By Sarah Palmer
Do you support your baby to sleep? You’re not alone, and you’re in good company. Most babies, toddlers and young children need us to be able to get to sleep. Sure, there are lots of moments to cherish in breastfeeding, snuggling, rocking or laying with your little one to help them doze off. But, there’s also a lot of frustration around bedtime or nap time. You think of all the things you could be doing, you long for time and space alone to enact self care. I see you, it’s so hard.
If we can bring things to our little one’s sleepy times that serve us, it can become more accessible to make it a time to be cherished. Here are some things that you can do while you are supporting your little one to sleep.
Do your kegels – you know those pelvic floor muscles that held and birthed your baby? Yeah they’re still there, maybe a little deflated and needing some attention!
So while you’re snuggling up to your sweet babe, engage your pelvic floor and attend to it! Just a few squeezes, and don’t forget to breathe out the release.
Meditation and deep breathing – easy visualisations include box breathing, imagining your lungs as balloons inflating and deflating, or simply breathing in for four counts and out for four counts. You can even pair this with your kegels! If you need some grounding before you can do breath work (because when we’re rushed and stressed, we can find it hard to breathe deeply), you could notice 3 things in your surroundings – 3 things you can see, 3 things you can hear, 3 things you can feel.
Listen to a podcast or audiobook. If you find the wires of your headphones get in the way, use some wireless ones (and no, you don’t need to spend a fortune on Apple EarPods, mine are cheapies from Kmart). Check if you can get a digital library membership and borrow audiobooks for free. This is a great strategy to use in times where your little one is taking a while to wind down – usually during times of development and milestones – and you need some distraction to help you reduce frustration at it taking longer than usual.
Sleep – if you are tired or just want to.
Side-lying nursing is the bomb and makes it easy peasy to lay with your baby, feed them to sleep and have a snooze yourself. You don’t have to do “all the things” and resting is actually productive, despite what messaging you may get from society.
Enjoy a treat – if you have a contact napping babe, get set up before nap time with your favourite snack and treat yourself while they snooze – you deserve it!