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If you think birthing is the end of your discomforts, you are wrong. What comes after it is just as hard. The days after you give birth will have you deal with a newborn who is constantly crying, feeding or pooping.
Your body too needs to heal from the birthing process. You have pains and aches all over. You need to learn to take care of your baby and to nurse him/her properly. It is no wonder that you have so little sleep after the baby is born.
In the times of our parents and grandparents, child birth and the days after that was supported by the help of other members of the family. The new mother had time for ample rest, as the women folk of the family would take care of the baby. But the times have changed, nuclear families are the norm. The new parents have to figure out parenting by themselves.
Also Read: How New Moms Can Avoid Breast Engorgement
Sleep deprivation is a very common side effect of new parenting. It is very important to know how to cope and live with sleep deprivation. If you go up to 5 days without at least 4 hours of continuous sleep, you will start having signs of sleep deprivation.
When you have a baby, it is only natural that you may have to go months without a good amount of continuous sleep. So, it is essential to know how to recognize the signs of sleep deprivation and how to cope with it.
Signs Of Sleep Deprivation
You feel very tired.
You feel grumpy and snappy.
You become disoriented and clumsy.
You become very emotional at the slightest thing.
You have trouble communicating or finding the right words.
You feel stressed.
You have more or less appetite than normal.
You find it very difficult to concentrate on even simple tasks.
How To Stay Focused?
Do not depend on caffeine for alertness. While caffeine in your tea or coffee may give you a quick rush of energy, it may also cause you to lose sleep at night, which will contribute to sleep deprivation. It is best to keep away from caffeine when breastfeeding any way. Choose tender coconut water or lemonade to refresh you instead.
Exercise as soon as you feel up to it. It is probably the last thing on your mind, but exercising will help you be alert and focused. Losing your pregnancy weight is only an additional perk. Do not go for anything vigorous. Choose yoga and light aerobics whenever you find time.
Do not worry about chores. Do not try to finish a lot in a little time. It is important to prioritize. Choose only a couple of chores that are very important. There will be days when you feel that you couldn't get anything done. But remember not to beat yourself about it. Your health is more important.
Take help. Accept if you are offered help. Ask if you are not offered any. Try hiring someone to help you out if possible. Make use of home delivery facility where ever possible like for groceries and food.
Get rest every possible minute. Go to sleep at the same time every day. It is a given that you will be interrupted, but you will make sure that you will get some sleep.
Eat a healthy diet. If you are feeling too tired, test your blood levels. You may be low on your iron level. If so, consult your doctor for iron supplements.
If you have started working, try to get some shut eye during free times or lunch time. You can also plan in a way that you allot the morning hours for important tasks and meetings when you are the most alert.
How To Live With Sleep Deprivation?
You will have to modify your lives to cope with sleep deprivation. Use the following points to make your life a little easier.
Do not drive. Your reaction time will be more when you are sleep deprived. Choose to use public transport. You can also try carpooling or hiring a taxi. If your means allow, you may also hire a driver.
Your grumpiness will come out time to time. Do not be ashamed to apologise. Let your spouse, children and other people around you know that you may be grumpy and say mean things. Tell them that you do not mean it and are sorry.
At nights, you may feel unable to sleep after feeding your baby. Try to drink something like milk or smoothies. You can also use essential oils like lavender oil to soothe you into a comfortable sleep.
Relaxation exercises like Pranayama and Yoga Nidra will help you sleep better. Forgive yourself for the things not done.
Remember that this phase will pass. Soon your child will sleep through the night and you will feel rested when the time comes. Use this thought to push through.