Benefits of A Good Night's Sleep For Baby and Mom
Becoming a mother is one of the most special things a woman can experience. Motherhood brings with it a whole new period of transition and can take some time to adjust to.
Nobody can prepare us for the frequent moments of panic, the doubts we experience in our abilities to mother, or the emotions accompanied by frequent misconceptions of expectations around what our baby should or should not be doing. This, accompanied by hormones and lack of sleep, can leave us feeling overwhelmed!
What can be quite challenging with a new baby, is the lack of routine, or perhaps the fact that the routine is out of our control and we are very much on baby’s clock! As much as we might try to control the routine, sometimes baby just needs to be fed, changed or napped, and there’s not much we can do about it!
As a new baby’s sleep can be very, very irregular and intermittent, the knock on effect of this is that soon we will be left feeling overwhelmed, overtired and overworked! Survival mode kicks in, and next thing we know, we’re unhappy, exhausted and feeling out of our depth.
To help you cope with your baby’s demands and enjoy the beginning of the journey of parenthood, we asked eumom Sleep Expert, Fiona O’Farrell
, Paediatric Occupational Therapist Specialising in Baby Sleep and Development, how to make the most out of your sleep, and the benefits of catching those Zs, wherever possible.
Fiona says, “It is vital to be realistic about what to expect from your baby in terms of sleep. If you expect your baby to sleep through the night and they don’t, you will end up with feelings of dread as each night approaches.”
“During the early weeks, your baby may have day and night mixed up. The key during this period is to try and sleep when your baby sleeps even if this is during the day.”
“Being aware of how long your baby should be awake for before needing a nap (approx 1 hour) will help prevent your baby becoming irritable, and ensure they are more content and settled. This in turn will make caring for your baby more enjoyable.”
“Regular naps will also help your baby be more alert during their awake times, which will encourage their developing brain.”
“When your baby is more settled and content you will find the overall atmosphere in your home less chaotic and you will find your ability to cope with everyday chores and demands more tolerable.”
“From four months, your baby’s day should follow a predictable pattern based on your baby’s cues for sleep. From this age onward, it is important to establish a consistent bedtime routine as your baby is now developing sleep expectations. For instance, if your baby falls asleep in your arms, when they wake up, they will expect to be in your arms.”
“A consistent bedtime routine, such as feed, bath, massage and story, will help unwind your baby in the evening, set the stage for sleep and will be your baby’s cue your baby’s brain to begin shifting from awake to drowsiness before settling into sleep.”
“Ensuring your baby does not get over tired during the day and maintaining a consistent bedtime routine in the evening will help make your quality special time together more enjoyable and fun. You will feel more in control of your busy day and you will find your baby will sleep much better during the night, which means more sleep for mom. Everyone’s a winner!”
Help your little one get to sleep with our Baby Bedtime Lullaby Playlist on Spotify:
For more great expert advice, visit Fiona’s website fionaofarrell.ie
Suitable for babies from 6 months.