How to Restore Your Sleeping Pattern After Giving Birth

How to Restore Your Sleeping Pattern After Giving Birth

Jessie Wallace
By Jessie Wallace
It's an ongoing joke that new mothers are severely lacking in sleep, and like many ongoing jokes, it's an ongoing truth as well. Newborns simply do not sleep through the night, which means neither do their parents. The number one reason is usually feedings, as babies need to eat smaller amounts and more often than older children, but there are more reasons than just filling your little one's tummy. New parents often experience worry and anxiety, needing to check on their infant repeatedly for peace of mind, and because babies eat so often, they mess their diaper just as much. Their physical needs are not the only needs that don't stop during the night either. They also have emotional and comfort requirements to attend. Birth may be a dramatic and painful event for the mother, but something many don't think about is that it's the same for the baby. Everything is new and they have no way to understand or prepare for that big event. They need to be surrounded by comfort to know that they're safe in this new world, and because of this they often will cry even when their physical needs are met. All of this leads to constantly needing to attend your new little one, even though the night. So, how can mothers get back to an almost normal sleep routine?

Get natural sunlight

Every day of our lives is surrounded by artificial light. Our homes, places of work and education, and even our cars utilize manmade light sources that let us see far better than natural light does. It also allows us to accomplish tasks in the middle of the night, such as writing about ways to restore your sleeping pattern. Artificial light has done wonders for our society. Those working on vitally important tasks such as medical procedures can do so much easier with these light sources at any hour of the day. However, while our minds can stay alert and active during the late hours, these light sources can also interrupt our bodies' natural signals that allow us to go to sleep. Babies, who still have strong instincts, are the same. If you are having trouble getting a good night’s rest, try to turn off more lights. Follow the natural daylight cycle and wait until the sun is up before illuminating your home. As the sun begins to set, start to dim your home as well. This will help your little one’s and your body begin to prepare for sleep.

Create a routine

It can seem like your whole schedule is out of your hands. Your entire day is swallowed up with taking care of your little one when he or she needs it. It may sound like an insurmountable task to create a routine. What you need to realize is that this routine doesn’t necessarily need to be based on what time it is. It can be based on a series of events. For example, after you eat dinner you may feed your little one, change their diaper, then bath them and dress them in something snug for bedtime. You probably have some things you do consistently as well. By repeating the same process every night, your little one will learn those steps and understand when the time for sleeping is approaching. This also works on adults. You will find yourself growing tired as you follow the steps before bed and following a sleeping pattern creates a sense of comfort and familiarity that relieves stress from the mind.

Don't skip naps

It’s simply not possible to sleep the entire night with a baby. They can’t, so that means neither can you. While it may seem like you will never be able to get back to a decent sleep schedule, you have to remember that even though your nighttime sleep may get interrupted, that doesn’t mean you can’t rest up a little during the day. Everyone has heard the saying, ‘sleep when baby sleeps’. This is sometimes needed to stave off the exhaustion that comes from caring for a new baby. You don’t need to sweep the floor or wash the dishes just to get it done while your little one naps. If you’re not tired and have the energy, then that’s great! However, if you’re run-down from getting up more than once to feed a very demanding infant, then go ahead and sleep too. You need to keep yourself alert and awake enough to care for your baby when he or she is awake, so don’t feel guilty taking a nap too.

Rely on others

No man is an island and this is also true for women who are new mothers. You probably has a lot of pregnancy help while you were expecting, so why should that stop after you’ve given birth? Ask for help and accept help when it’s offered. If some other women who attend church with you offer to make meals, let them. If your mother wants to come to stay in the guest room for a few days to help with cleaning, let her. If your friend wants to take your older children on a day trip so you can just focus on you and baby, let her. It may hurt your pride a little or you may feel guilty for relying on others, but you shouldn’t. You need to be at the top of your game for you and your baby, and there is no shame in relying on those who care about you to become involved. Helping each other is what strengthens bonds, so let others help.

Take time to prep

Going along with creating a routine, it’s also helpful to create a relaxing and calm 1environment. Stick with softer colors and keep the room you’re sleeping in a quiet place. Try to keep things that are for more alert activities elsewhere, or at least out of sight, such as exercise equipment or toys. Sometimes this will mean sleeping apart from your significant other while they stay awake longer or may need to get up earlier. You may end up sleeping in the baby’s room or in a guest room. Just remember that this is fine and isn’t permanent. This is only so you can get the rest you need. Use blackout curtains or a white noise machine if that helps, or perhaps play soft music. The goal is to create a space where you feel the most comfortable and use that comfort to rest. For many new mothers, sharing the room with their little one gives them peace of mind and helps them rest easier. Don’t be afraid to make yourself a nice bed next to your baby’s crib or use a bassinet to bring them closer to you.

