New born babies often sleep for hours. But, they do not sleep on schedule and mothers often do not get enough rest and are completely exhausted in caring for them.
Here are some tips for mothers of active babies to get adequate rest:
o Mothers do not have to be on "alert mode" all the time. When baby is asleep at different times of the day, take a short nap yourself when you are tired. Give yourself 30 to 40 minutes to nap. Set the alarm clock each time to wake you up before you fall into a deep sleep. Your energy level will definitely increase after a short nap.
o Train baby to feed at regular intervals for example every 3 to 4 hours after the previous feed. Wake him up to feed even if he is deeply asleep. This establishes a regular daytime feeding schedule for baby and gives you enough time to rest even if you catch up on some other work first. If you pick him up and feed him every time he awakes momentarily or for a short period, you will cause him to want to feed at short intervals and to take in small quantities each time.
o I used to give my baby his last feed at eleven pm each night without fail from the age of 3 months. From then on he slept through the night and had his next feed only at about 7am the next morning. I was able to have almost the same nightly sleeping hours as my baby after that.
o Mothers should exercise regularly. Start with gentle post natal exercises and move on to short walks, then longer ones and even swimming. These activities are good as mothers can take baby along with them.
o Ask your spouse to take charge of feeding baby at least one evening a week. Mother can then have an evening "off" and get a good night of sleep. Use ear plugs or sleep in another room if you are tempted to take over if baby cries. Be assured that your spouse is more than able to shoulder the responsibility and he will even enjoy bonding more closely with baby.
o Avoid stimulants and other food and medications that affect your ability to sleep from late afternoons if necessary. Examples are coffee, tea, alcohol, chocolates, and caffeinated beverages.
Be alert to anything that causes sleepless nights and unnecessary fatigue. Work towards getting sufficient rest and you will be able to care for baby the next day and the next and the next.
Enjoy parenting and motherhood.