It is simply amazing how easy it is to lose track of the hours in the day once a baby is brought home from the hospital.
In the first few weeks, it is virtually impossible to stick to any kind of schedule, no matter how hard you try. I remember when we brought our first born home. My husband and I were being very delicate and precise with every little move, when tending to him. I wondered how a little infant could command so much attention without doing a thing. Yes, we were doters, but I was exhausted at the end of each day. We wanted to make sure everything was just perfect especially in this critical bonding period. Later, we found out that most of that behavior was not at all necessary. Like our baby, we too needed sleep. We soon realized that if we are doing this to ourselves when he just sleeps and eats, what would we do once he starts to crawl and then walk?
The bottom line is, once a baby gets home, sleep as you know it will be no more. The best thing to do is to try to sleep whenever you can during the day knowing your sleep at nights will be interrupted… often. It is possible that your little bundle of joy will not be on a schedule for a few weeks, hopefully not months. Fortunately, this is just a temporary adjustment for both you and baby. Sleep will come again, I promise.
In the first few weeks, it is best to focus not only the health of your baby but on your health also.
A baby sleeps a lot because that is how he recovers from that incredible journey down the birth canal and into the world. As you know, this can take many hours. He also needs sleep to grow and flourish. You need sleep to recover from childbirth and the many changes that are taking place in your body. If a friend or relative offers to come and help in any way, be it fixing a meal, doing laundry or just being there so you can take a nap, take it. It also helps to have someone to visit with. It is essential that at this phase in bonding with your baby, you get as much sleep as you can.
Unfortunately, I did not get the rest I needed, and and it affected my baby. Lack of sleep slowed my milk production and he was not getting enough to eat so naturally he became fussy because he was hungry. I remember the day when I reluctantly agreed to let the pediatrician give my baby some formula. The doctor said he didn’t think my baby was getting enough milk and he wanted to try something. I was surprised to see my baby scarf that bottle down that bottle of formula. Then he brought it right back up. Of course, his stomach was now empty, so that clearly was not the answer. I had nursed him about a half hour before the doctor tried the formula so I felt better that at least, he was getting some breast milk but it wasn’t until I started getting more rest that my milk production increased.
At about three months, your baby should start sleeping through the night but each baby is different. At this stage in her development, your baby is constantly learning and observing. She could associate sleeping with being separated from you. This is called separation anxiety and is a normal part the development of babies with this condition. She doesn’t yet realize that the separation is temporary. Sing to your baby, be nurturing and reassuring.
Whenever possible, take baby for a walk, even for just a few minutes every day. You will be getting a bit of exercise and both of you will probably enjoy the scenery and change of pace. A walk can also be very relaxing which can help with sleep routines at night.
If you are having problems getting to sleep, especially at night, try creating a routine where you can have some me time. This could be something as simple as taking a nice relaxing shower, maybe a foot soak and massage. A cup of herbal tea can help you relax so you can fall asleep.