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New-Mom Clumsies

During the first months of motherhood, many a mom finds herself stubbing her toe or spilling her OJ. Here's why: Besides the obvious reason -- sleep deprivation -- your center of gravity's changed now that you're no longer pregnant (and you're 20 pounds lighter). Ways to avoid accidents, from Valerie Sorkin-Wells, M.D., a Phoenix-based obstetrician-gynecologist:

Have a sleep strategy. Aim for as long a stretch of sleep as you can. Two four-hour blocks of rest, for example, are much more refreshing than four two-hour blocks. (Fewer interruptions mean deeper, more restful REM sleep.) Try coordinating night feedings with your partner.

Be single-minded. Keep multitasking to a minimum. Just focus on one thing -- like making dinner -- at a time. And put your baby in her bouncy seat when you do it.

Get help. When your mom, sister, or friend offers a hand with the baby while you tidy up, run an errand, or pay bills, say yes. No offers? Ask for help.

Keep your sense of humor -- and perspective. By 6 months, most babies can sleep through the night, or for at least six-hour stretches, and so will you. By that time, your stumbling ways should probably pass, too.

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