Becoming a parent ushers you into a new and exciting phase of life. You get to watch your little one develop each day, but you also have to deal with the struggles of keeping him or her fed, stimulated, and asleep. Dr. Rebecca Robbins, an instructor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School, said, “Navigating your and your newborn’s sleep are among the hardest obstacles during the early weeks of a baby’s existence.” The caregiver’s nighttimes are now punctuated by feedings, adding stress and irritation to an already trying situation. The good news is that there are strategies and techniques that have been shown to be effective with infants, both in the first few months of life and later on in their development.
Most experts agree that individuals need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night. After welcoming a new baby into the family, many people experience sleep disruptions for a variety of reasons. You may find it difficult to get back to sleep after getting up to feed your baby in the middle of the night, or you may lie awake expecting your baby’s cry. When a baby is born, a woman loses nearly an hour of sleep per night, whereas a man loses only 13 minutes. Most parents don’t get back to their pre-pregnancy sleep schedules until their oldest child is six years old.
Insomnia, drowsiness throughout the day, anxiety, sadness, restless sleep, and exhaustion are all symptoms that can affect new mothers. One out of every eight new mothers will experience postpartum depression, and sleep deprivation can exacerbate its symptoms.
As a new parent, you’ll need to figure out how to handle a number of different sleep-related options and obstacles. Even while your child’s health and happiness is your top priority, new parents should not neglect their own sleep needs. x A Reliable and Dependable Source Reference Database of the National Library of Medicine: Biotechnology Information By making biomedical and genetic data more widely available, the National Center for Biotechnology Information helps improve human health. pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Sleep aids in learning and memory, heals cells and tissue, and keeps you healthy. Also, if you get enough shut-eye, you’ll have more pep in your step to take in the next day’s adventures with your kid.
Breastfeeding and Sleep
Breastfeeding can affect a parent’s ability to sleep through the night and cause their infant to wake up more frequently. There is some evidence to suggest that breastfed infants are more likely to wake up during the night than formula fed infants. In addition, breastfed infants are less likely to have difficulty waking up in the morning. Therefore, breastfeeding mothers and fathers spend more time up at night.
It’s extremely common for new parents to nod off during nighttime feedings. If you are worried about falling asleep while breastfeeding, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests using an adult bed. The American Academy of Pediatrics also suggests parents breastfeed in a spot free of potential dangers such loose blankets or sheets. The American Academy of Pediatrics advises putting a sleeping infant back in his or her own crib as soon as you awaken, if you fell asleep while breastfeeding.
New parents sometimes have trouble sleeping or keeping asleep due to the stress of caring for a newborn as well as frequent overnight wakings for feedings. All of us suffer negative effects from sleep deprivation or insufficient sleep, including diminished well-being, increased risk of injury, and shortened life expectancy. In particular, new parents should be mindful of the following effects of sleep deprivation:
- Lack of sleep can make you irritated, anxious, and more prone to lash out at others, including friends, coworkers, spouses, and family members.
- Anxiety and depression: When we don’t get enough shut-eye, we’re more likely to feel down in the dumps. Seeing a doctor if you’re feeling mentally unwell is a good idea.
- Injuries and mishaps: When we don’t get enough shut-eye, our reflexes slow down, putting us at greater risk in situations when rapid response is required, like driving a car. If you’re tired, don’t go behind the wheel or operate heavy machinery.
There are a number of ways in which new parents may be impacted by sleep deprivation.
Sleep Deprivation and Postpartum Depression
Within the first three months after giving birth, moderate to severe depression is considered postpartum depression. As many as one in ten first-time mothers suffer from this condition. Anxiety is strongly linked to poor sleep quality in new mothers.
Speak with your doctor if you feel like you’re suffering from postpartum depression. Rest, socializing, and accepting help from partners, family, and friends are all recommended as treatments for postpartum depression. Medication, counselling, and participation in a support group may all be suggested by your doctor in an effort to alleviate your symptoms.
