New parents almost always suffer from sleep deprivation. It’s a big part of what makes parenthood so hard. You’re going through new challenges with less sleep than you’ve likely ever experienced. But sleep deprivation can be dangerous if you don’t find a way to balance the new duties with adequate rest. Sleep deprivation can cause hallucinations due to the brain’s decreased ability to process and interpret sensory information correctly. When the brain is fatigued from lack of sleep, it may misinterpret or create false memories and perceptions, leading to hallucinations. Additionally, sleep deprivation can also increase activity in the brain’s dopamine system, which is involved in the regulation of perception and can contribute to the development of hallucinations. Even if you have to get a friend or family member to come over and help you – find a way to GET SLEEP.
You Will Learn “I Sleep Like A Baby” Is Not A Peaceful Sleep
Babies move a lot when they sleep for several reasons. One reason is that babies are still developing their nervous system and motor skills, and movement helps them to practice and improve these abilities. Additionally, babies are not yet able to control their movements as well as adults, so they may move around in their sleep without being aware of it. Another reason is that during the REM (Rapid Eye Movement) stage of sleep, where most of the dreaming occurs, muscle tone is temporarily suppressed. This allows the body to move and act out the dream, but since babies haven’t fully developed that ability yet, they may move excessively. Lastly, babies have a more active sleep cycle than adults. They spend more time in REM sleep, which is when the body is more active, and less time in deep sleep, which is when the body is more still. It is also possible that they are trying to find a comfortable position or are reacting to something in the environment such as noise or a change in temperature.
Kick The Idea That Your Baby “Should” Be Doing Something Out Of Your Brain
Whether it is sleep, developmental milestones, or eating – there are so many ways parents compare their baby to others. However, this is not helpful for you and will end up adding more stress to your life. You will often hear first time parents rely on baby books or websites with developmental milestones. And it makes sense, right? If this is your first time raising a child, you would want a laid out road map. However, what the books and sites don’t tell you is that the information given is taken from a group and the findings could be a majority. However, is that majority 60%? It could mean that 40% of families are not experiencing milestones or behaviors that the “majority” are. And that’s a big outlier. For example, you have 10 families. Six of the families report that their child is sleeping well in their crib at three months old. So experts will say, “based on these studies, your child will probably be sleeping on their own by three months old.” But what happened to the four other families? They’re probably still having many sleep-related struggles.
“Fed Is Best” Is The Only Feeding Guideline You Should Live By
If you’re a parent (particularly a mother) then you know the biggest debate is breast vs. bottle fed. Even people with good intentions end up trying to sway you to one side or the other. Many times, first time mothers will cry themselves to sleep thinking about their low milk supplies. Or many will tell themselves they’re bad mothers because they had to use a bottle instead of a breast. Take a deep breath and remember this phrase: Fed is best. At the end of the day, formula and breast milk will give your child the nutrients they need to grow and be happy. A full tummy is a full tummy. You can get stuck on the details on natural vs. artificial, what benefits breast milk has, etc. There are numerous pros and cons to both. The only thing you need to worry about is whether or not your child is getting enough milk from whatever source you and your pediatrician have decided on.
You Don’t Have To Choose Between Bottle & Breast – Both Is Possible
So now that we have established that a fed baby is all we need… let’s dispel another rumor. You don’t have to be exclusively bottle or breast. When you look up information about having a combination method of feeding, many people will point to nipple confusion as being the biggest deterrent for this. However, this is a highly debated topic. The theory behind nipple confusion is that the different mechanics of sucking on a breast vs. an artificial nipple may make it difficult for an infant to resume breastfeeding after exposure to a bottle or pacifier. From a plausibility standpoint, nipple confusion does not make a whole lot of sense. This study from Potomac Pediatrics does a great job of digging into the information. And it seems as though there is not a lot of conclusive evidence that artificial nipple use interferes. Intention and consistency is probably the most important factor when making bottle and breast work.
Infant Sleep Is Not Linear Improvement – It Will Fluctuate
Many people look to a child’s three month mark to get some relief from sleep deprivation. And while this could be the case for some, don’t be disheartened if this is not your experience. It’s easy to get caught up in the “should’s” of parenting. As discussed before, no two infants are the same. And this is particularly the case with sleep. Many parents are led to believe that once your child hits three months, sleep will continue to improve. However, infant sleep can change from one week to the next. It is not linear. Frequent wakings, needing to be soothed, and moving a lot during the night is biologically normal for babies. But if you feel as though there is something wrong, always consult your pediatrician.
