What is mom’s number one complaint about being a parent? No Sleep! 29% of new moms don’t remember the last time they slept 8 hours, let alone slept through the night. One in three children fight sleep or wake up. Lack of sleep affects mom’s emotionally as well as physically. The main cause that 10% to 15% of moms suffer from postpartum depression is just simply sheer exhaustion. Sleep deprivation can cause moms to give up on breastfeeding, are short-tempered with their children and spouse, fall into bad sleep habits, have a slower physical reaction time that can cause car accidents and slows their metabolism down causing them to gain weight.
What can moms do to get their baby to sleep? How can you get a newborn to sleep longer throughout the night? Swaddling an infant makes them feel safe and secure. If you choose to swaddle, be sure you know how to do it correctly. Improper swaddling by tightly wrapping your baby’s legs straight down may loosen the joints and damage the soft cartilage of the hip sockets, leading to hip dysplasia.
Developmental hip dysplasia is relatively common in newborns. Your doctor will screen your baby at birth and well-child visits for the condition. Family history, breech delivery, and being a girl put your baby at greater risk for hip dysplasia. To prevent hip dysplasia when you swaddle, be sure there’s enough room at the bottom of the blanket so that your baby can bend her legs up and out from her body.
Around 1 to 3 months of age babies prefer to stretch while they sleep as it helps strengthen muscles. Often doctors discourage leaving a baby swaddled all night. Practicing a sleep routine like taking a bath before bed and sticking to a schedule can lead to healthy sleep habits in the future (like when older children fight going to bed). White noise, soft music, lullabies or just a fan can eliminate noises outside their room and can help lull them to sleep.
Should or shouldn’t you rock your baby to sleep? There are many that say that you shouldn’t rock a baby to sleep because it can lead to a separation anxiety disorder (SAD). Separation anxiety disorder is a condition that causes a child to feel intense worry and fear at the idea of being away from mommy or daddy. What are some of the signs of SAD? Won’t sleep alone, nightmares, clingy, panic attacks or temper tantrums when separated from a parent. How can rocking lead to SAD? If your child falls asleep in your arms you are the last person he sees so if he wakes up in his bed alone he can fall into the habit of not being able to fall back to sleep without you there. One way around this is to wake them for 5 to 10 seconds right before placing them in their crib. This allows them to learn the basic skill of self-soothing without you there!
Are you suffering from postpartum depression? Postpartum depression is more than the baby blues that cause mood swings and crying spells. While baby blues usually leads to postpartum depression, after a while it can interfere with taking care of your baby and yourself. The signs you may have postpartum depression are; loss of appetite, insomnia, anger, irritability, feeling inadequate, no desire for intimacy, withdrawal from friends or family and thoughts of harming yourself or the baby. These symptoms can last a year or more.
Baby blues are just one way that can cause postpartum depression. Many lifestyle factors can lead to postpartum depression, including a demanding baby or older siblings, difficulty breast-feeding, financial problems, lack of support from your partner or other loved ones and as I stated above, exhaustion.
If you feel you are suffering from postpartum depression and these symptoms don’t go away after two weeks, please see your health care provider. Left untreated, postpartum depression can interfere with mother-child bonding and cause family problems. Children of mothers who have untreated postpartum depression are more likely to have behavioral problems, such as sleeping and eating difficulties, temper tantrums and hyperactivity. Delays in language development are more common as well. Sometimes untreated postpartum depression becomes a chronic depressive disorder. Even when treated, postpartum depression increases a woman’s risk of future episodes of major depression. With treatment symptoms can go away within months, but make sure you continue your treatment even when you feel better to avoid a relapse. Remember the best way to take care of your baby is to take care of yourself.
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