For my first two babies, sleeping during their naps was something I did not even consider. There was way too much to be done if I didn’t have any help, and frankly, if I did have help, I didn’t want to leave my mom, sister or friend sitting in the living room alone with a sleeping baby – a baby that I had waited for a whole 9 months and was just getting to know! I wanted to cuddle him, take pictures, ooh and ahh over all the little sounds he made in his sleep and chat the time away with my little support system before they all had to leave. But I’m telling you, you’ll regret it. Especially if you have other children, those first few days home from the hospital when your house is bursting at the seams with extra hands and helpers, make yourself take the time to go restock the energy storehouse. With Baby 2.0 I didn’t, and I wish I had. I had no idea that two weeks after leaving the hospital we found ourselves going back for a 3 day stay in the ICU and a long 3 months of sleepless nights due to illness. Not that a few naps back in that first week would have made a huge difference, but it would have accelerated my own recovery and healing process after giving birth and gotten me back on my feet sooner, ready to take on the world, or at least, my little piece of it.
When we welcome our third I approached it cautiously, not wanting to make the same mistakes. But I also had three kiddos now to take care of, one of which was a very clingy mama’s boy. Knowing this, I flew home from the hospital after less than 36 hours and did my best to make things feel normal again. I napped a little, but as I began to feel better I started doing more. Within a week I was back to where I had been physically less than two days after delivery, and needless to say, I was no help to anyone.
The moral of the story is: REST. Sleep when you can, but make yourself rest so that your body can heal. Not only will this help you gain confidence and momentum as you transition into life with a little one, but it will also ward off those nasty postpartum villains like stress, depression, and weight gain. Try to see it as adding change to a piggy bank. Each investment is small and insignificant by itself, but every time you make a deposit you add to increasing value. It’s one of the achievable things you can do to make your life easier in the long run. (Back)