Finally, the baby has arrived! Phew, what a relief! Wait a minute, are you saying the hard part starts now?!
No, no, that’s not what we’re saying at all!
Okay, it is kind of, sort of, maybe what we’re saying, but just a tiny bit. And anyway, it’s a totally different ballgame now because you’ve got external help instead of carrying the burden all on your own (literally).
Use these three tips in order to maintain your health and wellness as a sleep-deprived mom—and don’t be afraid to ask for help!
#1: Keep Your Baby Close
And your enemies closer?
Whoops, that’s a whole other piece of advice—maybe for a different article. But when it comes to new moms, keeping your baby’s bassinet nearby can make it much easier to fall back asleep after taking care of them in the middle of the night.
If your baby’s nursery is all the way down the hall, you have to drag yourself out of bed, walk across the cold floor, turn the lights on to see where you’re going, feed or soothe your baby, then slink back to bed in hopes of falling soundly asleep. But guess what? All that stimulus will have you feeling much more awake than if you could just reach over to your baby’s bedside bassinet, quickly nurse them in a dazed state, then fall swiftly back asleep.
#2: Eliminate Barriers to Quality Sleep
Life has a funny habit of getting in the way at the worst possible times—a snowstorm hits the day you’re supposed to fly home for your best friend’s wedding, your car gets towed when you’re already late for an important meeting, and something jolts you awake just as you were finally getting your first wink of sleep all week.
Eliminate any potential distractions and interruptions within your control to give yourself a fighting chance at a good night’s (or day’s) sleep:
- Invest in blackout shades, especially if you’re going to be sleeping during the day (which—trust us—you almost certainly will).
- Avoid cell phone use before sleep, and especially when you wake up throughout the night to nurse the baby. The bright blue light can make it difficult to fall back asleep.
- Buy yourself an inclined pillow to mitigate the symptoms of acid reflux at night. Unfortunately, many daily habits of motherhood (coffee, a busy schedule, and carrying a little extra baby weight) can lead to acid reflux that you didn’t previously have.
#3: Say Yes to Help & No to Added Responsibility
The pressure to be this perfect super-mom who can juggle her career, the kids, household chores, healthy meal prep, PTA meetings, volunteering, and more is very real.
But it’s also a ridiculous expectation for anyone to maintain—yourself, most of all.
Say yes to help: When your mother-in-law comes over to visit the baby and says to you, “Wow dear, you look rough. I can watch the baby tonight,” just accept. After a snide comment like that, you may feel the urge to prove her wrong—I’m not tired, I’m a great mother, I’ve got this. But the only person you’re really hurting in this scenario is yourself.
Say no to added responsibility: When your eldest son comes home from preschool saying, “Mommy, you haven’t volunteered to be a chaperone on my school trips ever since the baby showed up. Will you do it this week?” just say no. Despite the guilt you feel about seeing your other kids less, now’s probably not the time for a do-it-all attitude. Your other duties can (and should) wait until you’re over the sleep-deprivation-hump.
All Moms Are Superheroes
You won’t be the perfect mom (because, honestly, there’s no such thing), but you will be everything your little one needs—as long as you take care of yourself first. Who needs a cape and a mask when you have a good attitude and these three tips? Go get ‘em, mom! You got this.