Friday, May 31, 2013

Late Night Advice for Tired New Mommies

My kids are all in their teens and twenties...and I still have some late nights with them. But I remember well the days when I was up in the middle of the night....the days when the baby sleeping next to me wanted to nurse all night long....the days when morning came way too fast and I was just exhausted. So the other night I asked our ANM moms what advice they would give to a tired new mommie at 11:00 at night. We got some terrific responses that should help any new mama struggling with sleep deprivation!

Sleep When You Can

Snatching sleep anywhere you can was a common theme.  K. suggested, "If they are nursing, try to nurse while laying down. I would cat nap while my daughter nursed once I found out she would nurse while we both lay on our sides. Those micronaps saved me!"

R. said, "Take a deep breath - this too shall pass.  Oh, and forget the housework - SLEEP!"  

B. added, "Sleep every time baby sleeps - the laundry can wait!"

M. offered this advice: " Do whatever it takes to get some sleep. Whether that's putting baby in bed with you, in a separate sleep space, or asking dad to tend to baby until baby's ready to eat again. Whatever works. Take a nap tomorrow, too, at least one. Don't worry about the dishes or the laundry or sweeping the floor; it will all still be there when you aren't feeling so tired.

A. said, "Nap when your baby naps, eat when your baby eats (if you can), breathe, get something to drink and think of something relaxing or watch TV." 

S. offered this very practical suggestion:  "Cosleep and read The No Cry Sleep Solution. It helped me to understand sleep better in general...and to be more realistic. Pantley explains it so well!"

L. proferred these words of encouragement:" At some point, they do start sleeping through the night!"  

Use Your Support Network

Several moms pointed out the importance of taking advantage of any help you can get.  E. said, "It's okay to ask for help from a family member or friend!" 

T. added, "This is not forever. you can handle this. Maybe through tears and most likely with some much-appreciated help, but you can handle this. Make sure you've had some food and lots of water, and crawl in bed the moment you can."   

A. had this to say, "If you can, take a mini-break for yourself once a dy. It could be as simple as going to buy a coke BY YOURSELF with no noise and no one to take care of. It could just be taking a bath or shower. Little breaks help you stay sane. And everyone has days where they put baby in Dad's arms and say 'I can't do it any more right now.' Take a break and you can do it again. My first was colicky...sometimes you have to put them down in their bed and walk away for a minute. The best thing to do is surround yourself with positive, encouraging people. It's a hard job, but it's the best job and only you can do it as well as you can, because YOU are MOM!" 

Create a No-Guilt. No-Stress Zone

One of our mantras at A Nurturing Moment is "We don't do guilt!"  S. had this to say: "It's okay if you are frustrated or angry...don't feel guilty -- it doesn't make you a bad mommy or mean you love your baby any less. You will feel better after you get a little bit of rest!"  

Image from womenshealth.gov.
H. offered this advice: "If you or baby can't sleep (particularly if baby is nursing at short intervals all night long), make yourself a little "nest" someplace like the recliner; get comfy, play your favorite movies/tv shows (or load your Kindle with a great book), and hang in there.  Sleep will happen before too long. In the meantime, try not to stress, and know that this too shall pass. Any you'l probably look back and freak out that it's passed so quickly!" 

G. added, "It's really hard to enjoy something when you can barely function. It is worth enjoying; it IS exhausting, and whatever you are feeling is real. If baby is screaming, put her down in a safe place, go pee, get a drink of water, maybe a bite of chocolate, and relax. The go back and be a mommy again." 

E. offered this encouragement: "Trust yourself. You're doing great!"

Treasure These Moments 

Many of our moms talked about how quickly time passes and suggested looking for the good in this situation.  

C. said, "Enjoy the snuggle time and soak it all up because they grow up way too fast." 

G. added,"Time flies by...blink and they grow. You won't be nursing them at 11:00 pm for very long." 

P. suggested a wonderful post from her blog, Adaptive Mom and said, "Enjoy every moment. You will miss these moments someday."  

Darius Rucker with his 4 year old son, Jack
R. had this to say: "Enjoy it!!! It will be over soon and will never happen again; she will be on to a new chapter in her life and will laugh about it one day!"  

B. said, "It won't be like this for long!"  and K. added, "It gets way more fun!"

M. concluded with these words of wisdom: "I would tell her to take advantage of the quiet and alone time with just you and baby when those late night sessions come around. I loved when it was just me and baby up while everyone else was sleeping...it was our alone time to just snuggle. No getting water for the other kids, no expectations from anyone else. Just us. Make the most of it."  

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