One of the many things new parents will have to come to terms with is a lack of sleep. Coping with sleep deprivation can be one of the hardest parts of taking care of a newborn and can make everything else seem much more difficult. After all, when you are not getting much sleep at night or throughout the day, then your mind and body will suffer as well. You are more prone to illnesses and more likely to suffer from anxiety, panic attacks and emotional outbursts. Furthermore, you can expect even little things to set you off. So what can you do to prevent sleep deprivation from getting you too down? Below are some tips to handling a lack of sleep.
Ask for Help
New parents often make the mistake of trying to do everything. After all, proving to yourself that not only can you be the perfect mum but that you can also keep up with the housework, visit with friends, do the shopping and maintain a secret super mum identity while out and about is important. However, it is not logical. Don’t wait until you have crashed and burned to accept help – ask for it as soon as you can or as soon as it is offered. If your neighbour offers to go to the shops for you, let her. This will save you a trip into town and may result in an hour of extra rest and relaxation time. Just because you need a little help doesn’t mean you have failed. In fact, stepping up, recognizing that you can’t do it all and focusing your attention on your newborn is what being a responsible parent is all about. Putting the needs of your child first means making sure you are in good health, even if you are bordering on a sleep deprived zombie.
Make Life Easy for Yourself
As well as asking for help, make things easy around the house. Get your shopping delivered (online shopping). Cook in bulk so you save cooking another time. Now is the time to be gentle with yourself. Other things include:
- Lay off the caffeine after 2pm (including tea!)
- Have your partner or friends do the necessary running around so you can stay at home
- Have a bubble bath
- Listen to relaxing music
Eat and Drink Right
It can be next to impossible to make gourmet meals every night and often new mums are simply too exhausted to eat. However, now is the time that you need to eat right and eat more than before you got pregnant, especially when breastfeeding. Load up on frozen healthy meals if you don’t have the time to cook and browse through the freezer section to pick up bags of microwavable steamed veggies which can only take a few minutes to heat up and serve. Invest in a few water bottles and store them in the fridge so that you always have cold water on hand. Aim to drink at least 2 litres of water a day. A good snack to have on hand when breastfeeding is almonds; they have extra protein and can keep your energy levels up without taking time to prepare and make. Other go-to foods to put on the shopping list include plenty of fruits, spinach, meat, fish and legumes. And, while it might be tempting to kick the carbs to the curb in an attempt to lose the baby weight, don’t do it just yet. A little carbohydrates on your plate will ensure you have the energy for that late night witching hour.
Nap When Baby Naps
Finally, the cliché all new mums have heard a hundred times – sleep when baby does. Of course, this is easier said than done, especially if you have a cat napper who only sleeps on you or wakes as soon as you lay down. However, even if you cannot sleep during the day, take twenty minutes to close your eyes and let your mind shut down.