You Are Not Weak If You Can’t Stomach Crying It Out (And You’re Not Evil If You Do It)
It seems as though everything is a controversial topic when it comes to child rearing. It’s almost as if we should be making decisions based on the health and happiness of our own families instead of trying to fit into a box. Crazy thought, huh? There are so many studies that really try to dive into sleep training via the “Cry It Out” method. It is exactly what it sounds like, but can vary on a spectrum. Some studies show that the cry it out method could have long-term psychological consequences on a child. So many tend to steer away from these tactics in favor of an attachment parenting approach. However, the reality of using cry it out is not born out of selfishness. Particularly in American culture, families do not have the luxury of time on their side. In order to survive the expectations of providing for a family, these sleep structures are a necessity. When you’re expected to be at work and you don’t have the time or capacity to be hands on every night, cry it out can be a life saver.
Bed Sharing Is A Risk Many Families Take Out Of Necessity
In this instance, we are calling bed sharing a “risk” because, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the safest sleep practices are, in summary: placing a child in crib to sleep on their back; no pillows, blankets or loose items in sleep space; no other people in sleep space; breastfed if possible; and no smoking. And to clarify, we are not recommending that you disregard this highly researched advice. However, it would be doing a disservice to “co-sleeping” parents to ignore the reality they face. When I found out I was pregnant, I had a plan. A plan to follow all of the safest guidelines by the AAP. So I was distraught to find myself four months into parenthood with no sleep and no support for me or my partner. I began to discover that despite all of the tricks in the book, my child would not sleep in her crib or bassinet. After tears and research and speaking to the pediatrician, I realized I would have to take the risk of bed sharing to help survive parenthood. If you are going to take this route, make sure you follow the Safe Sleep Seven to try and mitigate some of the risks.
Say Hello to “Matrescence”: A Stressful Psychological Second Puberty
Matrescence is a term used to describe the physical and emotional changes that occur in a woman’s body and mind during pregnancy and the postpartum period. It is similar to adolescence, but refers specifically to the transition into motherhood. The term was first coined by anthropologist Dana Raphael in the 1970s, but has recently gained more attention in popular media and the field of maternal health. The term encompasses the emotional, physical, and spiritual changes that women experience as they become mothers, and the cultural and societal expectations placed on new mothers. If you have the ability to see a therapist with experience in postpartum support, it is highly encouraged. This struggle with matrescence can lead to Postpartum Depression (PPD) without proper support. Be gentle with yourself and allow yourself to honor this transition in your life without self-judgment.
New mothers have it tough – there is no denying that. Between the grueling work of growing the baby, birthing the baby, and then stepping into motherhood, it feels endless. So it’s no wonder that new mothers require tender love and support during this trying time. But when a partner or father is working hard alongside the new mother, it can be extremely taxing on them as well. It’s unfortunate that our culture does not encourage men to be vulnerable during times of emotional need. However, family health and wellbeing would greatly benefit from giving paid family leave and emotional support to every new parent; not just mothers. If you are a new father, make sure you are getting the emotional support you need from friends, family, and a therapist. If the partner is able to feel supported, they can then better support others in need (namely mom and baby).
Parenting Is Probably Not Going to Be 50/50 All Of The Time
In an ideal world, our partners will do an equal share of the work. It’s a simple concept. But when you add in mental health, work, and other social commitments, we find that many people don’t have the same capacity as we do in that moment. And that’s okay. Parenting isn’t always 50/50. Don’t misunderstand this; I’m not saying that your partner not giving support should be tolerated all of the time. But it is good to think with compassion. Are they having a hard time at work? Are they going through a tough transition in any areas of their life? When you take a step back from the daily tasks and look at your partner like a human being, it’s easier to not get worked up over the dishes not being put up. If you feel as though you’re overburdened with an unfair share of chores or tasks, sit down with your partner and talk about it. Sometimes, you can solve the issue without snapping at one another. After all, all of us are just tiny humans on a big planet that need compassion and security from the ones we love.
