Becoming a mother is easily the most amazing thing I have ever done. I am proud every day of what my daughter has already achieved at just 3 1/2 months, gliding through the baby milestones. As rewarding and wonderful as motherhood is, it has made my anxiety skyrocket and I know I am not on my own when I say that.
I suppose a small amount of anxiety is inevitable. After all, as soon as we are passed those gunky bundles of joy, we instantly become responsible for them. We are now responsible for that tiny human being, who is reliant on us to live and thrive in life. If that doesn’t make a person anxious I’m not sure that anything else would.
I have always been susceptible to worry, but not to this extent. I don’t know about anyone else, but I think I worry the most at night. I have read so many articles about SIDS, that even though my daughter is no longer waking up every 2 hours to feed, I still wake up countless times during the night to make sure she is ok. I am petrified that I will wake up in the morning and she will have stopped breathing. I’m not saying that I’m awake for very long each time I check on her, sometimes I just open my eyes and look for her chest moving or put my hand on her if its too dark and thats it, I can go back to sleep. However, when you find yourself doing this 10-15 times through the night it becomes somewhat tiresome and impacts my whole sleep.
I don’t feel as anxious while she naps through the day, I am happy just to check on her with the baby monitor if she happens to be in another room to me. I think I am more susceptible to anxiety during the nighttime because we are at our most vulnerable. I am asleep and therefore I am not watching her.
I realise that I am a new mum and I need my sleep, I don’t tend to ever nap through the day so I really do need to sleep through the night. I have made steps to try and conquer my fear that something will happen to her through the night to stop me from waking up 10 times each night and sometimes it’s as simple as not opening my eyes, rolling over and saying to myself, she’s absolutely fine. If I can try to do that a couple of times each night then I’m on my way to being able to sleep through the whole night myself!
The best thing I think we can do when we are feeling anxious during the night is not to panic. Our sleep anxiety will not last forever, don’t let yourself get to the point where you feel so nervous and frightened that you have an anxiety attack or never sleep. Tell yourself that its just a phase for you, just as your baby goes through their own phases, and you will overcome it. Don’t let your anxiety win.
-Lie your baby on his/her back
-Place your baby in the “feet to foot” position with their little tootsies touching the end of the cot/moses basket
-Tuck in all loose covers no higher than their armpits and ensure your baby head is uncovered always.
-Allow your baby to sleep in the same room as you for the first 6 months
-Use a mattress in good condition
-Breastfeeding has also been proven to lower the chance of SIDS (but I understand not everyone can do this and you shouldn’t bet yourself up if you can’t!)
-Dont smoke or allow anyone to smoke in the same room as your baby
-Dont sleep in the same bed as your baby
-Dont let your baby get too hot.