Hey there new momma! How’s sleep going with your newborn? Are you rested? Do you long for more rest. Yes, having a new baby will always result in some sleep deprivation, but it doesn’t have to mean that you have to suffer through it. Sleep is a powerful parenting tool! Without it, we are at higher risks of depression, anxiety, weight gain, mood swings, and a whole bunch of other unpleasant symptoms. If you’re struggling with any of these challenges like so many moms do, know there are ways to ease the tired mom brain. Even if you are happy as a clam, finding sleep is still a great investment for any parent. Keep reading for some must know new mom sleep hacks that can help you live your mom life to the fullest.
New mom sleep hack #1: Sleep when baby sleeps
One of the greatest, brand new mom, mistakes I ever made literally happened on day one. I had given birth. My baby was cleaned up and snuggled in for sleep. I had been fed, and all of our visitors had left. My husband and I were alone in the hospital room with our little bundle sleeping in the bassinet, and guess what we did? We got our phones out and shared our wonderful news with our closest friends and family.
Please, don’t make the same mistake! As wonderful as it was, I missed out on valuable sleep that I never could get back. I remember a nurse recommending avoiding the temptation and prioritizing sleep at this point. Yet, I didn’t, and I I can’t stress how important that really is. Because once you go home, you’re not going to get that quiet moment to sleep again. You’ll have responsibilities around the house and a baby to take care of 24/7. Take advantage while you can!
Especially, in the first week or two where you are really healing up from giving birth and the baby blues are hitting hard, sleep is a vital piece of being able to properly take on all of the requirements of a new mom. It helps with breastfeeding. It helps with mental health. Sleep is so important.
So, when your little one is kind enough to grace you with some good sleep, and let’s be real, newborns sleep so much more than stereotypes think, you should sleep too!
New mom sleep hack #2: Set a bedtime (for everyone)
It’s quite possible that this blog is all about the mistakes that I’ve made. And, I’m sharing so that you don’t have to make the same ones too. The next new mom mistake I made was thinking that I was invincible and resilient. Also, thinking my baby was sleep resilient was also a big oversight. The lesson learned = Bedtimes are important.
For the first six weeks, newborn sleep and bedtimes are a flexible and quite fluid concept. But even if your little one may have a night time window, you as a parent should also have a structured bedtime.
It can be so tempting to stay up later and enjoy some of that blissful alone time. Don’t get me wrong, that’s important too. However, don’t let it get out of hand. Set limits and stick to them for your own good. Maybe set a time limit of how much longer after putting baby down you can stay awake and be productive (or not). Maybe build in afternoon quality time with your spouse, so that you both can go to sleep right away once baby is down. Whatever your strategy is, setting strict sleep limits are so important, because it can be so tempting to spend a little longer scrolling social media, watch another episode of your favorite show, or even catch up on another chapter of your favorite book.
Letting the bunny trail of activities get away from us can send moms into an endless loop of tiredness, because being tired is emotionally draining, which can prompt the desire to do something brain numbing again, which in turn causes more tiredness. Resist the temptation!
A well rested mom is a powerful mom and a lot of it comes down to the choice of sleep. You have to choose to take care of yourself so that you can take care of your family. If you’re tired and sleep deprived, you won’t be able to give them your all. In order to live life to the fullest, we have to allow our bodies to recharge. So, no matter how tempting one more episode or one more Candy Crush round may be, stay strong for you, your hubby, and kiddos and just go to bed.
New mom sleep hack #3: Function as a team
There’s no point in both parents being tired and exhausted. So, moms if you’ve got the breastfeeding thing down and are comfortable on your own, let him sleep through the night feedings. Dads, in return, take on the morning bottle to let mom sleep a little longer. Ask her what the hardest feed is, and take over that one.
Dads, if that plan doesn’t work because it may impact milk supply or it may be something mom is just not willing to give up, then find something else to help with. Maybe one parent naps during baby’s nap and the other takes care of cleaning the bottles and dishes. Or, mom wakes up to feed baby in the morning and dad lets her sleep in after that.
This is especially important in the first few weeks where both parents are home on leave. However, even if the dad has to return to work shortly, it’s still very important to try to find ways to get the mom more sleep. It will improve everyone’s quality of life!
