I had not had much time to write since I have been back from my trip but today I wanted to touch on sleep when you are a new mother. I had a long discussion at the clinic with a mother regarding sleep. This poor mom was so tired and exhausted she did not know what to do! This is a very sensitive subject for people. Is your baby sleeping through the night? Do you let your baby cry it out ? So many books have been written on the subject as well!
What is interesting is that one of the latest research actually says that moms that are exclusively breastfeeding actually have more sleep then non-breastfeeding mothers. We had been saying this for a long time! Mothers that are breastfeeding benefit from all the physiological aspects if breastfeeding. The hormones usually help you feel more rested! You can actually go read the explanation of this study if you are curious using this link: http://www.scienceandsensibility.org/?p=3618
I can tell you that I have been there. For some reason, I did not have kids that slept! I have read every sleep theory out there. All the tricks I have tried. The funny thing for me is that once I accepted the fact that I was not going to have 8 hours in a row and I stopped comparing myself with other moms I felt better. I always tell the parents first that they must do things that they are comfortable with. I had decided that sleep for me was not going to be a battle in our house! I did not mind where we slept where they slept as long as we all slept!! There is also a difference between an 18 month old or 2 year old and a 2 months old baby.
I also like to mention that having a baby is like running a marathon. You can feel good for a few weeks on only a few hours of sleep but after a while it will catch up to you! Mothers usually get really exhausted by 4-6 months when they have not adapted their sleep patterns.
So I will share with you some of my tricks:
1- I co-slept SAFELY with my kids. They usually started in their crib and after the first awakening they were in my bed. I used a bedrail for toddler beds on my mattress so that I did not have the fear that they were going to fall off. That allowed me not to get up and sit up to nurse.
2- Breastfeeding lying down was a huge help
3- Remove your watch at night so you can not tell the time and calculate the hours left of sleep.
4-I slept and napped everyday. I also did not feel guilty if I slept in late in the morning!
5- If your baby sleeps from 8pm until 1 am he has done its night. So you need to get to bed early to catch all these hours at he beginning because after 1am your baby will be on the day routine and may wake up every couple of hours. So shift your pattern a bit to adapt to the babies.
These are some of the trikcs that helped me. Please share with me how you survived and coped with lack of sleep.
I must also finish by saying that I can assure you that it will only get better !!!!