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New Moms and the Effects of Stress on Sleep

Congratulations! You may be pregnant or maybe you just had a baby (and lucky you if actually have time to read this)! There's no feeling more incredible than becoming a new Mom. So why don't you feel wonderful all the time?

Well, even the best events in life have stress attached to them.
Having a baby is exciting for everyone. You've been flooded with company practically from the moment of delivery. If you're a first-time mother, hospitals don't give you very much help or advice; they send you home with this new little creature with an array of demands that you have to try to interpret. And new babies don't sleep much. At least not long enough to allow you to get some much needed rest.

Add to that the hormonal changes in your own body, and you have a formula that's guaranteed to be stressful. Sometimes you think you'll never get a full night's sleep again. Until the baby settles into a routine, you probably won't!

To get through those first few weeks and months, here are a few tips to help you get at least a little more sleep.

First of all, don't fall into the supermom trap. When the baby goes down for a nap, take a small nap yourself. The laundry can wait, and so can the dishes. You don't need to have a perfect house. There will be time for all that; give yourself a break whenever you get the opportunity.

If you have a good friend or relative to help out, by all means take advantage of that for an afternoon. Grandma would probably jump at the chance to have the baby all to herself for a few hours!

When you put the baby to bed for the night, take some time to decompress and relax. This gives you a better chance of falling asleep. Take a bath scented with lavender; put on some soft music and baby yourself a little. Sometimes it's hard even without a new baby to fall asleep right away. There's a lot to get used to with this new addition to your family!

Breastfeeding and Sleep

Besides being the optimal source of nutrition for your baby in her first year, nursing has obvious psychological benefits for both mother and baby. At birth, infants see only 12 to 15 inches, the distance between a nursing baby and its mother's face.
Studies find that infants as young as 1 week prefer the smell of their own mother's milk.

Many psychologists believe the nursing baby enjoys a sense of security from the warmth and presence of the mother. This is especially true when there's skin-to-skin contact during feeding.
Parents of bottle-fed babies prop the bottle in the baby's mouth; this practice deprives the baby of human contact during feeding.
In contrast, a nursing mother must cuddle her infant closely many times during the day. Nursing becomes more than a way to feed a baby; it's a source of warmth and comfort.

This method of feeding and nurturing the baby makes it natural to fall asleep quickly. When you know how much he consumes in one feeding, try to gently nudge your baby awake if he falls asleep too soon. You can easily rouse him with a little tickle of the feet. Otherwise, he'll get hungry sooner and you'll be feeding your baby more often.

Breast-feeding is good for new mothers as well as for their babies. There are no bottles to sterilize, and no formula to buy, measure, and mix. It may be easier for a nursing mother to lose the pounds of pregnancy; nursing burns up extra calories.
Lactation also stimulates the uterus to contract back to its original size.

The nature of the nursing experience forces the new mother to get needed rest. She must sit down, put her feet up, and relax every few hours to nurse. Nursing at night is easy as well. No one has to stumble to the refrigerator for a bottle and warm it while the baby cries. If she's lying down, a mother can doze while she nurses.






All rights reserved 2011

Derek Barrington Essex UK

ędb Publishing