New mom sleep hack #4: Get help
When you and hubby are functioning as a team and you’ve set your sleep limits, yet you’re still not getting enough sleep, chances are there’s a lot of people around you who’d love to help. Especially when they’re so little, squishy, and sleepy, so many grandma’s, aunts, friends, neighbors, etc. are probably all hoping that they can get an opportunity to cuddle your little cutie pie. But, chances are, they may not want to impose. They may want to give you your space or just be respectful of how difficult this new life is.
If you’re anything like me, you don’t want to ask for help for a variety of reasons. Maybe, you don’t want to seem needy, pushy, or appear that you can’t handle your newfound life.
But you’re tired, so here’s what you can do. Share your experience. Post on social media. Send cute cuddly pictures to your family and friends. Invite them into your life without asking for anything. Then, when inevitably someone says, “I need to meet your baby” or “let me know if you need anything”, you can let them know exactly when they can meet them and how they can help.
Be honest. Set the expectations right. Let them know, “wow, I’ve been so tired. Do you want to come cuddle baby while I take a quick cat nap?” It can be surprising how willing some people can be. Plus, since you’ve set the expectations and gave them a glimpse into your tiredness, you don’t have to feel bad for stepping away for a second.
You get sleep. They get one-on-one time with the new baby. It’s a win-win!
New mom sleep hack #4: Eat well and drink lots of water
It is amazing how much our energy levels are impacted by our diets and water consumption. I’m not a health expert and honestly wouldn’t be able to explain to you how it all functions. But, I do know that if you’re not hydrating and if you’re not eating nourishing, clean food, your body will become depleted of energy. Thus, making any sleep that you do get ineffective.
How do I do this? I’m not perfect, but I try my hardest to consume 60-80oz of water a day. I have a cute Pineapple tumbler that holds 20oz, so I always purpose to have it by me and refill it 3-4 times a day. Also, when I drink, my 18-month-old daughter drinks, which had established a solid habit of hydration. This keeps the head clear and body functioning properly, and ultimately, beats the tiredness.
Another odd, and I would argue challenging way to hydrate, is to limit coffee as much as possible. Okay, before you leave and discredit me for daring to tell a mom to lay off on coffee, I just want you to consider what coffee does. It’s a diuretic. Meaning that it naturally cleanses and dries us up. As long as the coffee drinking mom is aware of this and compensates for the lack of hydration, I would surmise the impacts would be relatively minimal. However, if you’re always feeling tired, it may be something to consider.
I’m the first to admit, that I have a long way to go with diet, but I strive to eat as clean as possible. Meaning that I focus on fresh, unprocessed meals and snacks. This isn’t always possible, but everywhere it makes sense, I try to incorporate that focus and it typically results in my daughter and I eating healthy meals about 50% of the time. I definitely have a long way to go with this area. Feel free to share your healthy living tricks in the comments!
New mom sleep hack #5: Minimize what you can
In the first few weeks of being a rookie mom, really your only job should be to take care of baby and you. It’s okay if the house gets a little messy. Don’t fret if it’s been a bit since you’ve been able to properly get yourself ready.
Here are a few ways to minimize your mom responsibilities.
With grocery shopping, you can save on time by doing grocery pick-ups. Many times certain grocery stores won’t charge extra for pick-up, so it can be a cost effective way to save time. Grocery delivery is also a way to save time, but be prepared for higher costs. However, if you haven’t tried it out yet, there’s usually an introductory promo. Sometimes it’s free delivery, sometimes they’ll give a discount that offsets the price hike for delivery.
Meal prepping before baby is ideal, but even if baby is already here, setting aside time to meal prep can save loads of time and minimize responsibilities. I typically will make a double recipe no matter what it is that I’m making, and the second portion will go straight into the freezer. It makes this a two for one kind of deal!
Another great time saver that can open up more opportunities for sleep are our commitments. With a new baby, it’s very easy to get a fully booked calendar to introduce your new family member. I caution you on this one especially with the first few weeks. As fun and important as these get togethers are, be sure to monitor your energy levels. If you’re feeling run down, it’s okay to voice your needs. Don’t be embarrassed if you have to reschedule. If baby or you aren’t sleeping well, that should be number one priority. Your friends and family will totally understand. Especially if they’ve had kids as well.
New mom sleep hack #6: Spend the right money
There are a few items that can help with a sleep deprived, tired mama. And, if a little bit of money or even a good amount of money can impact something like sleep, then it is seriously worth considering the return on investment for some products.
