When you have a small baby then it is unlikely that you will get a full night’s sleep. In fact some children do not start sleeping through the night for years and so you could find that you will have a broken sleep for a very long time. It is therefore useful to have some ideas on how to get the sleep that you need.
It can be really difficult for some people to get off to sleep. So if you are woken multiple times in the night by a baby, then getting back to sleep can be really hard. If this happens then you may find that you are hardly asleep before they wake again and you start to get extremely sleep deprived. In this case it is wise to try to find a way to relax so that you can sleep better. We are all different in the relaxation techniques that we find work well for us. It can be that listening to soothing music, reading a boring book, doing some meditation or trying a crossword will help you to sleep. Try out some different things to see what helps you to nod off more quickly. Generally something that will stop you from worrying will be best. You might find that you are listening out for baby all of the time, but you will wake up if they cry and they will make themselves heard anyway so do not worry about not waking up for them. If they are in a different room use a baby listener turned up really loudly to hear them and then you should not need to worry so much.
It could be worth thinking about getting a few full night’s sleep once in a while. You can pay a night nurse to take over the night feeds to help out or you could ask a friend or relative to have them for the night. You will obviously need to pick someone that you really trust so that you can relax enough to sleep well. A night nurse will be really expensive and so you may not be able to afford one. However a friend or family member will do the job for you for nothing.
If you cannot afford or manage to do this then an alternative is to get some sleep in the day Ask friends and/or relatives if they could visit you and look after the babies for you while you have a sleep. You might be able to get a good few hours sleep while they have fun playing with the baby. Again, you would need to trust them so that you could relax enough to sleep well and you would need to shut some doors or ask them to take baby out for a walk as if you hear the baby crying you will not be able to sleep.
Go to bed early
Going to bed early can make such a big difference. Even if you just get an hour extra it can be huge when you are generally getting so little sleep. Think of it as a treat to be able to relax in bed early and as something that will be doing you lots of good. Some people think of going to bed as a punishment and would rather go to bed later so they do not have to get up as many times. But this will lead to them being extremely tired and it can be a lot harder to cope with a baby when you are tired.
Try to make it dark in your room even if it is still light outside and that will make it easier for you to go to sleep early. Do all of your normal night time routine as well and that will allow your brain to get switched into sleep mode.
Sleep in the day
It can be a good idea to try to take naps in the day if you can. It is hard to sleep when it is light outside and at a time when you are not used to it but if you can it will help you. Often new mothers are told to sleep when baby is sleeping and this can be a great idea. You may feel that it is your only time to get on with things, but if you are exhausted then you need that sleep more and so you should make sure that you get it. If you are worried about sleeping for too long because you have places to be at certain times, then set an alarm and then you can relax better so you will be more likely to fall asleep. You may find that you can nap in the chair but it could be better to actually go to the bedroom, shut the curtains and have a sleep on or in the bed, baby can go in their cot so they will be safe while you sleep.
Share the burden
If you have a partner then try to get them to share the burden. If you are breastfeeding then they cannot feed the baby but you could express some milk so that they can feed it in the night or ask them to get up and change their nappy and see if they settle before you feed them. If you are bottle feeding or the baby is weened it is much easier to share the burden. Take it in turns to get up and see what is wrong, perhaps having alternate night or alternate feeds. It can really help to just be able to get a few more hours sleep a night so that you can function better. Obviously if one is working and the other isn’t the one that is working will need more sleep. However, you are both doing important jobs and so both need to make sure that you are getting enough sleep so that you can function properly.
How to keep Yourself and your Family Healthy
Keeping healthy is something that we hear a lot about these days. We hear all about how if we have a healthy lifestyle it means that we will not be unwell so often and so it is important to stick toone. However, we may not know how to be healthy or may feel that it is too difficult to think about this as well as looking after the baby. However, there are a few things that you can do to make sure that you are looking after your health without it being too much of a chore.
Go for a walk each day
Exercising with a baby can be difficult and you will need to take it easy anyway and try not to wear yourself out. This is why walking is so good; as it is not too strenuous but still gives you exercise. It is also good for the baby to go outside and see all sorts of different things. It can be a good chance for them to have a sleep or be stimulated by new things and will give you a chance to go into town and buy things that you need or have a relaxing walk somewhere else. Being outside in the mornings is really good for helping us to sleep as well as it sets our body clock properly. Getting out of the house can be important as well as it means that you will be seeing and doing different things and you could even arrange to meet friends, go to baby groups or things where you will be socialising which is important.
Eat lots of vegetables
One easy way to make sure that we are eating healthily is to eat lots of vegetables. Some people are keener than others, but there are so many different types of vegetables there are bound to be some that you like. For example salad vegetables count as well as root vegetables and Mediterranean vegetables. Although greens are very healthy and worth having every day if you can, all other colours of vegetables are important too. Getting your children to eat veggies can be tricky though, but you can try cooking them in lots of different ways such as pizza toppings, soups, stews, in sauces and things like that to see whether there is a way that they will want to eat them. It can take a bit of work but soft veggies like avocado and cucumber and sweet ones like carrots and peas can be good ones to start with.
Avoid too much sugar
It is really hard to avoid eating too much sugar these days. It can be really good if you can bring up your children so that they are not used to sugar and therefore do not like very sweet foods. This means that you avoid biscuits, cakes, puddings, sweets and fruit juices. It will do all the family good if you cannot eat these as they do not add many nutrients to the diet but will add a lot of calories which are easily available for the body to store as fat. It can be tricky to give these up as temptation is everywhere and they not only taste good but give us an energy high. However, we can often drop to an energy low soon after eating them, which means that we feel like eating even more.
Take time to relax
Relaxation is really important for our health. We need to make sure that we do not get too stressed as this can not only make us feel bad but it can make us physically ill. All of us have different things that we find relaxing and it is good to make sure that we can identify what it is that we can do to make us feel the most relaxed. Then we can use this to make sure that we can relax. It could be anything from having a bath to doing some meditation. It does not have to take very long either. It is a good idea though to try to take some time to relax each day if we can. The days when we think that we are too busy to relax, are the days when we probably need to relax the most. Think about when you can fit in a bit of relaxation, even if it is just five minutes before you go to sleep.
Get as much sleep as you can
Getting sleep is so important for our bodies. It can be very hard to get enough at the best of times but when you have a child that wakes through the night, it can be even harder. Try to go to bed earlier so that you give yourself the chance of getting as much sleep as you need and if you have a partner ask them to help out. If they are working and need lots of sleep then ask them to help out at the weekends, perhaps allowing you to sleep in the day so that you can catch up with some much needed rest. Do not feel stressed about getting enough sleep though as you will find it even harder to sleep then. Just give yourself the opportunity to sleep when you can and know that you will be able to catch up once they get older and sleep right through the night.
There are lots of other things that you can do to stay healthy. However, these will give you a basic guide to start with. Trying anything too complicated when you are trying to find a new routine with a baby will be difficult so if you can just do a few basic things you will be better off. You can always improve and add in more things as you able to cope with them. You could do more strenuous exercise, for example, plan a healthier diet or try more stress coping mechanisms. However, you will not have a lot of time, so you need to take things step by step so that you can cope with what you are doing.