Sleep Deprivation and Parenting
Sleep deprivation has been shown to have a deleterious effect on parental efficacy. One way to raise a happy, healthy child is to treat them with care and affection. Some preliminary evidence suggests that carers who get less sleep are more likely to feel stressed. Negative emotional regulation is linked to increased stress levels. This challenge may explain why parents who receive less sleep, or whose sleep is fragmented, or who take longer to fall asleep, are less likely to demonstrate positive parenting in the hour before their child’s bedtime.
Tips for Quality Rest
A new parent’s sleep may be disrupted by the demands of feeding, diapering, and walking a cranky infant about the house. Getting enough sleep is essential, says Johns Hopkins sleep specialist Grace W. Pien, M.D., M.S.C.E., even though it might be difficult to focus on self-care when you have a newborn.
“If you’re getting enough sleep, you’re going to be better able to fulfill your new responsibilities of taking care of the baby,” she says. Pien says, “You’ll be more patient and more likely to feel good about parenting,” if you implement the following sleep hygiene practices.
Sleep While the Baby Sleeps
She tells you that if you get enough sleep, you will be better prepared to handle your new role as a parent. Pien says, “You’ll be more patient and more likely to feel good about parenting,” if you implement her suggestions for getting more shut-eye.
Skip Household Chores
Sleep instead of cleaning the house or unloading the dishes. “Family and friends will understand why the house is a mess,” Pien explains. In any case, they came to view the baby. Don’t worry about cleaning up the kitchen until morning.
Both you and your spouse should take turns with the baby throughout the night, including feedings, diaper changes, and anything else that comes up. Breastfeeding mothers can receive some much-needed rest at night because their partners can feed the baby with a bottle of breast milk.
Place the Crib Near Your Bed
Placing the baby’s crib or bassinet next to your bed makes it easier to tend to the baby and then go back to sleep, making for a more restful night. While co-sleeping in the same bed with your little one may seem tempting, the American Academy of Pediatrics advises against it because of the risk of suffocating the baby.
Ask Friends and Family for Help
If you can get the baby’s crib or bassinet to stand next to your bed, it will be much more convenient to get up and care for the baby without disturbing your sleep. While co-sleeping in the same bed with your little one may seem tempting, the American Academy of Pediatrics advises against it because of the risk of suffocating the baby.
Take Advantage of Parental Leave
The convenience of having the baby’s crib or bassinet right next to your bed makes it much simpler to get up and care for the infant without disturbing your rest. While co-sleeping in the same bed with your young one may sound enticing, the American Academy of Pediatrics warns against it because of the risk of suffocating the baby.
Practice Good Sleep Hygiene
When you put the baby’s crib or bassinet next to your bed, it’s much simpler to get up and care for the infant before returning to sleep. The American Academy of Pediatrics warns against the dangers of suffocation for infants if their parents sleep with them in the same bed.
- Don’t drink any caffeinated beverages after 2 in the afternoon, as the stimulating effects of caffeine can prevent you from falling asleep.
- Avoiding electronic gadgets in the hours leading up to sleep is recommended by sleep expert Dr. Michael Pien: “You may want to share the latest images of your kid on social media, but using mobile phones, tablets, and computers at night can interfere with total sleep duration.”
- As challenging as it may sound, try to go to bed and get up at the same time every day as a new parent. “Just remember that with a baby, you need to be flexible and accept overnight awakenings.”
Help the Baby Sleep
Although sleep patterns of individual babies vary, many babies begin sleeping for longer periods of time each night around the third month mark, typically between four and six hours. Two-thirds of infants sleep through the night by 6 months. When infants weigh around 12 to 13 pounds, even those who were born prematurely begin to sleep for longer periods.
She recommends putting newborns down for the night when they are sleepy to encourage regular sleep patterns. Although it’s up to you, you might want to avoid making a pattern of rocking the baby to sleep in your arms right before night. She explains that babies will need to learn to self-soothe to sleep at some point.
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