Lack of sleep. The big challenge when your newborn gets home
Every post and comment on the internet about having a new baby talks about how exciting and wonderful the experience is, and certainly it's true, however there's not too much information about the associated challenges and how to deal with them in order to avoid to get exhausted and unable to enjoy such a wonderful experience 100%.
And perhaps one of the most demanding challenges when your cute newborn gets home is to deal with the lack of sleep; no matters how much you have prepared for this moment, on the very first week the psychologic burden as well the increased physical activity to take care of the baby will take its toll and you must be prepared to deal with.
First thing to know is that the lack of sleep will not last forever; in fact it's just only a few months of your baby's life and you must be prepared to deal with it in order to enjoy your little one plenty. Undoubtedly those night without closing an eye will be hard but you may be sure that later, once your kid has grew up, you'll miss the nights when each two hours you and your baby had such a close contact.
Regardless of how wonderful it could be, to be awake most of the night several weeks is not easy, specially if you are a working parent who has to share energy between the job and taking care of the baby, and sooner or later you may get exhausted and find yourself not enjoying the parenting experience.
To avoid such awkward feeling here you'll find some tips which may be very useful to minimize the lack of sleep impact on your life:
1. Change your sight. Now you are a newborn parents and things will work a lot different; don't try to adapt your baby's needs and requirements to your schedule, after all what a newborn needs is a matter of biology and barely can be postponed, while your own schedule is manmade, hence if flexible, it will be easier to adapt your own schedules to your baby's requirements.
2. Sleep each time you can. Yes, for a while you must forget about your adult habits and act more like a little kid; one common mistake is to use the time when your baby takes a nap (especially during daylight) to move forward with your own agenda, and even when that's not bad (in fact it's necessary, otherwise your whole life would be on hold), it's a good idea to take a nap with the baby once or twice along the day. This will help to recharge batteries and deal with frequent night wakes.
3. Avoid copious meals, especially on night hours. Instead try something fresh and ligth; it will help you to get asleep faster and your physical recovery will be enhanced, hence despite of less hours of sleep, you won't feel so tired.
4. Try some exercise. With a little baby at home it seems a sort of impossible mission but you don't need to go for a triathlon; in fact around 20 minutes a day of intermediate to vigorous intensity exercise will release plenty endorphins which will help you to drop out stress and rest better.
5. If possible, split the night in two parts, one to sleep while your couple takes care of the baby and the other half to take care of the baby on your own while your partner sleep. If you are a single parent, it could be a good idea to hire someone (when possible) to help you with the night turn, at least during the first weeks.
6. Avoid caffeine because even when it helps you to stay alert during the night, it will make harder to achieve a deep sleep, moreover if you are breastfeeding your baby could receive some caffeine too, giving both of you a hard time when it's time to sleep!
7. Discharge your agenda as much as you can. It seems useless but avoid all not urgent activities until your baby's sleep pattern changes. Don't be ashamed because your house is not as ordered as usual and don't be stressed because you need to paint a wall or cut the grass. Everything that can wait to be done later must be done later instead, use your available time to rest as much as you can, and of course, enjoy your baby!
8. Ignore other parent's comments about how their babies sleep all night long, and stop asking yourself why your own pumpkin doesn't do so! Each baby has an own rhythm and sooner or later all babies will sleep all night long, hence stop looking aside and enjoy your own parenting experience; doing different will only give you the impression that the lack of sleep is lasting longer than you can deal with.
Finally remember, lack of sleep and frequent night wakes won't last forever, thus if you do your best to minimize the lack of sleep impact on your daily life during a few months, you will able to enjoy your little baby a lot with minimal negative consequences on both, your health and your daily activities.