So glad to “see” you here again! Today, I’m taking a bit of a departure from my usual posts. I love to give new moms data and tips on infant sleep. Research has always been one of my favorite things, and helping other moms is another one. Which brings me to today’s article: why it’s normal to reach out to others. Here is why you need help with Baby’s sleep. Grab a cup of coffee and let’s talk about it.
Why You May Need Help With Baby’s Sleep
When I first had my beautiful daughter, I was sure I had things all locked up. I had read every book, taken courses in child development, and was an RN. I must know what I was doing when it came to mothering. So I shouldn’t have needed anyone’s help. Right?
Well, yes and no. Knowledge is one thing. (And it’s an important one, don’t get me wrong.) But actually being a new mom is another.
Welcoming a baby to the world is a beautiful thing. The joys, in my opinion and that of parents everywhere, are immeasurable.
But it’s also hard, especially at first, and ESPECIALLY when it comes to baby’s sleep patterns v. our own…and we were not meant to do it alone.
Which brings me to…
Independent Mothering: A Myth?
I know. You’re a strong woman. You’ve accomplished so much in your life already. And you don’t need anybody to tell you that you “can’t” do this, or anything else you put your mind to. I know because in my experience emailing and speaking to readers of my blog, overwhelmingly, they fit this description, and they should be proud.
But think of the history of mothering.
Once upon a time, people lived either in small communities or with extended family. Many lived under both these circumstances. Even in urban areas, neighbors often reached out to other mothers to watch one another’s children or to help out in other ways so new moms could get some rest.
In extended families (which still exist in many cultures), Grandma or a teen or adult sibling were there to do the dishes and fold the laundry when Mom was exhausted. In fact, the now-new mother had almost certainly helped in these ways herself during her lifetime.
Humans are social creatures. Even those of us who are introverted reach out at least on occasion. And “group mothering” was a very real thing, for a very long time.
The Help You Do Get Can Be Confusing
To add to an already potentially difficult situation, the advice you do get can conflict. Your mother tells you to let your baby “cry it out.” Your best friend tells you that you should baby-wear in order to foster a sense of security. And peer-reviewed studies (I know you’ve read these…so have I) tell you different things altogether.
In addition, “advice” isn’t hands-on. If you’re struggling with your baby not sleeping through the night, you’re exhausted, and you may need to go to work or take care of other children when your energy tank is on Empty. But your friends and family might also work, be disabled, or have other situations where they can’t do what you really need: give you the rest your body and mind are begging for.
It’s OK to Ask For Help With Baby’s Sleep
There’s one other element here, and it’s an important one.
Because we as women have been told all our lives that we can “and should” be 100% independent, we often feel as if we can’t ask for help — even if it’s right in front of us.
It’s great to be strong. But right now, the important thing is to bond with your baby, to learn the ins and outs of motherhood, and to get the rest you need in order to be the best for your little one.
That’s a hard lesson for those of us who have always rowed our own boat. But if you’re struggling, it may be time to reach out.
How to Get Help With Baby’s Sleep
(And Your Own Wellbeing)
Come on, Momma, it’s time. Here are a few ways you can reach out for the help you need.
- Admit you’re struggling. Tell your closest friends and family members that you’re more tired than usual. You can’t be counted on during this time for your usual favors and the help you’re used to giving others.
- Talk. Everyone has that one special friend, sibling or cousin who just “gets” you. Stress can compound exhaustion, so getting weight off your chest can work wonders.
- Speak to a mental health professional. There is NO shame in this. Everyone can use professional advice once in a while. You may be harboring resentments and disliking yourself for them, but this is a normal part of realizing someone else is now entirely dependent upon you. Speaking to a professional can untie the knots of guilt we feel and make us realize just how normal we really are.
- Grab sleep when you can get it. Let your closest friends know you’ll be turning off your phone when you need to grab a few winks, even if that’s during the day.
- Get baby sleep help from a pro. Consult a baby sleep specialist. More and more new moms are receiving this form of help. Once your baby starts sleeping for more stretches, you’ll be amazed at how harmonious your household becomes.
Getting help with Baby’s sleep can turn things around for both of you. Once you’re better rested, you’ll be a better parent, a better partner…and better to yourself.