Sleeping as a new parent
When you become a new parent, you have to adjust. You enjoy watching your child develop every day, as well as the difficulties of feeding, entertaining, and sleeping. The early weeks of a newborn’s life are marked by several hurdles, including navigating your and your child’s sleep.
Unfortunately, this is not always simple, especially as the caregiver frequently operates on little sleep due to their children’s presences now being punctuated by feedings, which adds tension and aggravation. Fortunately, there are proven methods and tactics that can help you establish your infant’s early weeks and months, as well as throughout their later years.
How Does Being a New Parent Affect Sleep?
For a variety of causes, most new parents lose sleep after their kid is born. For example, you might be anxious for your baby’s cry or fail to fall asleep after a late feeding. Men lose an average of 13 minutes each night after their baby is born, whereas women lose over an hour of sleep each night. Parents’ sleeping habits typically do not return to normal until the eldest youngster is six years old.
Sleep deprivation can lead to sleeplessness, daytime drowsiness, anxiety, depression, non-refreshing sleep, and tiredness in new mothers. In addition, postpartum depression is a condition that affects approximately one in eight new moms.
Being a new parent entails making a slew of sleep decisions and difficulties. While your main concern is most likely your child’s health, experts advise new parents to take care of their sleep as well—sleep aids in the formation of memories, as well as cell and tissue repair and disease prevention. Furthermore, sound sleep gives you enough energy to enjoy the next day with your youngster.
Breastfeeding and Sleep
Sleep and waking patterns may change for parents who breastfeed their children. Infants that are breastfed have more awakenings throughout the night than formula-fed infants, according to evidence. Breastfeeding is also associated with a quicker resumption of slumber. Furthermore, breastfed children wake up more quickly than those who are fed formula. As a result, parents that breastfeed are awake for longer periods throughout the night.
New parents may fall asleep while feeding, especially at night. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises using an adult bed to feed your baby if you are concerned about falling asleep. The AAP also advises parents to breastfeed in a hazardous-free environment, such as blankets, sheets, and other potentially dangerous objects. If you fall asleep while breastfeeding, the AAP recommends returning the baby to their own sleeping space as soon as possible.
Sleep Deprivation and Parenting
Sleep deprivation has been linked to negative parenting in recent research. Positive parenting entails being responsive and warm with your youngster. Caregivers who sleep less showed higher levels of stress, according to early research. Higher levels of stress are linked to difficulty in controlling emotions. This difficulty may help explain why caregivers who have less or fragmented sleep or take longer to fall asleep provide less positive parenting in the hour before their child’s bedtime than caregivers who get more rest.
Sleep Deprivation and Postpartum Depression
Postpartum depression is a severe depressive illness in which mothers suffer within three months after giving birth. This condition affects 8 to 13% of new moms. In addition, inadequate sleep is strongly linked with anxiety in new moms.
If you are suspect you might suffer from postpartum depression, talk to your doctor. Postpartum depression can be treated with rest, socializing when possible, and requesting caregiving assistance from family, friends, and partners. To improve your symptoms, your health care provider may advise medications, therapy, and participation in a support group.
Sleeping tips for sleep-deprived parents
Prioritizing your sleep helps you have the energy to care for your new child, so learning what works best for you and your child is key. Infants have shorter sleep cycles than adults. They sleep in one to three hour bouts13, which means they, and therefore you, are awake several times during the night. The following elements of sleep hygiene are especially important for new parents:
Sleep when the baby sleeps
Experts recommend sleeping when your kid naps. 14 is a tough time for me because of all the chores I need to do, but Even power naps (also known as quick naps) or long naps that last 10-20 minutes might help you recharge. According to research, sleeping can also help you feel less stressed and focus on things like cleaning, cooking meals, and other everyday chores.
Say no to meetings
Be prepared to say no. There will most certainly be many people wanting to meet your baby, including friends, family members, and other loved ones. Of course, this might be dangerous for their health before their 2-month vaccinations, but as you adjust to life with your infant, feel free to say “no” or ask to postpone a visit until you and your baby have a bit more of a routine.
Create sleep environment
Create a healthy sleep environment and bedtime routine. The ideal sleeping environment for adults is cool, quiet, and dark. The same standards apply to your baby’s nursery. Ensure that the temperature in their nursery is neither too cold nor too hot (about 68° to 72°F), dark, and tranquilized. Suppose you share parenting responsibilities with a partner. In that case, one of the most common blunders new parents make is to be awoken by the baby at night. Instead, consider having one person be “on” and the other be “off,” sleeping with earplugs or even in a separate room so that they can (hopefully). Even if your baby is already sleeping through the night, bedtime rituals are vital. Make sure there’s time for family bonding at the end of a long day. You can read a story together, light candles, or take a warm bath with your child once they’re old enough.
Ask for help
When you need some sleep or alone time, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Don’t be afraid to ask friends, neighbors, and family members for assistance when you’re weary. Make sure you work with your partner to establish a functional and consistent timetable. At the same time, the baby is awake, as well as distributing duties equitably. Therefore, making sure you have time to go outside, even for a short walk around the block, may have a significant impact on your mental health.
Around six months into the program, start sleep training. Sleep training will help your child fall asleep faster. According to research, sleep training boosts a mother’s mood as well.
You could also seek out a new mother or parent support group to discuss your sleep problems. The members may have suggestions tailored to your specific requirements and provide a vital source of encouragement as you realize you aren’t alone.
If you have trouble sleeping during the weeks and months after giving birth, see your doctor. Your doctor can decide if your symptoms are due to typical postpartum tiredness or require further medical treatment. They may also recommend other methods for assisting you in feeling better.
Being a new parent can be difficult and can often affect your sleep quality. It can be hard to get more sleep when you have a newborn in the house! One of the most important things you can do for yourself and your baby is to set good sleep hygiene habits. This includes creating a conducive environment and doing bedtime routines, ensuring that your child falls asleep faster, and getting outside for a walk around the block every once in a while. Other ways to improve how you’re feeling are to seek out other parents or parents’ support groups who are going through similar changes, to speak with your doctor if there are problems that can’t be solved with common solutions.