Sleepless nights are inevitable when you have a newborn baby, whether it's due to being up multiple times a night for feedings or nappy changes. As the saying goes, "the days are long, but the nights are longer." All of this might make you feel drained, and there's a reason the CIA uses sleep deprivation as a kind of torture!
Consider your sleeping environment.
A pleasant sleep environment for your baby can go a long way, regardless of where you choose to settle them. Setting them up in their bed so they feel comfortable and warm can help them calm down faster for a better night's sleep, even if it's only for a couple of hours. Babies, especially in their early days, have no concept of day and night. They've spent the last nine months being rocked to sleep by you walking and moving all day, then waking up at night (thus the restless nights when pregnant!). Make sure the room has enough blackout blinds, especially during the summer months, to guarantee a dark sleeping environment.
I'm all for a simple existence, which for me means co-sleeping, which has been increasingly trendy in recent years. People understand how to do this securely thanks to all of the expert advice, which gives parents more confidence. It's easier to respond to them quickly and get back to sleep when they're close by. I also discovered that the warmth and smell of being so close to me helped them fall asleep faster. I tethered the next-2-me to the bed so I could wriggle them back into their own spaces once they fell asleep.
If you have a partner with whom you want to share this experience, enlist their assistance, establish a plan, and see where you can share the load! It's pointless to be both exhausted and burned out; no scenario is ever the same, so figure out what you can accomplish. Dad was not much help through the night feeds for most parents because mom was nursing, so he would take the baby (we did this with ours) after the first-morning feed and enjoy Daddy time while I went back to sleep until they required another feed mid-morning.
If you're doing this by yourself, first and foremost, you're incredible! , but do you have any friends or family who could come over for 2 hours and watch the baby while you sleep?
Routine of sleep
Introduce a sleep schedule when you believe the time is suitable, such as putting your baby down at a specific time each night. Consider your routine: even if you don't set an alarm, you will get up at the same time every day because it is a habit for your body. You can adjust this, and things won't always go as planned. Just remember that you can't cuddle your baby too much; you're not spoiling them, and you're not creating a rod for your own back.
I've never met a 3-year-old who still needs to be rocked to sleep or an adolescent who sleeps with their sibling. This is such a brief window of opportunity, and while it is really difficult, it is only temporary, so make sure you are prepared before beginning a sleep pattern.
You should try to get some sleep once you've put your baby down. You never know when your baby will wake up and cause a commotion, so getting in as many hours as you can is a good idea. I'm not proposing you sleep when the baby sleeps since I know you won't clean when the baby cleans or cook when the baby cooks, but during those nighttime naps, try to get as much rest as possible.
When you have such few slivers of time, being focused will help you more than you realize.
Exercise after childbirth
When you're exhausted, the last thing you want to do is exercise, but getting back into your routine and easing back into it might help you relax. It doesn't have to be crazy, strenuous activities; instead, it may be something as simple as a gentle yoga session or a beautiful walk that focuses on steady breathing. Make sure you enjoy yourself while doing it; your body has altered, and your clothes are designed to fit you, not the other way around.
Maintain a healthy diet.
Sugar, caffeine, and chocolate are the three new mom food groups that are easiest to rely on. Keeping yourself nourished and hydrated not only gives you the energy you need to get through the day, but also promotes a restful night's sleep. Try not to miss meals because you don't have time; you're working so hard to adjust to this new world that your mind and body require vitamins and minerals to keep functioning.
This is a difficult period in your life.
Keep your stress under control, even if it's difficult. Trying to cope with stress and a new baby may seem insurmountable, but talk to your partner or a friend about your thoughts and stay mentally on top of things. Journaling or keeping a food diary might also be beneficial.
The baby blues are normal, but this hormone surge-induced process ends, but your emotions and feelings may not. Take a look at the perinatal mental health issues you might be experiencing, and know that if you're having trouble, there's plenty of help available.
So there are some tips and tricks to help you get more sleep, but remember that this is a normal phase that will pass, and while it will be the most difficult thing to work through in the beginning, you can do it, and one day this will be a distant memory that you will laugh about and tell your partner "remember when we hadn't slept in three days and..."