New Parents Need Naps Too

No matter how smooth your pregnancy and birth go, your body had undergone some intense changes. You have been working very hard growing your new little person. In many traditional cultures, new mothers are cared for and given a month or more to recover. North American culture tends to forget new parents need for rest, trading the peaceful "lying in" tradition with numerous visitors, expectations to get your body back, and pressure to take your new baby out and about.

Postpartum expectations, both internal (the expectations you have for yourself and your experience) and external expectations (the expectations that come from society, family and friends) can wreak havoc on your need to recover from pregnancy and birth. You have so many demands put upon you, on top of learning to care for a baby, keep yourself nourished, sneak in an occasional shower and get the sleep you need. Let's face it, "Sleep when the baby sleeps." just isn't very realistic for most new parents.

At the very least, do your best to take it easy when your baby is sleeping. It may take some adjustment mentally to accept that you have a need for more rest that you are used to. Being unable to do it all is okay. Your need for recuperation is far more important than texting, phone calls, tweets, and even housekeeping.

As a new mother, you should feel confident letting others know you need a nap. Take your baby with you, or have someone else care for the baby while you get some quiet time or a nap in, any time you need.

Napping is harder for some people than others. You may not be used to sleeping during the day. If you're having trouble adjusting to short periods of sleep during the day you can try:

Lay down.

Take every opportunity to lay down in the early weeks and months. As a new parent, don't stand if you can sit, don't sit if you can lie down. Caring for a newborn is very draining and just laying down for a little while can go a long ways towards your sleep debt.

Enlist support.

Clear your mind by having someone else help with that mile long to do list. Family and friends who come to visit are happy to help with tasks around the house. If you don't want to ask for favours, you can hire assistance with the care of older children, housekeeping and laundry, and order takeout to save on meal prep time.

Postpartum Doulas are a tired parent's secret weapon. Families who choose doula support get more rest and feel better prepared to care for their growing family. At nap time (your nap time) a Postpartum Doula can care for your baby and older children, tidy up, and tackle on tasks on your to-do list. When you're awake, you can save your energy by actually utilising the unique role of your Doula by having her help with whatever it is you feel like you need. No one knows just how exhausting having a baby is like a Postpartum Doula.


You deserve to get proper rest.


You cannot genuinely care for others if you're not caring for yourself. You'll be happier and healthier if you make rest and recovery a priority during the postpartum period.

Stay At Home Mom With Help

Choosing to hire help does not make you weak. It shouldn't cause you guilt to pay someone to do something to help you. But it does. A lot.

I have had numerous conversations with other women this week who are whispering about asking for help.

Stay at home moms. Working moms. Women on maternity leave. Mothers living with chronic diseases.

Letting the bar drop a little so that they can spend time with their children playing rather than making Pinterest-worthy teacher gifts and end-of-year snacks. Getting on top of their laundry. Having a clean house and also having happy children.

I don't know when mothers - families - were told they had to do it all by themselves. But often there are families without a support system in place doing just that. 

Many women I know have had children a little later in life, and that means aging parents and toddlers all asking for attention and time.

And these families also feel the need to have Houzz living rooms and DIY reclaimed furniture in it.

It's a crazy thing that I honestly came to a realization that I live in my house with my children.

I was so fed up with cleaning, and tidying, and keeping up with everything to do with keeping a house.

Then one day it hit me, literally, that we live here. And life is messy.

And that it's okay to have shoes everywhere and a front room that looks like I run a home day care (though I don't). It was that day that I decided I'd hire a cleaning company to come to my home and take care of mopping floors so I could enjoy living my messy life and stop feeling overwhelmed by it. 

I also send my kids to preschool just so I can have some time to shop by myself. Financially it doesn't necessarily make sense, but it is a service I think is worth the investment.

There shouldn't be guilt in having your children cared for by another person.

My children still color on the floor and help to wash the windows with dish soap, but they also are learning that I ask for help so that I can focus on them and myself.

I hope that they can ask for help too, without feeling guilty about it.