’ That maybe works when you don’t have other kids, no food cooked or laundry in the basket…
So how do you tackle that zombie-like state as a new mum? Here’s what worked for us…
1. Lie down, even if you’re not sleeping.
Baby gurgling away on their playmat? CBeebies on in the background? Get off your feet, relax on the settee and rest your head on a cushion. Even if we’re not sleeping, relaxing can be really restorative – even if it’s just for a few minutes. If you can, stay off your phone and give your neck, shoulders or feet a quick massage while taking some slow, deep breaths. OK, so it’s not going to replace 8-hours shut eye but you’ll feel better for it.
2. If you can get help in the night, grab it!
The best way to get a solid few hours is for a partner or visitor do some night shift for you. Mother-in-law stopping over? You’re breastfeeding? If you can, express some milk and get a loved one to step in for a few hours while you get some shut-eye.
3. Sleep-stealing worries
It can be hard to relax enough to sleep, even when Baby is sleeping – that pile of laundry mounting up? Let it pile if you can, we get that it’s hard but if everyone is fed and watered then you’re doing a great job; creased or over-worn clothes wont cause harm. Another fear that can stop you resting is the worry that you won’t hear the baby crying; you will! Babies are created to make plenty of noise when they need something. Keep the baby monitor near by but not on full volume so you hear every rustle.
4. Wind down before bed.
If Baby is settled, getting some relaxing me time in to help you sleep really helps. A warm, soothing bath, read a book or listen to some music. If you can, remove electronic devices from your room and keep light dimmed. A spritz of a calming Sleep Spray like Good Night’s Sleep Pillow Spray with natural chamomile, patchouli and lavender will help to relax and calm.
5. Power naps do work
I promised I wouldn’t say ‘sleep when Baby sleeps’ but…. Remember that a 20-min power nap can give you as much energy as two cups of caffeinated coffee (and the effects will last longer). Much more satisfiying then doing 20-mins of housework in my book!