New Mom’s Guide-Coping with Sleep Deprivation

Becoming a new mom brings us face to face with some of the toughest challenges that we will ever experience as a woman in our life. At a time when energy reserves are in short supply, one of the biggest obstacles that many new mothers have to deal with is sleep deprivation. We are all warned of the sleepless nights when we are pregnant, but it isn’t until we actually become mothers that we feel the pain of this ourselves.
I completely understand that sometimes you can be so sleep deprived that it hurts. Well, I am here to tell you that it does end and that you will return to a more restful sleep routine. If you can just take a deep breath and have complete acceptance of the way things are, it will make this difficult time pass quickly and with more ease.
Lack of sleep can make us all a little short tempered, a little irrational, and a little slow in the decision making arena. I know, that isn’t a shocker to you right now, and while the only cure for that is getting a good night sleep here are some survival tips for you until you can get those much needed zzzzzzzzzzzz ’s
Survival Tip One:
Make sure you ask for help. This might sound obvious, but so many mom soldier on because they think they have to do it alone. Talk to your significant other or friends to see if they will be able to help you on a rough day. They are going to want to visit you anyway to play with baby and check in on you, why not have them help you. Talk openly and honestly with your spouse or significant other. They may just as tired as you are so try to set up a tag team schedule so that one can rest while the other tends to baby and house hold chores.
If you can try to arrange to have help with the baby before the baby arrives. Fortunately my family was very good at arranging times to come and help once I had my first child for the first couple of weeks. They brought dinners and helped with laundry. Talk to your friends and family and see if anyone can come and help even if only for 30 minutes at a time. That is at least a good nap.
Survival Tip Two:
This is the old golden rule of sleep whenever your baby sleeps. Too many new moms get distracted with chores and other ‘to-do ’s ‘ and forget that without enough sleep, then everything becomes more difficult. It doesn’t matter if it is 11 in the morning or 2 in the afternoon. Sleep, everything else can wait until you wake up or until you have time to do it. I am not kidding you, I lived by that golden rule and it made a huge difference.
Survival Tip Three:
Find the time to meditate. A regular meditation practice (and specifically transcendental) uses simple and effective techniques that focus on helping the mind to settle. And because of the intimate mind and body connection, as the mind settles there is a natural settling of the physiology. When this happens the body can start to gain a deep level of rest. Meditation gives you the ability to relax in such a way that is much deeper than deep sleep. This is an incredibly powerful tool for new moms
If you are a newbie, then find a good guided mediation CD or tape to listen to. Be sure to make a regular time each day in a quiet place specifically to listen to it. If you are familiar with mediation, renew your practice and notice the immediate impact.
Survival Tip Four:
New Mothers need to eat foods that are going to support their energy levels. Make sure that you are getting protein in the morning, drinking a lot of water and staying away from packaged and processed foods. I know that a cup of coffee can give you the energy spike that you need at the moment, but when it wears off you can often be left feeling worse then you did before. Water will help flush toxins out of the body which can be bogging you down. Fresh veggies and fruit will help keep your digestion efficient and give you the nutrients you need to cope with the long days and nights.
Survival Tip Five:
If you are having difficulty falling asleep again immediately after you get up through the night to attend to your baby, then you should avoid looking into bright lights or watching television when you get up. Many new moms recommended placing the crib or bassinet next to your bed if at all possible. This helps cut down the long trips to the baby ’s room for the middle of the night fusses. Plus you will also find that it is easier for you to go back to sleep with out having to move too much.