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One of the most shocking parts of the newborn phase, in my opinion, happens around that second of third night of your baby’s life. Typically, baby’s hunger sets in about 24 hours after birth so that second night of life is a sleepless one. Sometimes things get better and sometimes they remain the same. I’m pretty sure that during your pregnancy you were told by many people, “Oh you are going to be so well rested once this baby arrives!” There’s a reason for that, you aren’t going to be so well rested but you can at least feel like you’ve gotten eight hours of beauty rest even when you’ve only gotten fours hours of sleep.
Five Ways to Feel Like You’ve Gotten a Full Night’s Sleep During the Newborn Stage
1. Feed baby in the nursery or your bedroom.
If baby sleeps in your bedroom with you simply nurse baby while you’re still in bed. You can both snuggle and doze while baby gets the nutrients that he or she needs. If baby does not sleep in your bedroom then make sure that you have a comfortable chair in the nursery set up so you can feed baby comfortably. If you bottle feed have the formula for the bottles measured out and ready to go so that you aren’t fiddling around too much in the kitchen. Remember if you do prepare the bottles ahead of time, which is a good idea, you’ll need to refrigerate it unless you’ll be using it within the hour. When warming up a bottle do not put it in the microwave. It can create hot spots in the mixture and may burn the baby. Either warm the bottle up by placing it in a pot of warm water or use a bottle warmer.
2. As much as you want to be productive when the baby is sleeping during the day, take a nap when the baby sleeps!
I always struggled with this but hindsight is always 20/20 and I’m telling you as a mother of three, please rest when the baby is napping. It may only be a half hour and honestly, what real productivity happens in only a half hour? Sometimes all your body needs is a 20 minute power nap and you’ll be as alert as a rooster waiting for the sunrise on a Sunday morning.
3. Accept help; really, people want to help you.
The less you have on your plate the better rested you’re going to feel. Hopefully you have a support system in place to help with some meals for your family during this demanding newborn time. Churches, mom’s groups like MOPS and Moms Club, are excellent places to seek out help. For all three of my childbirths my mother came to stay with us. She took care of the laundry and keeping the house running while I was busy with that newborn round the clock nursing schedule. Many companies also allow some leave when an employee has a baby so make sure to check with your HR department. Your priority right now is to recover from childbirth, feed the baby if you are breastfeeding and wash and sanitize so many bottles if you are using formula.
4. Try to go to bed when the baby does.
I know this is difficult to do but that first stretch of sleep is the longest for a newborn which means that you’ll be able to get a long stretch of sleep too. This is normal and happens naturally so as weird as it may feel to go to bed at 9:00pm, just do it. The more consecutive hours of sleep you can get in the better you will feel in the morning.
5. It is okay to have some caffeine.
Okay I said it. Yes, you can have some caffeine if you’re breastfeeding. Now, because your baby does get the same nutrients and in this case stimulant as you do from your breast milk, you’ll want to be aware of the time of day you’re having caffeine. According to Kelly Mom, it takes one to two hours after ingesting a caffeinated beverage for the caffeine to reach peak levels in breast milk. If you completely avoided caffeine during your pregnancy the chance of your newborn being sensitive to it will be more than it if you had a cup or two of coffee daily during pregnancy. I did have at least one cup of coffee a day when I was pregnant the second and third time and both of my daughters weren’t affected by caffeine at all. Still, it’s better to be safe than sorry so always edge on the side of caution. If you’re not breastfeeding, well, drink all the caffeine! Just kidding, do not do that…opt for more sleep over more caffeine!
It may not seem like much but using a few of my tips will help you feel better about life and yourself. Just remember that this stage is just that – a stage. It’s not going to last forever, you will get through this.
Bert Anderson is a blogger and social media manager mom of three living outside of the Twin Cities in Minnesota. She’s the author behind the blog First Time Mom, where she honestly chronicles the peaks and valleys of parenting. Even though she has more than one child, Bert maintains that whether you have one child or 19, there’s a first time for everything. She’s a lover of coffee, conversations, pop culture, healthy living and fitness.