The first 6 weeks of a newborn’s life can be intense for many reasons. Everyone is excited and marveling in baby’s perfection. Mom is recovering from either her vaginal or cesarean birth. Parents are shocked at how time consuming it is to care for this tiny human. Baby prefers to sleep during the day and play and power-nurse at night. Needless to say, this time can be exhausting. Here are some ways to help mom get a little more SLEEP:
Some women cannot rest if their house is a mess. Do some laundry (folding included); load the dishwasher; put away dishes; sweep; help older kids clean up their mess. These are all things that do not take a long time, but can really help mom’s peace of mind. She may be more likely to sleep, when baby sleeps, if she feels like her house is not falling apart.
Cooking is time consuming. Ain’t Nobody Got Time for That! (Especially new parents!) Plus, if mom is breastfeeding, she is most likely RAVENOUS all the time! Cook or bring foods that are nutritious, but that she can also eat one-handed.
TAKE BABY OUTSIDE
Babies and children LOVE being outside. Baby’s fussy? Bring him/her outside. The warm sun, being in nature, new sights, fresh air, the peacefulness – there’s something about being outdoors that will calm the fussiest baby. My husband did this for me often when he would get home from work. This was often the only way I could get in some extra catnaps.
Babywearing is not just for mom. While baby often prefers mom and dad, anyone can wear a baby. This is a great way to recreate the womb. He/she was bounced, held tight, and kept warm while in mom’s belly; babywearing recreates that. Babywearing is also great for bonding, while allowing adults to multi-task. So, strap in baby and go for a walk!
Skin-to-skin does not need to always be with mom. Sometimes mom needs a break. Skin-to-skin with dad is also great. My husband did this often with our little one, especially at night. My son got the warmth and snuggling; my husband got the bonding time; and I got to sleep.
If baby wakes up, change his/her diaper first, then give him/her to mom. Newborns poop a lot! Meaning, they need to be changed a lot! Take over diaper changes when home, so that mom gets a break and maybe even a few more moments to herself. Plus, baby gets familiar with someone else that can meet his/her non-nutritional needs.
Co-sleeping will look differently for each family. It is advised for baby to at least be in the same room as mom. The closer baby is to mom, the more mom stabilizes baby’s breathing, encourages nursing, reduces the risks of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), AND gets more sleep. Make sure you are practicing co-sleeping safely.
What are some other ways to help mom get more sleep during the newborn phase? Comment below!
I am a certified doula, childbirth and parenting educator. I am also a registered nurse and a breastfeeding mom. For more information about me and my services, visit MY Birth & Baby.