“In her arms, she’s got the whole world”, goes the old song, “In her arms, she’s got a tiny baby….”. The entrance of new life on the world stage is the cause of great joy for most couples, but there is also a high dose of worry mixed with happiness for first-timers. New Parents are often under tremendous strain, not knowing which way to turn for help and advice. The situation has been worsened by the enforced isolation caused by worldwide Pandemic. The Pandemic has been caused by the terrifying virus Covid19 infection that has now spread to the far corners of human civilization. Thousands of people have died due to the extreme symptoms of infection by the Covid19 virus.
The first casualty of the Pandemic has been Human Association, and mainly close physical interaction. The Covid19 Pandemic has ensured that there are no grandma’s and grandpa’s to help out with the baby and give the new parents a well-deserved break. The worst to suffer is the sleep function of the new parents.
New parents, particularly mothers, but often the caring fathers too, are sometimes driven into desperation to cope with the loss of sleep resulting from the hours spent worrying over the newborn's needs. Often, this does not mean a loss of sleep for the baby. Instead, the baby usually “sleeps like a baby”, while the new and inexperienced parents sit up worrying.
The sleep they forego at this tough time will revisit them in later years, and in the case of loving couples, stand their equation in good stead. Sleep becomes the defining criteria of the parents' marriage, and strains and cracks may begin to develop in the structure of relationships between the two. Therefore, it is an important subject to discuss and rectify as far as possible without harming the interests of the child.
The baby is the focus and epicenter of the brewing storm over the sleep question, and any advice on how the parents can get over their sleep deprivation must not in any way intrude into the far more essential needs of the baby, or be at the cost of the baby’s health. But the parents, particularly the new parents, also deserve kindness and help from Society at large. For far too long, experts have concentrated only on the child and neglected the parents. This condition of mostly callous ignoring of the parents' health, especially that of the new parents, has recently ended, with some of the best experts combining to work out the top tips to sleep better as a new parent.
The Sleep Requirement
While the baby’s sleep requirements and health have attracted the investigation of some of the finest scientific minds, and the next generation is admittedly our future, the newborn's parents have attracted little or no attention. The traditional view has been that this physical and mental torture borne by the parents of the newly born is normal and suffers in silence. The Covid19 Pandemic has only made matters worse. The social isolation enforced ruthlessly by Society at large, and Medical Opinion, in particular, have created physically separated couples, who communicate with other similar couples only over modern “no-touch” communication lines. Masks and gloves are being worn everywhere on the roads and public places, and Lockdowns in which everyone is forced by law to stay indoors make living seem even more like a prison isolation ward.
But a sensational study recently carried out by the well-known Sleep Junkie Research organization has completely reversed the opinion of the traditional experts and the conservative public at the same time. The lack of sleep on parents, especially the first-timers, can be disastrous, and may even lead to the destruction of the marriage itself in some extreme cases. The unexpected and surprising data from this Survey reveals for the first time that only 10% of the parents were getting the recommended 7+ hours per 24 hour day of sleep after the birth of their first child. In contrast, over 68% of them were earlier getting the recommended sleep time before the birth. This situation was even worse for new parents, whose very inexperience led to their spending many more hours in wakeful anxiety for their newborn. Parents who had twins or more were even worse off.
The maximum sleep the parents got was about 5 hours in a day (4 hours and 44 minutes per 24-hour day to be exact, on average), and most got even less. This had enormous ramifications, not only on the health of the whole Nation but finally on the National Productivity. People, and even Nations, will only close their eyes over this problem to their detriment.
On average, each new parent loses a staggering 109 minutes of sleep every night for the newborn's first eighteen months. This means the couple together loses 218 minutes each night, every night, after their child's birth. It can have a significant effect on the physical and mental health of the parents. It can result in the new parents becoming delirious, light-headed, and irresponsible, thus finally posing danger to the child. The newborn needs care and attention always, and not just during its waking hours. The state of mind described in new parents can be dangerous for the child and the new parents. Sleep is essential both for the child and the parent, and the more recent the parent, the more there must be careful in ensuring that they get their daily restful sleep. At the moment, many new parents are spending just 5% of their time taking care of themselves.
After spending just 5% of their time on self-care, new parents now have to devote most of the balance time available during the waking hours on their newborn. A bare minimum 5 hours is needed to look after just some of the daily essential needs of the newest member of the family, such as walking the baby, feeding the baby, reading to and playing with the newborn, etc. And this doesn’t cover the other duties, such as burping the baby, massaging the tiny tot, bathing the little guy, and others. While most of this daily grind falls on the mother (while daddy has to go outside to earn their keeping), the father has to complete his share once he reaches home after work. This struggle often continues till late at night, until the exhausted parents simply collapse, and sleep like Circe’s animals. So the new day starts with tired parents sharing a grumpy cup of coffee or some morning brew and wondering what the long day has in store for them.
Many animals sleep, and sleep is essential for their survival. In humans, sleep is known not only for the rest but also for the support it gives to our complex organs, like the brain, digestive system and the liver, in ironing out problems accumulated during the waking hours.
