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New Moms & Sleep Deprivation: How to Deal

You might never have realized how deeply you love your bed until you're a new mom. Sleep deprivation is a normal part of parenthood, and self-medicating with caffeine and medications isn't healthy when you're nursing. One day soon, you'll all sleep through the night and wake up rested. Until then, learn how to cope so you can enjoy this time without feeling like a zombie.

RELATED: 10 Ways to Improve Sleep for New Moms

Breastfeed In Bed

Your baby must eat, and you must relax. Accomplish both goals by nursing while lying down. Position yourself on your side with your baby cradled in your arms, his belly against yours. You may even doze off while your baby nurses, but try to avoid that unless your partner or another adult is there to wake you when the baby is done eating, ensuring you won't roll over in your sleep onto your infant. AskDrSears.com advises waiting to use this position until your baby has learned how to easily latch onto the nipple.

Perk Up Outdoors

When you're drowsy but baby's wide awake, strap him into his stroller and head out for a walk. Light exercise will help you feel alert, and it will also help you drop the pregnancy weight, relieve stress and prevent postpartum depression. You may also find you can use this time to cross items off your to-do list, granting yourself more free time at home. Attach a hands-free headset to your cell phone and schedule doctor's appointments, make work calls or catch up with friends while you stroll.

Adopt A Preschooler's Bedtime

Your baby's schedule dictates how often you get up during the night and when you start your day. The only element you control is when you go to sleep. The typical parent of a baby should be asleep by 10 p.m. to get a full night's sleep, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Depending on your baby's sleep and feeding routine, you may need to be in bed at 8 to feel rested by morning. Delegating older children's bedtime tasks to your partner allows you to rest up so that 3 a.m. feedings won't destroy you.

RELATED: Sleep Deprivation

Ask For Help

Surely you're surrounded by friends and family clamoring for a little time with your new baby. Accept their offers to help with anything you need by assigning them babysitting shifts. Invite your parents or in-laws to visit for a weekend, or go with your baby to stay with them. While the grandparents swoon over the baby, you can slip away to nap. A close friend who knows how to care for baby can also watch him while you lie down for an hour.

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