Get the Rest a New Mother Needs

get the rest a new mother needs: Center for Family Medicine

A new mother commonly complains of fatigue. Considering that giving birth is a draining experience, being tired is understandable. It is at precisely this time, however, that a woman needs the most rest. Yet, an infant in the household makes it difficult for her to get the necessary repose. Fortunately, a new mom can employ strategies to obtain all the rest and sleep her mind and body craves. If you have a baby, try a few of these tips to restore your energy.

Rest when your child sleeps. This is an old piece of advice, but it works. A newborn typically sleeps around 16 hours in a 24 hour period. This gives you a chance to get lots of rest, if you will allow yourself to do so. Try to sleep along with your newborn or at least rest while she is asleep. Enjoy a catnap in the recliner or rest on your bed or on the couch. Unfortunately, many women think a newborn’s slumber means it is time to do chores. Don’t let this be you. So what if the dishes pile up and the laundry is waiting. Do these things when your child is awake. Carry her with you while you perform routine daily tasks. Keep gurgling and smiling at her, and she will be fine.

Be a smart woman, not Superwoman. There is no shame in asking others for help. Too often, a new mother feels like she should do everything herself. The fact is caring for an infant is a Herculean task. It’s not easy, and it is almost impossible to do alone so ask for assistance. For instance, negotiate a schedule with your partner so that you take turns getting up at night. If you nurse, pump enough milk so the baby can take a bottle while you get your zzzzs. Ask family members and friends to help out as well. They will love a chance to “baby” your baby while you take time to recharge. Above all, don’t feel guilty. You are a mother who gets her rest so she can take the very best care of her infant.

Suppose you do take advantage of your child’s slumber and the help of others, but you still don’t rest. Perhaps you are so stressed, you either cannot sleep or do not sleep well. There are some things a new mom can do to help conquer the thoughts and emotions that cost her sleep. Consistent physical activity will help you rest better. You probably feel as though you get plenty of exercise taking care of your newborn, but it does not take the place of a concentrated workout. Dedicate an hour a day to work your body and rest your mind by engaging in such activities as swimming, jogging or something else aerobic. Alternate this type of exercise with strength building workouts using small weights or resistance bands. Attaining or maintaining a fit body helps decrease stress and puts you in a good mood so you rest better.

Another way to help you rest is to develop a better bedtime routine. While your child is likely to wake during the night, there are some times you can do that will help you not only get to sleep, but get back to sleep. Put your infant’s bassinet or crib beside your bed so that you can reach her easily. This is particularly helpful if you are a nursing mom as you won’t have to leave your bed to feed her. Keep the lights off or very low during the nighttime hours. Turn off lightened screens such as those on the television and your cell phone. Darkness is a signal to your mind that you should be sleeping. Avoid caffeine as much as possible. You might feel like you need it to keep going but staying hydrated with water will benefit you more and you will sleep better.

Your baby deserves a well-rested mother. Do what it takes to beat the fatigue and, remember, most children sleep through the night once they reach six months. Start the countdown!