I remember looking at my newborn son with a sense of wonder and elation. I was on a high. Exhaustion, for me at least, didn’t kick in until later. Then it hit hard. He was up every 3 hours at night and only had 20 min naps during the day – what?! Eventually I got his daytime naps in order and the nights followed suit.
A year and a half later my daughter was born and I was overwhelmed with that same sense of beautiful emotion. She took lovely naps; however, until 18 months of age she kept me up 4 times a night and had a wake up time of 4am with the roosters.
All mamas go through some sort of similar experience with the most incredible emotion yet serious fatigue. Below I’m offering you 6 ways to help ease the exhaustion that comes with being a new parent.
1) Adjust Your Expectations
In this beautiful yet challenging new phase everything will be different. Your house won’t be as clean, dinner may not be homecooked, you may or may not shower and your deep, meaningful conversations with friends probably won’t be happening. This is your new normal for the next little while and it’s okay!
I know how ridiculous this sounds with your list of things-to-do piling up, but it will help keep you sane. Make napping a priority! When the little one naps, close the blackout curtains or put on an eye mask and climb under the covers. Try to squeeze at least squeeze 20min of sleep in to feel rejuvinated. Your mind and body will thank you.
3) Limit the Electronics Before Bedtime
I remember my girlfriends saying when their babies/toddlers were finally in bed for the night that they could choose to look at social media (which was their social life now) or sleep. Most chose social media and said they were exhausted the next day and that effect just snowballs. If you decide to check out Insta or FB late in the evening keep in mind that the mental activity and light exposure promote wakefulness. Perhaps limit your screen time by using a timer then hit the hay.
4) Ask For Help and Accept It
YES! This is probably the most difficult but necessary way to ease the exhaustion. I know I found it incredibly tough to ask for and even accept help, but mama, please do it for yourself! Ask your partner, a grandparent or other family member, a friend or a neighbour to help you for an hour so you can have some alone time. Maybe read a book, get your hair done, enjoy a lovely long bath. Be selective about what you do with your time as you have less than you use to. Think about what will recharge you.
5) Go Out
If there is any chance for you to get out of the house then do it! Don’t worry about wearing yoga pants (again), having unkempt hair or sporting a little spit up on your shirt. We moms understand. You and your little can take a brisk walk, visit a drop in centre or hang out in your backyard. The fresh air will invigorate you and the social connection is oh so satisfying. Bonus points if you can go out on your own while your partner spends time with your child!
6) Remember This is a Phase
Every stage is a passing phase. The sleepless nights and exhaustion will cease to exist, along with the soft coos, chubby little hands caressing your chest and the sweet baby scent. Go with the flow and take it one day at a time while keeping in mind that this too shall pass. It will serve to remind you to enjoy the blissful moments throughout this time.
And remember ~ Just Breathe Mama
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