Once you return home with your new baby, there will probably be days when feel like you’ll never get sleep again. Other times, you may be worried whether or not your baby is getting enough, or too much sleep. The most important advice is to sleep when baby sleeps until he/she begins to sleep through the night. Don’t worry; this day will come…even if it doesn’t feel like it at times.
Newborn babies will normally require 16-17 hours of sleep in a 24-hour period. Most babies also won’t make it through an entire night until they’re around three months old. This has to do with their small stomachs, how often they feel hungry, as well as whether or not you’re breastfeeding. Breast milk is much easier for baby to digest, which results in her needing to drink more often than most bottle-fed babies.
Babies sleep and dream cycles are considerably different than those of adults. Generally you’ll find your newborn baby sleeps approximately eight or nine hours during the day in total, and the same total amount during the nighttime hours. They just don’t always want it at the same time.
One mistake many new moms tend to make is trying to accomplish everything at once. As soon as the baby goes down for her nap, mom starts laundry, cleaning house and starting dinner. Being supermom is going to result in you becoming extremely tired and running out of stamina quite quickly. This will leave you with nothing left to give the rest of your family at the end of the day.
If possible, you can try to get someone to help you during those first few weeks. Perhaps a friend or member of your family can come in to assist you with some of the cleaning and laundry responsibilities. Or maybe you have someone who can sit with the baby an afternoon or two a week while you catch up on some well-deserved sleep. The point is to accept help if it is offered to you.
Taking care of your new list of responsibilities each day can leave you finding it difficult to wind down at the end of the day. Unfortunately, mothers don’t come with an “off” switch to make this easier for them. It may be important to start practicing your own nighttime routines to prepare for a good night’s sleep.
Try taking a warm bath – not too hot though, hot water can be stimulating – while you listen to your favorite relaxing music. Whether you’re breastfeeding or not it’s best to avoid caffeine after supper each day. Instead choose water, herbal tea or other decaffeinated beverages. Avoiding too much sodium and sugar will also make winding down in the evening much easier for you.
As soon as you’re able, take a walk a little bit each day. The fresh air and moderate exercise will help you, while the baby will benefit from the fresh air, resulting in a good night’s sleep.