By Dr. Angela Potter
I remember the first night we were home with our baby boy. My husband fell asleep first. I wrapped our little one in a swaddle, laid him down in the pack 'n play next to our bed and laid down myself. The last few days had been exhausting with the birth and I was looking forward to some sleep.
But our little one kept tossing and turning.
Wasn’t he comfortable?
Why won’t he just go to sleep?
I had no idea what to do, so I picked him up and held him all night long (yes, all night long!).
We can all agree that there were some other options that night, like wake up my husband! But as an exhausted new mother, holding my baby through the night seemed like the most logical thing to do at the time.
Our little one now sleeps through the night but those first few weeks (actually months!) were really hard for us to figure out how to get our baby to sleep well. And of course when the baby doesn’t sleep well, the parents don’t sleep well either.
Sleep is one of the most important things in our recovery as mothers. Physiologically, it helps with hormone balance but more importantly it helps with our energy and sanity.
While I was pregnant I didn’t read any parenting books, I figured that once the baby was here, I would read them as needed.
The one thing I wish I had read about was how to help a baby sleep!
If you are struggling like we did with getting the baby to sleep, here are two things to try:
1. Hire a postpartum doula
Before I had my baby I didn’t understand why people would hire a night nanny. Now I see it as a pivotal resource for so many families. The doula/nanny can help feed the baby to give you extra hours of sleep and help get a rhythm going for your family.
2. Talk to a sleep coach
The earlier you meet with someone, the sooner you can start getting longer stretches of sleep. It may be a bit of an investment up front, but the benefit of getting more sleep will be priceless to you and your family.
What are your favorite resources that you found to help you and your baby sleep better? Let me know in the comments!