I remember all to well when our first child was born; when he (finally) went to sleep in the day time that was my cue to whizz around doing household chores, even foolishly washing the front door step so that visitors would think that I was coping well and a good mum!!
Months later I was at my lowest point, exhausted and depressed, unable to enjoy may son. I believe that there were various factors that impacted my physical and mental well-being, but one key detrimental influence was my refusal to rest when my baby did during the day.
Expectant parents often say to me “Oh, I can’t sleep in the daytime!’ Or, “It makes me feel worse when I have a sleep in the day!” However, what is important in the early days is to rest when your baby sleeps. This enables you to function more effectively for the rest of that day and to get more enjoyment along the way.
It is not about trying to get to sleep; it is about resting your body and switching off your mind. Nine times out of ten you will naturally fall asleep when you are not trying to do so!
Lie down – on the bed ideally, otherwise the sofa
Put your mobile on silent and don’t look at it!
Put a note on the front door to say ‘Mum and baby sleeping – please do not disturb’
Shut the curtains, make sure the room is quiet and that you are warm and comfortable
Follow the safe sleep guidelines for your baby and have him/her in the same room as you or use your baby monitor if you are resting in another room
Choose not to feel guilty about taking a REST! It allows you to…………….
R: re-charge, renew, recuperate from labour and birth
E: while your body rests you will regenerate the energy you need to look after your baby later that day, especially during the evening/night
S: choose to switch off your brain and your body. Allow it to become heavy and sink into the bed
T: time required is a minimum of 20-30 minutes. You may not feel refreshed immediately, but you will reap the benefit of your rest later that day