Navigating sleep

By Louise, The Honest Midwife

Having a newborn can make you ask 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! It’s surprising how quickly we get used to less sleep – and how a 7am wake-up 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. In 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 it can impair our judgement and wellbeing, so if you get the opportunity between feeds, baths, walks and nappy changes to grab 40 winks, you should. Baby’s nap time is not an opportunity for you to catch up on household chores – it is a golden opportunity for you to rest and recoup! The housework can wait.

Offers of help from your friends and family are rarely empty and you will find that these amazing people in your life are desperate to help and support you. Allow your loved ones to keep a watchful eye on baby whilst you lay your head on your pillow. Grab these offers with both hands so that you can really enjoy your baby with a fresher, rested mind and body.

Investing in a slow cooker is another great way of saving precious sleep time. Encourage your partner to prepare a hearty meal in the slow cooker 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.

You can also get your partner involved in night feeding. Having some company in the early hours while breastfeeding can really help keep you sane and give you a chance to relax, knowing that you and your baby are safe if you do nod off. Another way of grabbing some extra sleep is by heading off to bed early after the last evening feed – this will give your partner alone time with baby and give you another opportunity to bank some dream time.

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