Do you remember the last time you had a full straight eight hours of sleep at night? Well, you probably don’t if you have a baby. Most parents who have an infant have frequent sleep problems. And that is a common situation. That’s why we will discuss how to deal with sleep deprivation as a breastfeeding mom.
Sleep deprivation due to the arrival of a baby is nothing to yawn at. But the good news is, there are ways moms can use to get the rest they needed.
Oftentimes, we think of sleep as one solid-state of unconsciousness. But there are actually two kinds of sleep: the REM (rapid eye movement), also known as dream sleep, and the non-REM. The non-REM is made up of four stages:
- Stage 1: When the body begins to relax and feel drowsy. You have a semi-awareness of the surroundings.
- Stage 2: Your eye movements and body movements cease and brain waves slow down. This is called “falling asleep”.
- Stage 3 and 4: Your breathing is regular and you show no response to what’s going on around you.
Going through all these stages takes about 90 minutes. After that, the body shifts into rapid eye movement (REM) where most dreams occur. This is when your closed eyes dart back and forth like you’re watching a movie and the brain waves speed up. This entire cycle and the period of REM is completed four to six times every night.
Getting the sleep you need is vital for your health and safety. A few hours of sleep each night can have an impact on your daily life. Study shows that people who sleep less than five hours at night are more likely to get involved in a sleep-related crash.
Here are ways on how to deal with sleep deprivation as a breastfeeding mom:
Keep your baby close
When you nurse your baby, you can get a bassinet that is attached to the bed or you can sit next to it. When you do it, your feet won’t have to touch the cold floor and you will hardly wake up.
Even if you can’t sleep, at least lie-down
Sometimes, moms find it hard to sleep immediately. You can relax on the couch and stay off the phone. Even just by lying down for an hour can be very restorative.
Choose your guests
Keep in mind that you need to be wise with your visitors. There are helpful guests, such as your mother or mother-in-law who change diapers and make a meal. But there are also aggravating guests such as coworkers who just want to gossip. Study shows that new moms who have less social support sleep more than those who have a lot of social support.
That is because when family and friends visit the baby, moms tend to feel obligated to prepare food and entertain the visitors. It can sometimes sap the mother’s energy. However, there are visitors who are happy to offer some help. If they do, let them.
Have your husband or visitor work the night time for you so you can have a solid sleep at night once in a while. If you’re bottle-feeding it may be easier, but if you are breastfeeding, you can introduce a bottle of breast milk early on so that someone can feed the baby at night. You can have your mother, mother-in-law, or your husband feed the baby in the morning while you can get additional sleep.
Some may assume that bottle-feeding moms get more rest than breastfeeding moms, but that is not the case. Study shows that nursing moms get more deep sleep because of the growth hormone prolactin that surges during lactation.
Some moms have trouble sleeping even after a tiring day of caring for a baby. They may find it tempting to just watch television or use their phones. The light from mobile phones or television can stimulate you and actually keep you up.
Don’t depend on your coffee
Although you may rely on your cup of coffee in the morning for a jolt of energy, overdoing it can actually prevent you from falling asleep. When it is your time to finally lie down, you may find it hard to fall asleep because of too much caffeine. You should limit their coffee consumption to one cup of coffee a day.
Remember that almost all babies are able to have longer sleep at night as they age 2 to 3 months and they will be able to sleep through the night by the age of 6 months. When they do, you can finally have a full rest at night. So remember that your sleep deprivation as a breastfeeding mom doesn’t last forever. While getting to that point, here are ways to cope with sleep deprivation using Dos and Dont’s.
- Do delegate chores to your visitors who are offering help
- Do pump, so that someone else can feed the baby when you are sleeping
- Take a rest when the baby is napping during the day
- Give your husband specific tasks to help
- Don’t watch television or use your mobile phones before bedtime, so you can sleep immediately
- Don’t drink more than one cup of coffee a day
- Don’t use the baby’s naptime to do chores
- Don’t try hard to entertain your visitors
- Don’t stress too much about the house’s appearance
Truly, it’s not very easy on how to deal with sleep deprivation as a breastfeeding mom. But moms can make it if they heed on the counsel and tips suggested above. With the help of their husbands, families, and friend, they will surely be able to cope up with this challenge and succeed it being a breastfeeding mom. Later on, the baby will grow and sleep deprivation will be less and less. It may be hard, but your baby is worth every sacrifice.