Getting Enough Sleep with a New Baby
Getting forty winks, catching zees, napping, dozing, nodding off, hitting the hay, getting beauty rest, sawing logs, and snoozing are all terms that you may be intensely familiar with now that you have a newborn and none of them seem to be activities you are able to participate in anymore. Sure, you are able to get a few minutes of sleep here and there when your infant finally goes down for a nap, but these restful respites are few and far between (what with feeding, changing, and cleaning your newborn, not to mention attending to your own needs). However, there are ways to make it to the land of REM sleep when you bring home baby. Here are a few tips and tricks to help out the new parent who can’t seem to catch a break on the snooze front.
1. Trade duties. You have a spouse, so don’t hesitate to trade off on nighttime feedings. Even if your baby is up every couple of hours, you can at least hit one REM cycle before you have to get up to take your turn. Although this isn’t entirely ideal, it’s better than the totally inadequate sleep you’ll get when your head is popping off the pillow five times a night.
2. Hire help. There’s nothing wrong with hiring a nanny to help you out if your spouse is frequently absent, you have no family nearby, and you’ve got the money to do so. One parent can go it alone, but why run yourself ragged needlessly? Don’t feel bad about getting the help you need; it’s better for your baby, too.
3. Create a schedule. Some babies want to be fed every two hours like clockwork while others are content to sleep through the night (up to six hours at a stretch). If your baby is on the fussy side and much more prone to waking during the night, you may think that there’s nothing you can do about it. However, you might be surprised to learn that just about any newborn can be taught a schedule (unless they’re sick or they have special needs that preclude such action). Start with a regular bedtime each night, with soothing activities like a bath and cuddling leading up to lights out. For the first couple of months, put your newborn to bed once he’s asleep already. After the age of three months, you can start putting him down when he’s drifting off but still awake. This way, he’ll learn to fall asleep on his own, without you there, which could mean more restful nights in the long run.
4. Avoid distraction. When you go into your infant’s room for nighttime feedings, keep the lights low and the TV off. These distractions will only bring your baby (and you) fully awake, ensuring that it’s harder for both of you to get back to sleep afterwards.
5. Breastfeed while napping. Do double duty by learning to breastfeed while lying down. If you’re so tired that you’re afraid you’ll drop the baby while feeding, negate the issue. This has been a saving grace for mothers for time immemorial and any breastfeeding coach (generally a midwife or nurse) can show you how to get the baby to latch on in a safe way while you lay on your side, allowing both of you a little extra pillow time.
Sarah Danielson is a writer for Adiamor Engagement Ring where you can find a large selection of loose diamonds, wedding bands, and other fine diamond jewelry.