Why It’s Important to Get Sleep Postpartum
If you’re a new mom, you’re probably feeling like sleep is a luxury you simply can’t afford. Some babies sleep more than others, but there’s a good chance you’re not getting nearly as much sleep as you did pre-baby. It’s only natural. But even though you may not be able to get all the sleep you once did, you should be getting as much as you possibly can.
This means going to sleep when the baby goes to sleep at night. Not just saying you’re going to, and then staying up until all hours watching Netflix (most of us are guilty of this at times).
It also means napping when the baby naps, which can be easier said than done. Depending on your situation and your child, you may need to get creative and fit naps in throughout the day. But it’s crucial that you do whatever you can to get more sleep.
Your Baby Needs You
Some moms avoid sleeping because they always want to be on guard. They want to keep a constant watch on their baby to ensure nothing happens. Even when the baby sleeps, mom is on duty. But here’s the thing. Something is much more likely to go wrong when you deprive yourself of sleep than if you sleep while the baby is sleeping.
It’s like they say on the airplane: Put your own oxygen mask on before you attempt to help anyone else.
This is self-preservation rather than selfishness. In the case of the oxygen mask, you can’t help someone else if you can’t breathe. Well, you aren’t going to be much good to your baby if you don’t have the mental acuity to make good choices.
Reduce Postpartum Depression Symptoms
If you’re suffering from postpartum depression, it’s more important than ever to get enough rest. Lack of sleep can increase postpartum depression symptoms. Not only will you feel better and less depressed, but you will be in a better position to take care of your baby when you’ve had enough sleep.
Strengthen The Bond With Your Baby
Your newborn baby needs to feel a sense of security from you. And while you can accomplish this on little sleep, you may encourage a deeper bond if you and your baby share the same sleep schedule. When you and your baby are in sync, you will both benefit from the strong bond you create within those first few months.
Sleep Deprivation Takes A Physical Toll
Even if you aren’t suffering from postpartum depression, sleep deprivation can have a major impact on your mood and body. No one needs to tell you that you might be cranky without enough sleep. But you also may become sad, depressed and generally moody.
And according to WebMD, among a host of health issues, sleep deprivation may make it harder for you to lose that post-pregnancy weight. If you’re like many moms, trouble losing weight may deepen your post-baby, sleep-deprived depression. If you aren’t getting sleep, things can get bad. And no amount of coffee will fix the problem. The only way to start feeling like yourself again is to get more sleep.
If you’re having trouble napping during your baby’s naps, don’t just give up. Make a quick chamomile tea and try laying down. It may help if you’re lying next to your sleeping child, but at least try to nap in the same room.
And if you’re among those of us who trade sleep for “me time,” know that this is working against you. Remind yourself that this stage is temporary and you will get your me time back. For now, just get as much rest as you can.