Navigating sleep

By Louise, The Honest Midwife

Having a newborn can have you asking yourself if you will ever sleep again. The answer is “Yes!” However, it may be with one ear and eye open for the next few years! What is always surprising is how quickly we get used to less sleep than we have been used to and how sleeping until 7am will have you telling everyone how amazing your lie in was.

Navigating sleep deprivation is an important part of parenting as too little sleep can really have an impact on your health and wellbeing. On the run up to your baby’s arrival you will no doubt have been urged, by everyone you encounter, to enjoy daytime naps now and bank as many hours sleep as you can. Easier said than done with a bowling ball up your jumper!

Despite the discomfort that pregnancy may bring, this isn’t bad advice and even if you struggle to sleep during the day, putting your feet up and relaxing will be time well spent for when the sleepless nights arrive.

Sleep is really important as lack of it can impair our judgement and wellbeing so if you get the opportunity between feeds, baths, walks and nappy changes, grab 40 winks as and where you can. Baby’s nap time is not an opportunity for you to catch up on household chores, they are a golden opportunity for you to rest and recoup! The housework will wait and you will feel all the better for a short sleep.

Offers of help from your friends and family are rarely empty offers and you will find that these amazing people in your life are desperate to help and support you. Offers of homemade fare and watchful eyes on baby whilst you lay your head on your pillow should not be passed up. Grab them with both hands so that you can really enjoy your baby with a fresher, rested mind and body.

Slow cook! A great job for your partner! Invest in a slow cooker so that a hearty meal can be started before they head off to work. That way you will have the lovely aroma of a home cooked meal throughout the day and, if you are eating well and staying hydrated, you are more likely to sleep well too.

Don’t go it alone during the night. Even if you are breastfeeding having some company in the early hours can really help keep you sane and also help you relax knowing that if you do nod off whilst feeding you have the watchful eye of your partner ensuring you and baby are safe as feeding takes place. It can make you feel a bit like ships in the night but heading off to bed early after the last evening feed will allow your partner time with baby and give you another opportunity to bank some dream time.

Finally, that age old saying, “sleep while your baby sleeps” is just as true now as it was when the words were first uttered.