New Parents and Sleep Deprivation

 

Before a mother gives birth, she’s likely to hear the advice “sleep while the baby is sleeping.” Maybe more than once. Sleep deprivation is one of the greatest challenges for new parents. A newborn is on their own schedule for sleeping and eating, and it’s a 24-hour cycle. New parents will find themselves exhausted from getting up with their little bundle every two to three hours throughout the night. A foggy, scattered feeling sets in and memory lapses become a daily nuisance. Did I turn off the coffee pot? Many don’t take the advice to sleep when you can. It’s tempting to try to catch up on housework, answer an email or text or fit in the newest episode of their favorite show. Plus, when exhaustion sets in, it’s hard to believe an hour of sleep will make a noticeable difference.

Myth: An hour nap won’t make a difference.

In reality, frequent naps throughout the day really do add up, just like they do for infants. If parents can adjust their schedule to grab some ZZZs while the baby is getting their required amount of sleep, it can improve the quality of life for everyone in the house.

If you’re struggling with nodding off on demand, try setting the mood for sleep. Darkening shades can help create a dark space for a mid-day snooze. Turn off the TV and face bright devices away from you. And that sound machine in your baby’s room? It may also provide some much-needed distraction from the noises of the day.

This sleep schedule can present new challenges when it’s time to return to work. Most offices don’t feature napping pods. Work with your pediatric provider on sleep training your infant, so you and your little bundle are getting the most rest possible during the night by the time maternity leave comes to an end.

Adjusting to a new baby can be difficult. If you are worried about your newborn's routine, your pediatric provider can help. 

It's easy to schedule an appointment with your pediatric provider – simply visit our online appointment tool, scroll to find your pediatric provider, and click to schedule an appointment at a time that works for your family!

 

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isa Hammer, MD, IBCLC, is a board-certified pediatrician and lactation consultant. Dr. Hammer combines her years of experience in pediatrics, lactation and postpartum support to provide comprehensive breastfeeding consultations, addressing the needs of both mothers and babies. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and a member of Postpartum Support International and the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine.