The best gift for mom on Mother's Day is...SLEEP!
Getting a good night's sleep is not always easy when you have young children. But, sleep is critical for good physical and mental health. Most babies older than 8 weeks can begin to give parents longer sleep stretches. Expect at least a 6 hour sleep stretch, if your baby is over 12 pounds. If you are struggling with this goal, please seek professional help. Getting the structure, routine and sleep cues in place can be challenging for a few days, but with support, you can get the rest you need. Go to bed when your baby goes to bed for the night...even if it is at 7pm. Giving yourself the gift of sleep is critical to being a healthy, and safe mother, as well as preventing postpartum depression. If you are a breastfeeding mom, make sure your baby has a "feast" before you retire. Offer extra pumped milk in a bottle to ensure this abundant meal. And, make sure you pump your breastmilk before you go to bed if it is a few hours later than your infant. If your baby wakes during this first 6 hour stretch, encourage baby to return to sleep. Saying "shhhhhh" and patting baby, rocking, even holding baby back to sleep can help re-train baby to skip a feeding during this first long stretch of night. Don't assume because baby wakes, he needs to feed. Offer a pacifier if you use one. Most babies over 8 weeks of age can return to sleep if you give them 10-15 minutes and allow them to re-settle. This is the first step in letting go, and letting baby learn to sleep so you can too! Sleep stretches will grow longer as baby gets larger and can eat more at a time. Hang in there and, SLEEP WELL!