8 Tips to help you to get the rest you need!
By Emiliana Hall (Mama of 2 under 4)
You’ve reached 6 months mama- congratulations! Chances are, like most parents, you’re feeling a little (or a lot) sleep deprived. If this is you, then you won’t be feeling as well as you could be as sleep is such an important part of our health.
Here are some helpful tips to get you thinking about how you can do things a little differently in order to prioritise your sleep and rest. Your whole family will benefit from you feeling good mama, so it’s time to start putting your rest time first.
1. Be Open About What You Need
It’s really easy to get caught up in the cycle of sleep deprivation and feeling cranky with whoever is at home with you because they’re not doing their share of getting up with the kids in the night, or doing the early morning wake ups. Assuming that they know that it’s sleep that you need can be risky business in any relationship. Only if you are open with those around you that sleep is what you NEED, will they be able to help out!
2. Don’t let guilt make you take on extra responsibility
Feeling guilty can make you say ‘yes’ to a lot of things you may not want to do. If you have older children, promising them extravagant outings when you’re not sure if you can physically fulfill them will add pressure to your tired mind. Opt for a film on the sofa, a walk outside in the fresh air (this can help to blow refresh if you’re feeling tired and have no help on that day) or even better, see if you can organise for them to have a play date at a well loved friends house. Anything so you can regularly rest and recuperate mama.
Also don’t take on hosting for friends and family if you know you are sleep deprived. This is a recipe for disaster- once the hazy sleepless nights are over (whenever that may be!) you can host away- but until then keep life simple for yourself!
3. Sleep (or rest!) when your baby sleeps
It’s one of the things I personally HATED to hear, nap time (if I could even put my baby down?!) was prime time to get stuff done. But with my second baby I just did it. I left all of the house work, bill paying, everything to 1 certain day of the week. On all the other days, I would at the very least sit down even if I could wind down enough to nap. I actually felt so much more productive having felt totally rested and mentally less foggy.
4. Say yes to help
It’s no use being to proud to accept help. In many cultures around the world, not accepting help would seem offensive to those offering it! Whether it is a family member, friend, or babysitter, accept help, so you can get a few hours of sleep. People think of sleep as a luxury, but it is a seriously important requirement for good health..
You don’t have to do every single thing for it to mean you’re a good mum. In fact, the most calm and collected mums I know are more than happy to ask for help when they need it. If your baby takes a bottle, ask your partner to take on some of the feedings. If you’re breastfeeding and not getting enough sleep, consider pumping and giving someone else a turn to feed. Try to divide up all your household responsibilities as best you can.
6. It won’t be like this forever mama
One day…maybe tomorrow, maybe a few months time… they will sleep through the night. And so will you. Some babies sleep through the night earlier than others. If your baby is crying all night, talk to your pediatrician as there may be a medical reason such as acid reflux or too much gas, that can be treated. But just know, everything is a phase and it’s important that you adopt different ways to make sure you’re getting what YOU need during the challenging times
7. Don’t ignore the baby blues
Sleep loss can lead to mood changes, and new mamas are at risk for baby blues or the more serious postpartum depression. If you are experiencing some of these symptoms, talk to your doctor to see if they can help. Just please please don’t ignore them.
8. Nurture your own bedtime routine
We regularly hear about making a baby’s bedtime routine lovely and calm, but rarely do we look at making our own so blissful!
Switch off your phone/tablet/tv at least 1 hour before you plan to go to sleep
Listen to guided meditations (on airplane mode if from your phone!) to help you to switch off your thoughts
Use calming essential oils on your pillow
Each of these things can easily happen and even if you are woken up a couple of hours later, you’ll feel more refreshed from the quality sleep you’ve had.