Being a new parent is an exciting stage that also comes with major changes to your daily routine. While taking care of your little bundle of joy, you may not be having as much sleep as you could afford to before. However, it’s still vital to get some sleep while you can to help keep you energised for your parenting duties. Although your baby needs lots of sleep as they grow, you shouldn’t neglect your rest, as it could have some effects on your health and well-being. Even a little sleep can go a long way.
Effects Of Lack Of Sleep For Newborn Parents
Sleep deprivation as a new parent could have adverse effects such as:
- Being more irritable and lashing out quickly at those around you
- Affecting your mental health and causing you to feel anxious and depressed
- Being less alert, which could reduce your reaction times and present more risk of getting injured
- Stress, which could lead to high blood pressure, insomnia, etc.
If you’re wondering how to get sleep with a newborn baby, here are some practical sleeping tips for new parents to consider -
Sleep When Your Baby Sleeps
Every baby’s sleep pattern is different, but newborns usually wake up several times during the night. Therefore, it’s best to try and catch some shut-eye while your baby takes a nap during the day, no matter how short. To minimize any distractions, it would help to put away your phone to have a night of uninterrupted sleep.
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Take Turns With Your Partner
A great way to ensure you and your partner get some sleep is to share responsibilities. You can start by drawing up a rota of mum time and dad time during the day. Apart from giving you quality time with your newborn, you rest while your partner is on duty. Additionally, you can split nighttime duties, such as rotating bottle feeding, changing nappies, etc., so you can each have a few hours of sleep during the night. If you’re a breastfeeding mum, you can pump some milk so your partner can still feed your newborn during their shift while you sleep.
Put Household Chores On Hold
Although you may be tempted to try and attend to all your household chores while your baby is asleep, regularly doing this can lead to you burning out. Don’t worry if you can’t tackle all the household jobs and clean at a go. Try and ignore the urge to load your washing machine, dishwasher, etc., and get some sleep instead. Doing this will even give you the energy you need to balance all your responsibilities. Plus, you don’t need to worry about what your visitors will think; they’ll undoubtedly understand and may even offer to help.
Additionally, you need to be assertive and say no to activities that will take up more of your time and prevent you from resting, such as hosting a party, going out with friends beyond certain hours, etc. Most people will understand if you’re not available for some time or can’t say yes to everything.
Create An Atmosphere To Encourage Your Newborn To Sleep
A calm environment at night will make it easier for your newborn to fall asleep, so you can also get some rest. A great way to create such an atmosphere is to turn off the lights or at least lower them, speak in quiet tones, and minimise any background noise, such as from your TV. Many new parents prefer to drown out any loud noise using a white noise machine, which helps muffle any background sounds.
You can also encourage your newborn baby to be more active during the day, so they’re less alert and feel tired by nighttime. A constant bedtime routine can be beneficial in improving your baby’s sleep and, in effect, yours. This way, your baby will know the difference between day and night and sleep for longer, allowing you to get some sleep. It would help to know your baby’s sleep cues, so you can quickly put them to bed and also sleep. A night light will come in handy, so you don’t have to reach too far to turn on the light or have excessively bright light during night feedings.
Avoid Sharing The Bed With Your Baby
Although you may want to bond with your baby and keep a close eye on them by sharing the same bed, it’s advisable not to do so to minimise the risk of your baby suffocating. For more information on co-sleeping, take a look at this advice from The Lullaby Trust. You can bring your newborn to your bed while feeding them, but it’s best to put them back in their cot afterwards. You can also get a Moses basket so you can place it close to your bed. This way, you can keep an eye on your newborn, attend to them more quickly, and go back to bed.
Ask For Help When You Need It
As a new parent, there’s nothing wrong with asking for help when your family or loved ones come to visit. If you trust them enough, you can ask them to watch your baby while you sleep for a short while. They’ll be happy to help, and it will also give you some free time to rest, no matter how brief. On the other hand, when people offer to help, please don’t feel bad for accepting it. You can delegate some tasks to them so you can get some sleep and wake up feeling energised.
Try And Make Your Sleep More Comfortable
In preparing your newborn for bed, you may sometimes forget the quality of your sleep. Although you may think you might instantly fall asleep when your newborn goes to bed, sometimes you may find it challenging to get some shut-eye. However, you can improve the quality of your sleep by being intentional about the little things. For instance, you can create a relaxing environment by reducing noise, clearing up any clutter on your bed, and having a cool room temperature.
It would help if you also avoided screen time before bed to help you unwind. If your old bed or mattress isn’t as comfortable as before, a new one can do you a lot of good. Additionally, it’s best to avoid caffeine right before bed.
Make Good Use Of Parental Leave If Available
Parent leave may differ depending on where you work. However, some employees make it possible for both parents to take some days off work to take care of their newborn. Planning your parental leave with your partner will make it easy to juggle your responsibilities better and get some rest. For instance, new mums can take some days off immediately after giving birth, while dads can follow suit some weeks later so you can both rotate and get some sleep.
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Always Be Prepared
Having the right items on hand will help you save time in looking for stuff for your newborn. It will also help you feel less overwhelmed. It’s best to ensure that your baby’s changing area is always well-stocked, so you don’t have to look around for the things you need during the night. Prepping other items such as your newborn’s bottles, your nursing supplies, etc., will also let you spend less time getting organised, which will give you more time to sleep.
Talk With Your Partner About Your Sleep Needs
Discussing your sleep needs with your partner can help you feel less stressed and develop a comfortable routine for you both. Talking to each other will help you identify who is better at coping with less sleep, align your work schedules, etc., so you can find what works for you. As a plus, it will help strengthen the bond you share with your partner and minimise the likelihood of you bottling up your feelings.
Believe it or not, the quality of your diet can go a long way in improving the little sleep you have. You may already be feeling stressed out from your new routine, and eating the wrong food could make things worse. Instead of opting for sugary snacks, fast food, etc., because you’re hard-pressed for time, meal prepping can make it easier for you to have healthy meals and spend less time cooking or deciding what you and your family will eat. Eating the right foods will help keep you nourished even when your day is hectic and digest better, contributing to better sleep. In addition to a healthy diet, remember to drink lots of water to help you stay hydrated throughout the day and feel refreshed while taking care of your newborn.
Remember not to be too hard on yourself or compare your newborn’s milestones to others’ as you try to work on your baby’s sleep routine and yours. Although you may not be able to change or control your baby’s sleep routine entirely, you can make an effort to make some changes to your daily habits. Applying the essential sleeping tips listed above will help you feel well-rested so you can take good care of your newborn.