Resting Easy with Baby

New parents might joke about not getting enough sleep, but it's no laughing matter. Being rested is important not just for moms and dads, but babies, too.

Nicole and Corey Huey agree sleep is a big part of what's changed in their lives since son, Grayson, entered the picture. Nicole says sleep now comes in shifts of two-and-a-half hours, and Corey says it's not on their terms, but when Grayson wants to.

Stormont-Vail nurse Libby Rosen is studying maternal and infant sleep. She says babies tend to have shorter sleep segments divided over 24 hours and not focused only at night. She says they do average 14 and a half hours total, but it's just spread out so babies can get the eight to ten feeding a day they need. Moms and dads, on the other hand, need a good chunk of shut eye to function.

Rosen says a good night's sleep helps cognitive functioning, makes a person feel calmer, helps with decision-making and can impact your physical health.

Rosen says parents need to develop strategies. One way to do that is to keep a sleep activity record. Knowing when baby is awake, asleep and eats can help plan your own rest. For example, Rosen says if baby sleeps from one to three every afternoon, mom might need to plan to nap at that time, rather than run around the house trying to get several tasks accomplished.

Rosen says there are also ways to help baby get to know the difference between night and day. During the day, she suggests keeping the lights on bright, going outside for more stimulation, taking walks, and doing activities. At night, though, Rosen says it's important to keep things calm and quiet. Don't do much talking when baby wakes up to be fed.

Nicole and Corey are already adjusting. They say support is another vital component. Nicole says parents should ask for help. She thought she could do it all, she says, but soon learned the value of extra hands.

Stormont-Vail's Breastfeeding Clinic offers help with this and all sorts of issues. People are invited to check them out at an open house from 4 to 7 pm, Thursday, March 27th. They're located on the 4th floor. Use the North Tower elevators to get there.


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