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A Full Eight Hours of Sleep?

When was the last time you got a complete night of sleep? Probably not during the last weeks of pregnancy, and more than likely you haven’t gotten at least eight uninterrupted hours since your baby has been born. During the first few weeks, if not months of your new baby’s life, sleep may become a distant memory.

a-full-eight-hours-of-sleep.jpgWhen your baby is first born it is very likely that his days and nights will be mixed up. While in the womb the baby was rocked to sleep as you moved around, and was probably awake more at night while you were asleep. For the first few days or couple of weeks your baby might have trouble adjusting to your sleep/awake schedule.

If you are one of the lucky ones and your baby’s schedule isn’t totally messed up, he still probably won’t be sleeping all night. A baby’s stomach is very little and they can only eat enough generally to fill them up for a couple of hours at a time. It is likely that your baby will be up every 2-3 hours in order to eat. Many times your pediatrician will tell you to wake your baby up if he sleeps more than three hours. Just because it gets dark outside doesn’t mean that your baby doesn’t need to eat and you will still need to wake him up every 2-3 hours.

Because of your baby’s sleep schedule, you probably haven’t gotten much sleep yourself. It is easy to say, “Sleep when your baby sleeps”, but much harder to do it, especially if you have other kids, have work to do, or a house to take care of. Some women are lucky to get a nap in during the day while their baby sleeps, others don’t get to rest at all. When night time comes around you will find yourself cat napping around your newborns feeding schedule, not really getting adequate rest.

If at all possible, having the baby’s father help in the middle of the night is a great idea. Even if it is just having dad give the baby a bottle of expressed breast milk, or formula for one feeding so that you can sleep a 4-6 hour stretch, it may help how you feel and your mood greatly.

Issues like postpartum depression and exhaustion can come into play for you if you do not feel rested and you are not getting sleep. All these things can make you unhappy leading to sadness, frustration or anger. If you are stressed, it is likely your baby will feel it and be stressed as well. It is important to keep yourself feeling good so that everyone in the house will be relaxed and happy. After all, if mom isn’t happy, no one is happy.

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