4. Sleep when your baby sleeps.
Any experienced baby nurse will tell you that the key to staving off postpartum sleep deprivation is to sleep when your baby sleeps. “If your baby takes a nap, put everything aside and take a nap too,” Zafarlotfi says. “Everything can wait -- except the baby.”
Park agrees. “It is very tempting to try and do chores, wash dishes, do laundry and clean floors when your baby is asleep. But accept that your house is dirty and messy and go to sleep because once baby is up, you have to be up too,” she says.
Do not use this time to make phone calls or catch up on episodes of Grey’s Anatomy, 24, or other favorite shows that you have been recording.
“I don’t care of you have piles of laundry all over the house -- if you are too tired to drive your child to the pediatrician, you have a problem on your hands,” says Michael Breus, PhD, author of Beauty Sleep and the clinical director of the sleep division for Arrowhead Health in Glendale, Ariz.
5. Say yes to help.
“Accept any help that you can get,” Park says. “Many people are resistant, but whether it is a family member, friend, or babysitter, accept help, so you can get a few hours of sleep,” she says. “People think of sleep as a luxury, but it is a medical requirement.
“When you do get to nap, avoid television, radio, and looking at your clock so you don’t focus on how much time you have left,” she says. A cool, dark environment is also optimal for napping.
6. Don’t worry that you won’t hear your baby cry.
“A baby is a natural alarm clock and mothers tend to be attuned to their baby’s crying,” Park says. If you are concerned that you won’t hear your baby or if the nursery is far away from your bedroom, buy a monitor and keep it near you. Remember that your baby is safe, and if he cries for a few minutes before you hear him, he will be OK.