Moms need sleep too, just as much as babies do. Read on to find out more about moms and their much needed sleep.
1. My wife has been cranky, lethargic, and sleeps less than usual. Aren’t these signs of postpartum depression?
If your wife’s erratic sleeping pattern worries you, don’t hesitate to bring up the matter with her. Encourage her to see a specialist or her ob-gyne to discuss any difficulty in sleeping and discomfort she may be feeling. Only a trained specialist can make a proper diagnosis of postpartum depression.
2. How are sleep patterns linked to postpartum depression?
Studies show that if expectant moms lose quality sleep during the final weeks of pregnancy, they are more prone to depression after giving birth. New moms get more and better sleep at three weeks postpartum than immediately after pregnancy, or at four months after giving birth (when baby’s sleep patterns are less erratic).
3. Although my husband and I have set a nightly feeding schedule, I can’t help getting up even when it’s my husband’s “shift.” My anxiety is making me lose sleep every night! What should I do?
Your anxiety is understandable; most first-time moms experience extreme pressure and anxiety over caring for their child. However, you have to remember that to be an effective parent, you must, first and foremost, be healthy—and this means getting enough rest. Witness how your husband cares for your baby during his shift for one night. If it is “up to par,” go back to bed. But also give hubby some time to adjust. If he doesn’t get up on time during his shift, patiently wake him and remind him when it’s his turn to feed the baby. You may stay up with him for a few days and care for your baby together, until he can do it on his own. Eventually you’ll become more at ease at his baby skills and you won’t lose sleep anymore.
4. My wife hasn’t been getting enough sleep because she worries that she won’t hear the baby if he wakes up. How can I reassure her that she’s taking care of our little one well and that she needs to get her rest?
Assure your wife that you will help out and get up to take care of your little one if he wakes up in the middle of the night—and make good on your word! Another way to help her get some sleep is to get a baby monitor that can sound off and blink when the baby stirs. Keep it close to your little one’s side while mommy keeps one by her bedside. Most models pick up even the slightest sound, so Mommy need not worry that she won’t be able to hear baby cry.
5. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed with all the things I need to do for my family—laundry, food preparation, worrying about budgets, kids’ schooling—that I can’t seem to sleep at night.
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Worrying about everything and exhausting yourself will not help you get things done. One way to unload yourself of worries is to plan and organize your day’s tasks. Make a “to-do list” in the morning or the night before, making sure to put pressing matters such as kids’ baon, bills, and deadlines at the top of your list. Things that aren’t as pressing (e.g. general housecleaning or rearranging the furniture) should be moved to the bottom of the list. When you finish a task, cross it off your list and move on to the next one.
6. I get up crack of dawn to prepare for the day ahead and get to bed so late preparing for the next day again. There seems to be too little time to do everything that I end up sleeping less than I should.
Take time to relax; you need just as much rest as anybody else. Work only on what needs to be accomplished for one day, and only what you can actually accomplish without stretching yourself too much. Proper planning and organizing will make your day’s tasks seem less daunting and overwhelming. Get outside help if you need to, even if you have to pay a little extra for it. Remember, you need to save your energy on more important things. Lack of sleep will only exhaust you, if not make you sick—making you even less efficient and productive in the long run.
SOURCES: James McKenna, sleep expert Mary O’Malley, sleep consultant Deborah Lin-Dyken, pediatric sleep disorders expert Jodi Mindell, pediatric sleep expert Jan Barger, lactation consultant Deborah Lin-Dyken, pediatric sleep disorders