I haven’t written anything yet about the connection between postpartum depression and sleep deprivation, but it’s something I’d like to delve into more in the months to come. This blog post, “Sleep, Motherhood And Postpartum Depression,” by Kim West, aka “The Sleep Lady” on the Huffington Post, is my first foray into this topic.
West’s post includes a number of lists, the last of which is titled “Postpartum Depression Action Plan,” and includes as its final point: “Sleep!” She writes:
“Getting at least five or six hours of uninterrupted nighttime sleep is essential to treat and potentially lower your risk of postpartum depression. This last tip — sleep — seems daunting when you have a newborn but even breastfeeding moms can do this” and then she proceeds to list four tips on how to make it happen. Please give this advice a read if you are struggling — believe me, so many women have been there, and you deserve all the help you can get.
I came across this article, “For grandparents, it’s a whole new baby culture,” a few weeks ago while searching for something completely unrelated, which I have now completely forgotten. The op-ed by Joanna Weiss, which was published last summer in The Boston Globe, focuses on the conflict parents and grandparents can experience when a baby creates a new branch on the family tree.
The writer sat in on a class called “Grandparents Today” while doing her reporting, a class that stemmed for the requests of new parents: “In the throes of stress and sleeplessness, [parents] needed someone to mediate relations in those stressful first few months.” Basically it’s like a crash course for grandparents on the “must-dos” in parenting circles these days.
But, as Weiss reminds us at the end of her article:
“….grandparents, less sleep-deprived, relieved of the duties of discipline and breadwinning, have the freedom to actually enjoy those infant days. In the class I witnessed, the prevailing mood among the grandparents-to-be — other than a healthy skepticism — was joy. I wished their grown children could have seen them in that room, cradling those plastic dolls with deep affection. They would have known that everything was going to be fine.”
Yet again, it all boils down to perspective. If only sleepy parents could have the perspective of their parents — then maybe being up all night would be a piece of cake.
I don’t often read through the “Diagnosis” piece in the New York Times Magazine, but the one over this past weekend caught my attention because of this paragraph near the top:
“He’d been healthy his entire life. Then one day when he was 30, he got a strange headache and dense fatigue. Initially he wrote it off — after all, neither he nor his wife had been getting much sleep since their son was born five months earlier. But then the belly pain started. It was just below his navel — sharp, stabbing, constant.”
It’s a good reminder that sometimes, when you are suffering from baby-induced sleep deprivation, it is hard to separate the symptoms of a more serious ailment from the way your body feels when it is utterly exhausted (a not-insignificant ailment in and of itself). To read more about this man’s full diagnosis, which in the end wasn’t related to his a lack of sleep at the hands of his five-month-old, click here.
In this clip that aired last year, Shari Mezrah, a “sleep schedule specialist” and author of “The Baby Sleeps Tonight: Your Infant Sleeping Through the Night by 9 Weeks (Yes, Really!)” talks with NBC Daytime. During the chat, Mezrah discusses more than just sleep (other topics include pacifiers, crying and breastfeeding) However, as is often the case, the video is advertised as being about sleep — because that’s really what all parents are most interested in. Mezrah claims that:
“What’s important to know is that the longer you wait to put your child on a [sleep] schedule, you will sometimes create patterns of conditioning. Those patterns are harder to break the older a child gets….”
I’m not advocating her method, I haven’t read her book, but she’s gotten some significant national air time, so her opinion is worth giving a listen to, even if you don’t decide to buy her book. Click here to view the full five minute clip for yourself.
Here’s what rocker, fashion-designer, and mom-of-two Gwen Stefani had to say about seizing that moment to snuggle with your babe in an interview with Stylist.com:
“Why have regrets….Everything that’s going to happen to you is going to happen. Even with my family, I don’t want to look back and say, ‘Oh my god, I didn’t sleep with Zuma that time because I was too tired,’ so I’ll just snuggle up with him tonight. It’s probably why I work as I hard as I do – I don’t want to look back and see the things I didn’t do.”
Looks like Gwen is another star in favor of co-sleeping.