What should you invest in for yourself as a parent? A great bed and amazing pillow. When you get a chance to lay your head down, make the most of it. If the goal is to get anywhere between 6-8 hours of sleep a day, then, we are spending on average 25% of our lives in bed. Consider where else you spend that much time each day. A bed is definitely worth it! Also, just like our babies, black out shades can significantly help with day time sleep. If baby sleeps, you should be sleeping, so give yourself the best chance to get a good snooze in with a quiet calm environment.
Also, there are plenty of advertised baby products out there that are supposed to help with sleep. I’ve included a list of game changing products in my list of baby sleep hacks. Keep on reading to check out this list for a bunch of revolutionizing products that can positively impact your child’s sleep.
New mom sleep hack #7: Try out essential oils
Okay, I’ll be honest. I pushed back against this one real hard at first. My first impression was that it was a modern hippy movement and an effective marketing phenomenon. However, when my husband was having problems with seasonal allergies and living off of medication, I decided to try it and see.
Wow, did it work! The oil blend we used for allergies worked so well, I did a little investigation into other uses. We stumbled upon a great blend to diffuse for sleep and a few great tips and tricks to promote baby sleep as well. Over all, this did a great job of setting the stage for restful sleep when we did get the chance to.
I’ve heard that quality does make a difference, so even though it can be a bit pricey, I use YoungLiving for my family. I find that we don’t have to replace the products very often because they go quite a long way and when we do diffuse, we use very minimal blends for a light potency.
New mom sleep hack #8: Get expertise
If our babies don’t sleep, we don’t sleep. So, if you’re having difficulties with your child’s sleeping habits, read, watch, see how other parents with good sleepers help their children be good sleepers. Sometimes, it’s just the kid, but many times there’s more to it. So, do your research. Keep reading on for some of my own sleep discoveries.
Ask your parent friends of all ages. See how their sleep journey went. Inquire about what they did. And, don’t be afraid to try it out and fail. Sometimes, when making a change for the best, your little one may protest, so stay strong as long as you know you’re working with great advice. Sometimes, little one will adapt to the new change right away. File that away as a win and keep doing what works.
I recommend checking out Taking Cara Babies blog and thekatiesitterclub for great sleep tips that may or may not be obvious. Many of these tips did not come naturally for me. We struggled dramatically until we sought out some advice and it was amazing how these quick little tips worked so well.
New mom sleep hack #9: Lower your expectations, give grace
As a new mom, it was amazing what a night and day difference my mindset made. I dealt with a good deal of baby blues and a bit of postpartum depression, and that did impact my sleep. Once I was able to be content in my situations and give myself grace, all of a sudden, I was a happier person and I actually slept better. It is the hardest thing for a new mom to do, but when I tried my best not to worry, I did everything better.
Now, it sounds so easy, but in reality, it was an uphill battle and a daily, and sometimes second by second decision to choose peace. Giving yourself grace is a moment by moment choice.
Keep in mind, it’s okay for the house to be messy. You just pushed out a little human and now you’re his or her only source of nourishment. The house can look like the Tasmanian devil blew through and you would still be considered a super human in my books. The reality is that once you have kids, the house will never quite look like it did before. That doesn’t mean it’s a safe excuse to let it go, but when it does get out of hand, there’s no need to feel shame nor get all worked up about it.
By relaxing on what seems out of hand, it will actually help you have the peace of mind to get a good nights rest.
The main thing to remember as a new mom is that the journey of momma life is a twisted, extreme roller coaster that takes us for a wild ride. Being able to take a step back and enjoy every moment of it is what breathes life into us moms. But, how can we enjoy all that God has blessed us with if we’re tired beyond all measure. If we feel like zombies, we’ll never be able to live our mom lives to the fullest. It’s not selfish to care of yourself first. It’s not bad to prioritize rest. So, I encourage you to take some time to consider how you’re feeling and how you can improve your sleep. You’ve got this momma! You can be rested again.
Did any of these tips improve your sleep? Let us know in the comments and feel free to share your favorite must know new mom sleep hacks. If you’re looking for Sleep Hacks for baby then be sure to checkout my list of game changing products, tips, and resources. Be sure to subscribe for more of momma life to the fullest delivered right to your inbox.