If You Have a Newborn Girl, There May Be Blood In Her Diaper
You do everything possible to ensure the health and safety of your child. But one day, you find that your new baby girl has blood in her diaper. Don’t panic. Blood in a newborn girl’s diaper can be a cause for concern for new parents, but it is important to know that it is normal and not always a problem. A common cause is “maternal hormone withdrawal bleeding,” which happens when the baby is exposed to high levels of estrogen and progesterone from the mother during pregnancy and then experiences a drop in these hormones after birth, resulting in light bleeding or spotting that usually stops on its own within a few days. Another possible cause is vaginal or cervical trauma during delivery. However, it’s important to note that in rare cases, it could be a sign of an infection such as urinary tract infection or a vaginal infection. If parents have any concerns or if the bleeding persists or becomes heavy, it’s best to consult with a pediatrician or obstetrician for proper diagnosis and treatment.
You Don’t Have To Be Productive During Your Child’s Nap
In the first year of your child’s life, nap times will feel sacred. Whether you contact nap and crave the dark and quiet, or you lay your little one down and sneak out, nap time is your own personal time. However, it can feel pressing to do the things you need to after being preoccupied by your child’s needs all day. While it might not always be possible to kick back and relax during nap time, it’s important to try to do this as often as possible. It changes a lot. Reading a book, watching a show, or taking a cat nap yourself can be an important way for you to take care of yourself. And while laundry or work may seem pressing, it’s important to value yourself as an individual. Take the hour or two. You’ve earned it.
You Might Not Be Able To Sleep When Your Newborn Sleeps
“Sleep when they sleep.” It’s a mantra that every new parent is told. But there are many reasons you might not be able to follow this well meaning advice. Postpartum Anxiety (PPA) can be really intense in the first chapter of your child’s life. PPA could be so severe that the fear of something happening to your newborn could keep you up. Particularly for first time mothers, anxiety can be high in the first weeks and months with a newborn. Fear for the baby’s safety, worries and challenges surrounding feeding, re-identifying personally in the “new mom” role – all of these adjustments can lead to increased cortisol secretion and resulting feelings of anxiety postpartum. Anxiety and sleep are never good bedfellows.
If You’re Scared Of Becoming A Parent, Don’t Worry – Instincts Really Do Take Over
Becoming a new parent can be a challenging and overwhelming experience, but instincts can play a powerful role in helping parents navigate this new journey. As new parents, the instinct to care for and protect their newborn baby is a natural and powerful force that can guide them in providing the best care possible for their little one. This can include the tender act of holding and rocking the baby to soothe them, responding to their cries with love and patience, and making sure they are fed and have a clean diaper. The instinct to bond with the baby is also a beautiful and powerful thing, as it helps new parents to form a deep emotional connection with their child. This can include the joy of gazing into the baby’s eyes, responding to their cues and gestures with understanding and love, and holding and cuddling them close to their hearts.
Your Baby May Poop Four Times A Day Or Once A Week
Frequency of bowel movements can vary greatly among babies, some babies may have several bowel movements a day, while others may only have one or two per week. This is considered normal and should not be a cause for concern as long as the baby is gaining weight and appears healthy. Newborns have their first bowel movement (meconium) which is a dark, sticky, and tarry substance that has been in their intestines since before birth. As the baby grows, the frequency of bowel movements will likely decrease. Breastfed babies tend to have more frequent, softer and less odorous bowel movements than formula-fed babies. Remember, every baby is different and as long as your little one is happy, healthy and growing well, there’s no need to worry about the frequency of their bowel movements. However, if you have any concerns or if your baby seems to be in pain when passing stools, consult with a pediatrician.
Babies Have A Cry-Fest Almost Every Evening, Known As “The Witching Hour”
You have changed the diaper. The baby is fed. They’re warm and snuggly. Everything seems to be going right. But then 6pm hits and your little one starts to scream. For a new parent, evenings can become a point of stress thanks to this maddening routine. Absolutely nothing you are doing is soothing the purple-faced crying. Welcome to “The Witching Hour.” The witching hour is a time when an otherwise content baby is extremely fussy. It typically occurs daily between 5:00 pm and 11:00 pm. It can last a few minutes to a couple of hours. For most babies, the witching hour starts to occur around 2-3 weeks and peaks at 6 weeks. There are many theories as to why babies have this witching hour, including overstimulation, tiredness, an inability to self-soothe, hunger, and colic. Holding and rocking your baby, playing white noise, and using a pacifier can help soothe your fussy baby. But sometimes, you might just have to do your best and know that this is temporary.