Handling Sleep Deprivation

You get a lot of advice when you’re pregnant – most of it unsolicited!

Not all of it is great advice, or advice that will work for you and your family, but there’s one piece of advice you should try to follow if you can: Sleep when the baby sleeps!

This can be tough to do, especially when you have older kids to take care of. Don’t be afraid to ask friends and family to help with chores and errands, and never feel guilty if you decide to focus on your baby and older children. The laundry that is here today will still be here tomorrow!

Breastfeeding can be especially exhausting with newborns if you are feeding on demand and watching for hunger cues. Newborns can breastfeed every two hours (or more) around the clock. Knowing this in advance helps you prepare yourself for it. Teach yourself – and baby – how to breastfeed while lying down, as this can help you and baby connect AND rest while nursing.

Serious sleep deprivation can lead to depression and feelings of anxiety so it is important to try to rest whenever possible. Prioritize being with your baby for feedings – especially in the first days and weeks – and ask your partner or friends  to step in at other times, like getting baby dressed, changing diapers, taking the baby for walks, or even just holding baby while you lie down.  Be gentle with yourself and understand that you need rest to be an attentive mom.