By Karen Kostohris
If there’s one thing I want you to do in the first few weeks after baby’s birth, it’s this: sleep!
Believe me, I realize, sleep is hard to come by in the 4th trimester. Your baby sleeps a lot, but between feedings and burpings and laundry and meals, you can’t seem to get more than an hour at a stretch. Then you get anxious about your lack of sleep, the impending feeding, and the dishes in the sink. Although you’re tired, you find yourself lying in bed, wide awake, waiting for the proverbial other shoe–in this case, your baby’s cry.
Here is my recommendation: make your pajamas and bathrobe a uniform of sorts. Motherhood is your job. The job requirements include comfort, a peaceful mind, and a rested body. Your milk supply, physical strength, and patience depend on at least eight hours of sleep. Why not stay in your night clothes until you get your eight? You might be in PJs until noon. So be it. Your uniform, your job, your “new normal” all dictate this.
Once you’ve gotten your eight, take a nice shower and get dressed (simply in fresh PJs if it suits you). Brush your hair, brush your teeth and “start” your day. Rested.
Another benefit to my PJ Plan? Visitors will get the message: leave the casserole and go! While we do love our friends and family members, even a short visit can seem exhausting in the postpartum period. The people in your life should respect your right to recovery, and will be more inclined to do so if you are dressed for it.
Does your new baby have an older sibling? Enlist some morning help for your toddler so that you may stay in bed as long as you need to. Eight hours of sleep. It won’t be uninterrupted, but it will be worth the effort.