6 tips for a good sleep when pregnant with toddler in tow
With hormonal changes, anxiety, and physical discomfort, being pregnant and getting a good night's sleep can be tough, especially when you've got a toddler too, says sleep expert Rebecca Welton.
With hormonal changes, anxiety, and physical discomfort all conspire to prevent you sleeping well at night during pregnancy, but when you have another child as well, it can sometimes feel as if you'll never get a good nights sleep again!
So here are Rebecca's 6 tips for restful sleep
1. Is your child keeping you awake at night?
Is your child keeping you awake? Teething, illness and potty training can all play a role in night-waking, but children can also be unsettled by the idea of a new arrival in their family. Spend extra one-to-one time with your child during the day, and talk through any changes that might occur when the new baby arrives. Discuss how you will handle the night behaviour so they know what to expect, and then aim for 100% consistency in how you deal with your little one at night.
2. Getting up to pee in the night
Hormonal changes, combined with the additional blood pumping round your body and being processed by your kidneys, along with your expanding uterus putting pressure on your bladder, mean you will need to pee more often overnight. Top up your fluids during the day but restrict them for the two hours before bedtime.
3. Difficulty drifting off?
Avoid screens an hour before bedtime and cut out all caffeinated drinks in the afternoon. Caffeine has been shown to affect sleep up to eight hours later, while screens emit blue light, which suppresses melatonin - one of our sleep hormones. Switch off the TV and put away all your gadgets an hour before bed. Have a bedtime routine, such as taking a bath and reading a book. This can help you de-stress and unwind from your day, as well as sending all the right messages to your brain to get ready for sleep.
4. Can't get comfy
As your baby grows bigger, it becomes increasingly difficult to find a comfortable position for sleep. Doctors recommend not sleeping on your back, as the weight of your uterus puts pressure on major blood vessels. Embrace pillows - they can prop you up or provide the extra padding you need to get comfy.
5. Suffering from leg cramps
Thought to be caused by fatigue from the extra weight you are carrying, along with your growing uterus pressing on the main vein from your legs, these pains can have you awake at all hours of the night. A warm bath before bed, and doing calf stretches as part of your bedtime routine, can help prevent those dreaded cramps.
6. Catch up on sleep when your child naps
When your little one is having some down-time, make sure you get some shut-eye too. This will help you catch up on any lost sleep overnight.
Rebecca Welton is a qualified child sleep consultant, and the author of Baby Sleeping Trust Techniques – Alternatives to Controlled Crying. She is mother to two children.