New moms have a way of stumbling around and looking lost with their bleary, sleep-deprived eyes. It's normal. Unfortunately, it's not exactly healthy, since poor quality sleep can contribute to new mom maladies like depression, mood swings and fatigue.
A good night's sleep is easier said than done, though, when a mother's rest is contingent on the restfulness of her baby. These everyday moms shared their top tips for a good night's rest, courtesy of a baby who falls and stays asleep.
Mom Annah R. said that her touch was all her baby needed to fall asleep quickly. "I would read a story, then I would gently rub her head or pat her tummy as she nodded off," she explained.
Several moms explained that they talked and read to their babies to help them fall asleep, even if their children were too young to understand their words. "Snuggle up and read several books together," said mom of four Patty K. A mother's voice in a soothing tone is often all that is needed.
"Put your baby in a swing!" said mom Whitney C. "My second kid slept so much better in a swing than she did in her crib or bassinet — I think it was the combination of the movement and the elevation." She suggested, though, that you check the batteries every night to avoid a 2 a.m. battery change.
Katherine K. said that her top tip is to nurse the baby to sleep. "It's comforting," she said. "He would often fall asleep on my chest so I could nap for a bit."
"In addition to routine, you have to have some sort of noise," said mom of two Angela M. "A fan or music. We use an air purifier, just to drown everything out!"
Victoria Z. isn't yet a mother, but moms all over the United States hire her to help with sleep training as a night nanny. "My top suggestion is to pat the baby's tummy while using a gentle ssshhhhhhhhhh sound," she said. (Victoria did this with my own child, and it worked like a charm.)
Many moms ascribe to a warm bath for a baby's soothing end to the day. "Draw a bath and add a few drops of lavender essential oil," said mom Stacy H. She used the trick for both of her kids every night to make it through the first few months.
"Routine, routine, routine!" said mom Maureen W. "No matter what it is, keep it." Her routine with her youngest is to walk through the nursery, shut the blinds, turn on the white noise machine, turn off the lights and leave the room while using a gentle goodnight voice.
Once a newborn is past the tiny infant stage, many moms say that it's important to just leave the room so the baby can cry and mom can sleep. "Baby boy can talk or even sit up to 'read' a book if he wants, but I leave," said mom Maura B.
Finally, my wild-from-birth daughter could not seem to slow her heart and mind if we stayed in the house. My trick? Load the baby up in the car seat and drive. Once she was asleep, I would return home and bring in the car seat with my sleeping baby so I could crash on the couch.
This post is brought to you by The Cleveland Clinic. For more sleep tips to help you Dream Big, go to dreambigmattress.com.
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