Sleep is hard to come by when you bring home a new baby. Even if you are bottle feeding your baby will be awake every few hours for 6-8 weeks. There is no way around this, in fact if your baby is not waking to eat you will want to set an alarm until they have beefed up a little bit (consult your doctor of course).
Sleep is essential to life and without it you are literally impaired. Before I get into my personal top tips I will share what everyone shares: sleep when the baby sleeps. I hate that advice even though it is 100% accurate because I always feel like I have too much to do. It is a cliché for a reason though.
Not everything will get done and not everything has to get done. As hard as it is, you will have to let something go and once you do, you will feel SO much better and have more time to rest.
I have never been good at this. I am an all or nothing kind of person which leads to anxiety and frustration….and eventually a total melt down. Here are some things I prioritize with a newborn:
- If I can’t do all the dishes (I don’t have a dishwasher….gasp) I only wash the baby bottles and pumping equipment. I need those and I have more clean glasses in the cupboard.
- Same goes for laundry – I wash what we need. The time will come when laundry is caught up but now is not the time. You will likely be washing swaddle blankets and onesies so slip in some underwear and stretchy pants when you need some.
- I can’t please all three of kids at the same time no matter how hard I try. That means at some point someone will have to wait (or cry) while I finish another task. I prioritize the situation and go from there. I can’t be everywhere so I don’t expect it of myself.
- Here is how it effects sleep deprivation: If you haven’t slept more than 20 minutes consecutively for several days then you need to prioritize rest. Sit or lay down and pop your feet up. Netflix and chill. Have a nap. Do what ever you need to do to get that pep back in your step. Sleep is the highest priority above all else.
Self-care – Invest in yourself
Have you ever heard that you can’t pour from an empty cup? Well, it is true. In my house, I have a saying when things get the better of me: My bucket is empty. When I stop everyone and tell my them that my bucket is empty they know it is time to back off. That is also when I know it is time to invest in myself.
Self-care comes in hundreds of ways and is very different for everyone. For me, it will also depend on the level of my bucket. Some times all I need is a quick bath or 15 minutes to drink a tea alone in my bedroom. Some times it means I get a pedicure. It is important to identify what self-care means to you and practice it daily.
Self-care is my favorite thing to talk about so stay tuned if you want to learn more about taking care of yourself so you can take care of everyone else.
I am very guilty of not listening to my own advice but proper nutrition is very important to these first few weeks and will help get you through lack of sleep. A huge glass of cold water and high protein breakfast does wonders for a body starved of sleep from the night before. If you are breast feeding it is twice as important to fuel your body.
Personally, when I am stressed I stop eating (I am the opposite of an emotional eater I guess) so for the first few months of bringing home a new baby I have to constantly remind myself to eat. Knowing this, I prepared by making freezer meals, stocking up on nut bars and stashing healthy snacks everywhere. I even have a basket beside my rocking chair with water and nuts.
I always feel better after a hot dinner so we do our best to sit down as a family to have hot food and talk about how our days went. There is a strong connection between food and family so even when there is a tiny newborn fighting for my attention I make it a priority to eat with my family.
Yup, breathe. Seems pretty simple doesn’t it? Almost seems so simple it shouldn’t be on this list but you would be surprised how often you forget to truly breathe. Do it right now. Take a deep breath into your belly and let it out slowly. Just breathe, it gets better.