Everybody is familiar with the phrase Happy Mum, Happy Baby.
The truth is however, when you are worn out and sleep deprived the last thing you feel like doing is putting on a happy face and mustering up a smile.
Self-care is just as important for new parents
Therefore, when it comes to helping your baby sleep; the focus must be on looking after yourself and your own emotional state because unfortunately stress is contagious and the more distressed you are the more distressed your baby will become.
There are also hundreds of books listing in detail how to care for your baby giving intricate details on feeding and napping routines but the one vital ingredient they are often missing is how to prioritise your own wellbeing and what you can do to relieve the stress and exhaustion you feel in those weeks even first years after having a new baby.
In fact, I massively believe that a parent’s wellbeing is so crucial to whether their baby can sleep or not that when working with my clients the first thing I do is to ensure that they are in the best place they possibly can be.
So now to share with you 8 of my top tips for helping and supporting new parents along their journey
Each day take a moment to offer yourself some mindful self-compassion. During our hectic family lives, it is so easy to ignore our own feelings. If you find that you mind is conjuring up scenarios that make you anxious or angry – address yourself with some reassuring words. A little self-compassion goes a long way to calm an agitated mind “May I be kind to myself in the difficult and tiring situation” is a great example of self-talk that is short and soothing.
Conqueror your tiredness with morning light
Despite how tired you may feel research has shown that by exposing yourself to the morning light around the same time every day will make a big difference to your mood and wellbeing. It can be particularly beneficial if you or your baby has a sleep issue has morning light helps to reprogram the body’s circadian clock. If you can’t bear the thought of forgoing your lie-ins then start your day off by setting and alarm clock, getting up, opening the curtains and then getting back int o bed to snooze before gently waking your baby. After a couple of days of letting the morning light in around the same time every morning it will become easier for you to get up and start your day
There is nothing better than dancing to boost your mood plus it is free, it increases all those lovely feel good endorphins plus you can do it anytime of day wearing whatever you want.
Next time you find yourself in a situation that causes you to feel anxious and out of control ensure you have a bottle of bubbles in your bag. Blowing bubbles will help you to feel calm as well as the little people around you.
Ban all clocks at night
During a period of sleep deprivation try to stop thinking about how bad your sleep is and ban yourself from looking at all clocks during the night. Practising mindfulness and relaxation can really help to take the pressure off sleep. Rather than churning thoughts over in your mind imagine them on leaves floating past or moving in and out of your head like a breeze moving through the trees.
The 10-minute power nap
If you are tired but are not able to nap. Try lying down on the floor, knees bend hands out to the side and close your eyes. Then breathe slowly in through your nose and out through your mouth. The experts say if you do this for 10 minutes every day you are in fact reaping the same benefits as if you were to have an hour and half nap. So much so it is a technique used by world leaders and CEO’s all over the world
I know at times it is the last thing you feel like doing but when you feel rubbish try smiling. Each time you smile you throw a little feel good party in your brain. A smile allows the notorious party animals endorphins dopamine and serotonin to start whooping it up. Plus, as a bonus these endorphins sever as a natural pain relieve and act as the body’s own opiate.
Take a 24-hour tech break
Try and have a break from the technology at least one day a week. A tech mini break can help reduce stress, social anxiety and give you more time to get things done and improve relationships.
Early to bed
Once or twice a week go to bed at the same time as your children. Even if you cant sleep keep on telling yourself that rest is just as important as sleep
Define your day
It is really important to define what a good day looks like. If this is getting out to a coffee shop, then the simple trick of learning to be ok with doing less will really help you to readjust to your life as a new mum. Even now my kids are that bit older I still must remind myself that that it really is ok to only make one trip out a day and not to beat myself up if we don’t do more things.
Using self-talk to help prepare your mindset particularly when it comes to tricky bedtime and night time waking’s can be beneficial. Try saying out loud or writing down on a piece of a paper. “I am a calm, gentle loving parent” or I am confident, capable and in charge. Doing this will help get you into a success mindset and will help you feel calm and in control.
And finally, a lovely idea to help new parents survive the disordered stage of parenthood from Pinky Mckay Author of the bestselling book “Parenting by Heart”
She suggests that you take a piece of string tie knots along it to represent each decade of your life. When you realise what a small proportion of your life span is going to be involved with this intense stage of parenting you may find it easier to accept that although chaos reigns it is only for a short time in the overall scheme of things.
If you would like to book some time with me to discuss and sleep concerns you may have for your baby or toddler, please visit my consultations pages to find out more about what package might be best for your needs.