The first few weeks, and even months, of parenthood is a time filled with absolute love and joy. You will most likely spend hours upon hours just starting at your little creation. You will be mesmerised, and rightly so!
As wonderful as this time is, it’s also really common for parents to struggle with adapting to their new role as mum or dad. There will be a lot of hormones flying around and definitely some broken sleep which can affect the way new parents think, feel and act.
I wish there had been more information prior to having our children about what to really expect and how to move from surviving to thriving.
Take every chance to rest!
Newborns are typically sleepy creatures. I always say, you will either end up with a very snoozy newborn who will sleep through anything OR a very sleepless one who may struggle with sleeping longer than 25 minutes at a time.
One thing that is certain is, all new babies need a lot of sleep! Often a newborn will sleep 18 hours a day- which sounds fantastic, but new babies often sleep in short bursts. This means new parents will experience broken sleep and short windows of time to rest.
Unfortunately, as adults we do not achieve the same level of rest or benefits from sleep when it is only accessible in little bite sized naps.
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “sleep when the baby sleeps” and it’s a desirable thing to do, but it’s not always easy to quieten the mind enough to rest as soon as your baby does. To help prime yourself for maximum rest, we suggest turning your bedroom into a sleep haven. Before your baby arrives invest in good quality blockout blinds, this will help your body relax for those much needed day sleeps and earlier bedtimes. If you find yourself nesting before your little one arrives, focus on your own room too by decluttering and creating a calm space with soft linen, essential oils and keep your room purely for rest- remove chores like laundry folding or your makeshift home office.
You want to be able to zen out and shut off at every opportunity in the early weeks.
Swaddle to reduce the startle!
If you have spent time with newborns before, you may have noticed the startle reflex. This is called the moro reflex and can occur when your baby hears a loud noise or if he or she experiences the sensation of falling.
It is a natural, inbuilt reflex and your baby will grow out of this within a few months. You will notice this commonly occurs just as your baby is on the cusp of falling asleep, mid-sleep cycle or as you lower your baby into his or her cot/bassinet.
While it is a perfectly normal part of newborn life, it can disrupt sleep. To minimise sleep disruptions, we strongly suggest swaddling your baby. Swaddling means to wrap your baby. It is important to safely wrap your little one and in our Program 1, you will find video tutorials of two methods of wrapping babies. This can help maximise sleep,
It takes a village!
Many new mums struggle with accepting help from those around her. New mums have shared with me feelings of failure when they have reached out for help.
Asking for help when you need it is not a sign of failure – It is a sign of strength!
Putting your hand up (or sending the SOS text) is important. Accept help, ask for help, plan for help and embrace it. When our boys were born it really was all hands on deck for the first few weeks. The kindness and care from those around us really made a difference.
On the other hand, when you’ve had enough visitors it is okay to assert yourself and ask for some downtime. If you find it hard to assert yourself or ask visitors to move along, you may find it helpful to have a signal with your partner to let him or her know you would love to have a break from socialising and would appreciate their help in moving it along.
Before your little love arrives, it’s a great time to pack the freezer with plenty of meals and snacks. Think hearty meals like pastas and easy to grab snacks like bliss balls or banana bread. You are going to be busy feeding your baby and adjusting to this new world of parenting, the last thing you want to worry about is what to cook for dinner or skipping meals.
Your postpartum body needs plenty of calories and nutrients for recovery, milk supply and energy. Having lots of nutrient and calorie dense snacks on hand is a great idea.
Keeping hydrated is also super, super important, Keep an LJ drink bottle handy to ensure you have water handy at all times.
It takes time!
I know a lot of parents are eager to return to their normal pace or establish a routine with their new baby, and you absolutely should. But will but it will take time.
Do not put any pressure on yourself to achieve this super early on, as it just is not realistic. The only job a new mother needs to worry about is to have as much skin on skin time as possible and to settle into feeding. Whether it’s breast or bottle, it all takes time and practice.
The days may feel long at times but they do fly by. Minimise any unnecessary stress or obligations and do not feel guilty about focusing on yourself and the little miracle you have created. You will find a rhythm or routine that works for you in your own time. If you would love some gentle and age appropriate guidance for this please see Program One Maternity to 5 months.
What is one tip you would share with new parents?
Kylie developed fully comprehensive online courses to help mums, dads, carers and babies everywhere to sleep well, easily and consistently.
“Helping families sleep is my passion, I studied, volunteered, obtained my certification and began building my sleep consultancy business. I believe The Sleep Mama program is life changing, it is extensive and detailed. It is NOT an extreme sleep training program based on the cry it out approach. It is realistic, nurture based and focused on your baby’s needs just as much as your own. If you’re tired, odds are your baby is too.
Don’t waste another day feeling helpless or anxious. Don’t let sleep deprivation define you as a mother – take the time to give your baby one of the best gifts you can, the skill of good sleep.”
The Sleep Mama is also offering an amazing 50% off her programs to Lorna Jane customers!