In this day and age, fast paced life is nothing less than normal. Even more so is the desire to be an accomplished working woman, and somewhere in between taking time out to raise a family. Working moms, stay at home moms, a little bit of both moms, we all carry the same burden.........sleep, oh precious sleep, where have you gone?
Sleep deprivation tends to hit flat bang in the middle of pregnancy, either hormonal or the logistics of trying to stay comfy with a mountain of a belly. As a mom to be we do whatever it takes to get ourselves comfy and well rested. All the books are telling us to nap when our bodies say so, not only to encourage better rest and time out to adequately grow our ever expanding bellies, mental wellness, lower anxiety and other health issues but also to power up our batteries preparing for motherhood.
However somewhere along the line, we forget about how import sleep is, especially right after baby comes. This is when your body most needs sleep. Our bodies have gone through a tremendous change over pregnancy, not to mention the birthing process, regardless of birthing method; your body needs time to heal. Sleep encourages faster wound repair, restoration of sore or damaged muscles and even promotes the production of white blood cells which lowers the chances of infection during the healing process after birth. Taking time out to rest after birth not only gives you the time to bond with your precious baby but also keeps your immune system strong preventing unnecessary infections exposed to baby.
Being a new mom brings on a multitude of emotions, tears of joy and exhaustion can be shared simultaneously. The desire to be the best possible mom you can be and the reality of keeping a tiny human fed, warm and alive can be somewhat overwhelming. The stress of a newborn often goes unsaid, the unrealistic idea you might have laid versus the very real struggle of having to choose between showering for the first time in 3 days or having a 15 minute cat nap....... before you know it, the first year comes and goes, it happens all too fast, the newborn stage is like a distant memory, as if it were a hazy dream, and for an excellent reason. Sleep actually triggers changes in the brain that set memories, reinforcing connections between the brain cells and transferring information from one part of the brain to another, specifically short term memory. This is why in the early days remembering simple things like your name or when last you showered can be a bit of a blur. Not to mention the feelings of desperation, exhaustion, and even spells of depression. That’s right, DEPRESSION!!!! It’s awful to think that post natal depression can be so closely linked to sleep deprivation. It cannot be anymore expressed how important it is for a new mom to get the rest she needs, not just for healing purposing but for her mental well being as well.
As moms, there is nothing more important than the welfare of our babies. We go up and beyond to keep them healthy and happy. We feed, clothe and cuddle on cue, but what about our babies sleep? How important is it really? Surprisingly, sleep is just as significant as it is for baby to breath. Sleep is when our babies grow. Sometimes it honestly feels like baby grew over night? Amazingly there are in fact growth hormones that are primarily excreted during our babies sleep, especially over night. Not only does sleep promote growth but protection as well. During sleep our babies produce a protein called cytokines which their bodies rely on in order to fight stress, illness and infections. Too little sleep decreases the amount of cytokines produced leaving babies up to 3 times more susceptible to develop an illness or infection when exposed to that virus than babies who are well rested. Overtired babies can also mirror the effect of “Colic”. More often than not, an over tired newborn can scream, pull knees to chest and grimace as if huge winds where to blame. Those exact same babies given the chance to sleep more by decreasing the amount of awake time and increasing their naps to longer duration's appear to lose those “colic” symptoms all together.
The golden question is HOW? No mommy has ever said we want our babies to sleep less? We all want better sleep, for both mom and especially for baby. Firstly we want to look at a realistic image of how much baby needs to sleep according to their age. These specifications can be found in all medical journals or from your local sleep coaches free of charge, Aunty Susie may have a lot of advice, however stick to the professionals on this one, you won’t regret it. Secondly, we need to set the stage for better sleep. Things like swaddling, white noise, and respecting your babies sleep routine are all apart of setting a better foundation for healthier sleep. Establishing your babies sleep routine is as quick as clicking a button, consistent repetition is all you need to know. The more you practice putting your baby to sleep the better and easier it becomes. The fastest and most effective way to ensure your newborn gets the well deserved sleep they need is booking a routine check with your local sleep coach, most specialise in routine analysis, gentle sleep preparation and stimulation.