Ask any parent with a newborn and they will tell you that if they thought they were tired before, they definitely are now. Thankfully, newborn sleep tips exist to help parents catch up on some much needed zzz’s!
Many new parents describe feelings of being drained, physically, mentally, and emotionally, as well as completely rundown and exhausted.
Unfortunately, while it is often difficult to completely avoid sleep deprivation in the first few weeks of a newborn baby’s life due to attending to their feeding and changing needs, here we have mentioned newborn sleep tips to help those sleepless days and nights.
1. Sleep when your baby sleeps.
This adage has stood the test of time, and for good reason – it’s true! Babies may wake frequently throughout the night, often up to every 3 hours, but they spend most of their daytime hours asleep.
Make the most of this time and don’t be afraid to sleep whilst your newborn baby is sleeping, even if it is the middle of the afternoon! Avoid gadgets, turn off the television, and try to implement mindfulness techniques to free yourself of pressure to complete chores. They’ll wait, and your health and happiness are just as important.
2. Stick to a night and day cycle
Even though babies do sleep throughout the day, it’s still important to try and establish their night and day cycle from an early age.
To achieve this, try to keep your baby alert in the daytime by playing, talking, feeding, and going out for walks or to visit family and friends. Then in the evening, opt for a much more peaceful atmosphere. Lower lighting, talk in whispers and keep background noise such as televisions, laptops, or phones to a minimum. This will induce longer periods of sleep throughout the night.
3. Split the night feeds
Even though hours of sleep through the night will feel more precious than they ever have, and it’ll be much more difficult to haul yourself out of bed as a result – don’t be tempted to lay there if it’s your turn and likewise, don’t give in if it’s your partners.
Sharing the night time wake up calls is essential for both of you to create a bond with your baby, but also to split the load and allow each of you to get some much-needed rest.
If you are breastfeeding this is still achievable – your partner can bring the baby to you and take care of any nappy changes.
4. Co-sleeping is ok, but not the same bed.
One of the important newborn sleep tips to mention is whilst co-sleeping is recommended to help cultivate attachment to your baby, it is not advised to keep your baby in the same bed as you.
Returning them to their cot helps to nurture feelings of security and promote the cot as a place for sleep and relaxation. Additionally, it helps you to relax in your bed instead of harboring anxieties as to where your baby is in your bed.
5. Move them without waking them.
A little known trick to be able to move your baby without the fear of waking them is to observe how they are looking and breathing.
If their eyes are darting under their eyelids, they’re breathing deeply and their muscles seem relaxed, your baby is most likely in a deep sleep. You can test this further by gently lifting one of their arms a little and then dropping it. If they don’t stir, they most likely won’t once you’ve picked them up.
As you do so, maintain whichever position it is they’re in as you pick them up and transport them, and then lay them flat on their back into the crib without your baby being headfirst. Keeping one hand on their back and the other on their stomach will keep continued pressure to ease the transition.
6. Ask for help.
While it can be tempting to present as the cool, independent Mom that has everything together and doesn’t need anybody’s help – you will only be doing yourself a disservice if you do not practice acceptance that perhaps you do need a hand.
When friends or family visit during those first few weeks, cast aside any egotistical whims about appearing as the perfect and put-together Mom and ask if they would mind watching your baby while you grab an hour’s sleep or wash your hair.
It’s a known fact that people love babies, and people also love to be helpful so any excuse to spend time cooing over your little one they’ll happily take!
7. Prepare for sleep.
When parents experience those minutes of blissful silence their first thoughts are often to rush to a place where they can lay down and drop into a deep sleep. Only to often find that they can’t.
This is common, and it’s because our minds fail to dissociate and switch off. To aid this, make sure that the environment is free of clutter and any electronic distractions and try to practice minimal screen time during the first few weeks too. This will ensure that when you do get those serene windows, your body is more ready to drift off.
8. Look after you.
Whilst many parents joke about sleep deprivation, it is a real and true condition that can affect parents of newborns. Due to the body being deprived of essential rest and recovery, this can have an impact on hormone levels, which in turn leads to mood changes.
Ultimately, this can then lead to the ‘baby blues’, which verges on postnatal depression. If you are noticing an ongoing sleep problem, or you don’t feel yourself in terms of your overall mood and outlook on life, consult a healthcare professional immediately.
Identifying and treating any undiagnosed conditions, as well as just receiving extra advice and support can help you to better understand your emotions and also potentially help get the rest you much need.
See larger image