“People who say they sleep like a baby usually don’t have one.” (Leo J. Burke)
Bringing a new baby into the world can be exciting and challenging for new parents. Often, there is the initial excitement when a women finds out “I’m pregnant”, with all the emotional feelings that follow. Equally for the partner, similar feelings of positive anticipation, reactions from family and friends, and forthcoming lifestyle changes can last long before the baby is even born.
However, the reality is that both parents will be affected by significant sleep changes, especially from mid- to late-pregnancy and potentially the first year thereafter. Evolution has ensured that mothers are biologically programmed to wake upon hearing their baby cry. There is also the maternal instinct to actively attend to the baby to feed, change and soothe, with the goal of baby returning to sleep as soon as possible. Hopefully, the partner is equally active during each night to assist with these tasks.
Unless well-managed, sleep deprivation can and does occur as a result of caring for a newborn. Sleep deprivation can lead to negative changes in daytime functioning including reduced productivity, poor concentration, poor memory and irritability, while both partners are trying to maintain a healthy relationship. These symptoms result directly from having to rise every few hours each night during the first few months after the birth. Babies can take up to a year in the outside world, to adjust to sleeping soundly through the night.
Fortunately, an evidence-based positive sleep program is available for new parents to each obtain adequate, healthy sleep, while continuing to attend nightly to the baby’s needs during the first year, until your baby’s sleep is regulated through the night.
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