Suddenly feel like you’re doing everything wrong? Not handling things well? Starting to question your decisions, instincts, parenting?
Sounds like sleep deprivation - and it is extremely common among new parents. Following the birth of a baby, approximately 70-80% of moms experience "baby blues" with symptoms ranging from mood swings and crying spells, anxiety to difficulty sleeping. This may be because most breastfeeding moms typically lose 350 hours of sleep in the first year.
“Those first few months can be rough; the sleep deprivation is just overwhelming. It’s just insane how your mind can go crazy when you’re sleep deprived; you’ll do anything to get that baby to sleep even just a little bit longer.” - Emily
Not to worry: Here are some common issues that moms face and what to do about them to get your confidence back.
Not getting the sleep you need can affect your mood and emotions and make you not think clearly, and even become short tempered. If this negative thinking becomes long term - it can lead to anxiety and depression. Controlling these negative thoughts is very important and should not be overlooked.
Find time to do things you enjoy
- Even if it’s a short 5 minute walk outside or picking up a good book
Talk with your partner
- Letting your spouse or significant other know how you’re feeling is key to getting your self-esteem back on track.
Talk with your doctor
- They can give you advice and let you know if you’re going through something more extreme like postpartum depression.
Seek advice from friends
- Friends who have gone through it before can give the best advice and will remind you that it is normal and only temporary!
Bringing a new life into the world can seem daunting and you may feel overwhelmed - like you don’t have enough time in the day to get everything done.
Ask for help
- Have friends help assist with running errands
- Have family watch the baby so you have some time to yourself
- Use a food delivery or meal prep service
Create a schedule that works for you
- Work around your baby’s feed and sleep times
- Nap when your baby naps
- Run errands with a friend or when your spouse is home
- Having extra hands to help is key
Comparisons to other moms
In the first few weeks of motherhood you can’t help but compare your experience or how your handling things with those around you. Seeing others boasting about how long their baby sleeps or how amazing motherhood is can be a confidence crusher if you are not feeling your best.
Take a break from social media
- Social media is not an accurate representation of parenthood! Most people only post things that are going right in their lives - so taking a break from others and focusing on yourself can make things a lot easier.
Read blogs or educational content
- A lot of the things you are going through are completely normal and actually very common. Educating yourself on postpartum depression, baby sleep schedules and what to expect will make you feel a lot better.
Get your sleepless baby - sleeping!
One giant step in getting your confidence and self-esteem back - is you and your baby getting the rest that you need! Our sleep expert weighs in on ways to get your sleepless baby sleeping like a champ by answering some of your most burning questions!
Maggie Moore is the Founder and Head Sleeper at Moore Sleep. She is a certified pediatric sleep consultant through the Family Sleep Institute, which means her sole focus and objective is getting your baby on a healthy sleep schedule.
Q: My baby won’t nap longer than 30 minutes. What is considered a good nap and how do we extend it?
A: For babies over 16-weeks adjusted age, we want to aim for at least a 45 minute nap. The exception is the last nap of the day on a four or three nap day as those are always short (think 30 to 45-minutes) and is a bridge to bedtime. The best way to extend their naps is to practice crib hour. Crib hour is a great way to help your child take longer naps. Here is how crib hour works - your child will have 60 minutes (if 4 to 8-months) or 90 minutes (if 9-months+) to fall asleep for their nap once placed in their crib. If they do not fall asleep, as mentioned above, we will get them up, do a quick change, feed, quiet play and aim to get them down again within 45 minutes to an hour. If they do fall asleep, let’s say in this example at 8am, but wake up at 8:45, we are going to leave them in the crib until 9am to complete the cirb hour. Using this helps teach short nappers how to connect sleep cycles. We will talk more later in the week about what to do during the crib hour if they are refusing the nap OR when they wake and still have time remaining for crib hour.
Q: My baby only sleeps in my arms, how do i start the transition to her sleeping alone?
A: Two ways to make sure this process is as easy as possible - 1. Pick a sleep training method you feel you can be 100% consistent with as consistency breeds results. 2. Make sure your little one is on an age appropriate schedule as this will significantly reduce the amount of crying. Four month olds should be getting four naps a day, 5 to 8/9-months should be on three naps a day, 8/9-month to 15/18-months two naps a day and 15/18-months+ one nap a day. Children often drop naps at three-years-old.
Sweeter Sleep Story
"My son doesn't like to be left alone. He doesn't like to be put down and walked away from. Since we've started using this Nested Bean, I put him in his bassinet, change his diaper, wrap him up and walk away to heat up a bottle. Expecting to hear him scream. He doesn't! I come back and he has fallen asleep. That never happens! I love this swaddle! He sleeps through the night and hes 2 months old!!"
- Brianna D, 4/4/2019
Q: How do I start the transition out of swaddling? She wakes every time she startles and her arms move.
A: Start at night at night as the drive to sleep at night is much higher than it is during the day. Expect there is going to be a regression but if you stay consistent with your method and schedule sleep will come together quickly!
Q: When do babies start sleeping through the night? I’m exhausted!
A: I tell families up to one night feed a night is common until 9-months.
Q: When my baby wakes up in the middle of the night and doesn’t want to be fed, how should I try to soothe her? Should I take her out of the crib?
A: The best thing you can do here is if your little one is over 16-weeks adjusted age is practice some form of sleep training method. It doesn’t have to be cry it out, there are other methods. Sleep training is about helping them learn to self-soothe and not about sleeping through the night. For the methods I recommend here, check out my sleep training guide here.
Q: My baby is up every 2 hours and wakes up crying. What are some ways to help her get in a good stretch?
A: This could be a signal your little one is unable to self-soothe so they are wanting you to help them recreate the environment they were in to fall asleep (rocking, feeding, walking, bouncing.) The best way to get longer stretches is to teach independent sleep (which I talk about here) and get them on a good schedule, which I talk about here.
Zen Sleepwear™: Helping your baby sleep better and