Sleep allows us to face the new day, fully refreshed and ready to face the challenges of the day. But sadly, when new parents wake up, it is unplanned and caused by the shrieks of the newborn demanding service. But this condition is anything but typical. While the new father stumbles through his work-day at the office, notching up negative marks for mistakes, howlers, irritability and downright road rage, the mother is no better off at home, looking after the baby. Inattention and sheer anger at oneself, and finally at the child, resulting in avoidable accidents that are sometimes actually dangerous both for the parent and the child.
Some Hot Tips For New Parents
Even if others can’t help, there is no shortage of advice. People have long noses and love giving unwanted advice, particularly to the inexperienced. New parents are a classic case and a vulnerable target. But much of the free advice may be harmful, based on little evidence or research, or doubtful traditions. So the new parents need Expert suggestions, not hearsay. Some of the Expert top tips to sleep better as a new parent are presented below.
- The “Deep Sleep Blend” is used with an Aroma Diffuser (just 4 – 8 drops), and can also be used with potpourri, diffuser lockets (1 – 2 drops) and Aroma Burners. This is on the Amazon list of offers also.
- There are also “Deep Sleep” Roll-Ons (with Essential Oils) on sale for New Parents.
Of particular importance for sleepless New Parents is the Electronic Sleep Treatment Instrument Insomnia Therapeutic Apparatus which applies a low-frequency pulse to induce deep sleep in the most restless of sleepers, even insomniacs, and helps New Parents to at last find restful sleep. Its operation involves a particular skin electrode, which stimulates the brain through a sensitive portion of the ear. It is highly effective and is again on the Amazon list.
- The most important tip is to ensure that the baby is asleep first before the parents attempt to sleep themselves. This will help avoid nasty wake-ups, with the baby bawling her heart out.
- It is advised that the baby must be put down to sleep when she or he is drowsy but still awake. This induces the kid to sleep on time, giving the parents some time to themselves, and get themselves some critical sleep.
- At night-time, or even in afternoons, the room should be kept in the dark, and talking should be very quiet with a low and deep voice. This produces an atmosphere of calm, and by dint of avoiding eye contact with the little one, the newborn is induced to go to sleep. Again, this allows the new parents the opportunity to sleep themselves.
- It is strongly advised that new parents develop a Bedtime Routine early on after the child's birth. This helps all three involved in the triangle to get some much-needed rest, and on time.
- The Bedtime Routine should be restful, relaxing, and predictable. The same things should happen every night at about the same time. This triggers the body clock of the child and induces timely sleep in the kid.
The Routine can be composed of the following activities:
* First Feed, then burp, the baby.
* Follow this with Baby Massage, with some prescribed baby oil, to relax the muscles.
* A lovely comfortable Bath in lightly hot (tested with the mother’s elbow) clean water, or a body wash, is essential.
* Putting on fresh night clothes, after brushing with baby powder, is a must.
* A story, which must be attractive to the baby but also repetitive enough to call for sleep, often helps.
* A lullaby that is soothing and a little boring, without too many scale changes or musical variations, often works nicely.
* Dim lighting is a good idea while trying to induce the newborn to sleep.
*The whole idea is to simulate the conditions inside the mother before the child is born, of course as far as possible. If the weather allows it, tightly tucking the baby in, in preparation for sleep, is a good idea. Keeping the room dark is part of the same story.
* Only those items that the parents are happy with repeating every night must be included in the Routine.
- Burping is necessary for younger infants, as all or almost all their food is ingested in the liquid form. That means the food is gulped down, and with it, large quantities of natural air are also gulped down. Burping must be done after every meal. This causes severe indigestion in the child unless they are burped just after feeding, to release all that air or gas. Many children fall asleep while feeding and the parents must learn how to burp a sleeping child. Remarkably, babies can sleep through all the shaking that burping entails, but babies are extraordinary animals anyway!
-Parents should try to go to sleep themselves after their child sleeps. Though it sounds obvious, parents often use the time gained when the kid sleeps to complete pending tasks instead of grabbing the chance to rest. But tasks around the home are endless, and it is better to use the opportunity to get some shut-eye or a good rest when the parent/s can get it.
-Babies cram a lot of sleep during the day, so the parents, particularly the mother, must aim to do the same.
- This is also the advice of Meg Riley, editor at Sleep Junkie, so this is expert advice which should be followed.
-There is also this Top Tip, which emerges from the Mind Gurus. This is about Mind over Matter. The more someone thinks how little sleep he or she is getting, the worse it gets. So parents must back themselves up, and smell the coffee. Don’t think about Sleep Deprivation, think about Invigoration. A short but sound sleep goes a long way to recharge the batteries, whereas a long, badly disturbed sleep spell can do the opposite. The parents may then wake up feeling more tired than before, and more delirious.
-Sound Sleep is an art that needs practice, like Yoga. Yoga's ancient science and art stresses the mental function of sleep and includes several exercises (or “asanas”) to empower the practitioner to fall asleep at will and wake up fully refreshed after that. It might well be worth the while of new parents to learn these exercises of Yoga before D-Day arrives, as part of the other preparations they undertake under modern guidance.
-Sleep Experts Hayley Bolton and Renee Learner from Forty Winks Sleep Consultancy advise new parents to remember that parenting is only a phase, and when the time is up, this phase will pass. Essential Baby List, Baby List, Baby Essentials List, Baby Essentials, Go to Sleep Little Baby, How to Put Baby Sleep