Use a monitor

If you can’t have your little one in the same room with you, but not having them right there stresses you out, then getting a monitor or baby camera may be the answer. Not everyone has a living situation that allows sharing a room, and not everyone is comfortable with or should co-sleep. Being able to simply hear or see your baby can help you relax since you know they she or he is safe and sound. You also know you won’t miss it if they wake up and need something. Baby monitors are usually very sensitive, so any sound coming from your little one’s room will be heard. Knowing that your precious bundle of joy is okay can make a huge difference in how relaxed you feel when it’s time for you to go to sleep.

Don't just deal with it

Sometimes, not sleeping is caused by something more than just new mommy nerves or a demanding little one. Sometimes there is a real physical issue at fault. Pregnancy, childbirth, and the resulting changes to your body can cause 2insomnia or postpartum imbalances. There’s no shame in that and despite what some people may think, suffering from postpartum depression or another hormonal issue is just as much of a physical health problem as needing to heal after a c-section. You should never feel like you can’t talk about it. It’s far more common than what it may seem. Don’t just deal with it. Find out how to improve it so you can get back to enjoying the little miracle you have.

Don't take on more than you can handle

I knew a new mother who was determined to do everything perfectly. Despite having a difficult birth and struggling with breastfeeding, she wanted to keep her house perfectly clean and keep doing everything she had done before. What really ended up happening is that she got burned out and desperately had to ask for help so she could get a break. Many new mothers fall into the trap of thinking they need to do it all. If guests come to meet the new little one, they hurry to clean and provide for them. They take any opportunity to clean or organize that they can. They attend their baby and often other children or a significant other. All this does is prevents you from getting any rest, and eventually, you’re going to run out of steam. Let the dishes sit for a bit. Don’t worry about folding the clean laundry. Most people understand that you’re busy with a baby and don’t expect you to do it all. Anyone who does is being overly critical and would’ve found something to complain about anyway, so don’t let it bother you. Just enjoy those brief moments with your little one.

Sometimes simply resting is enough

You’ve got a routine and you have a set time when you plan to go to sleep. The problem now is that you’re not tired enough. It may seem crazy, but sometimes when you finally can rest, you simply can’t. Maybe it’s the worry for your newborn, maybe it’s listing all the things you need to do tomorrow in your head, or maybe it’s simply wanting to enjoy the alone time while you have it. Whatever the case, if you’re going to be able to get back into a normal sleep schedule, you will need to be strict with yourself. Avoid watching TV or using your mobile devices, as watching a screen has been shown to stimulate the mind. Reading a book or listening to some calm music may help to calm you down. Doing something quiet or restful will help your body get used to resting at that time of night, according to 3Diana Lynn Barnes, president of Postpartum Health International. It’ll train your body to get tired and eventually you will be able to sleep.

Get Creative with Feedings

If you breastfeed, which some evidence has shown to help new mommas sleep better, you may think that you’re the only one who can get up in the middle of the night to feed your newborn. This is simply not true. Getting creative with your baby’s feedings at night can mean pumping milk so your significant other can take some turns. While you do need to be picky about the bottles you use, as some can make breastfeeding harder, it will let you sleep in and give you a reason to always keep milk on hand. This backup supply is useful to have for multiple reasons, not just for nighttime help. It can also come in handy if you need to leave for a longer period of time than when your little one will get hungry next, or if you have to have a medical procedure that requires medication not safe for infants. Beyond pumping to share feeding duties, you can try some different 4feeding positions as well. Many new mothers fall in love with horizontal feedings, especially those who have decided to co-sleep. There are other positions too that allow you to be more comfortable, which means you won’t have to wake up fully to feed your baby every time. You can stay in a relaxed state of mind while keeping your baby happy.

It’s a wonderful and entirely exhausting time after you’ve brought a new baby into your life. It may seem like it lasts forever, but in reality it’s a very short time. Making sure to look out for yourself while you look out for your new little one is the key to maintaining a happy and restful time with your newborn.

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