5 sleep tips for new parents
It's no surprise that having a baby can throw a serious wrench in your sleep quality and schedule—but they are totally worth it and adorable when they aren’t crying. If you’re unable to rest at night, you’ll have a hard time caring for your new baby during the day, which is why it’s important to prioritize your own sleep routine.
While there’s no magical formula to help new parents get the recommended 8 hours of sleep per night, there are a few things you can do to improve the tiny amount of rest that you’re able to sneak in.
If you’ve recently added a baby to your family, check out these 5 sleep tips for new parents:
1) Sleep when your baby sleeps
The exact second your baby falls asleep is your cue to drop everything, turn the television off, and make yourself comfortable in your bed or on the couch. Because you have to wake up multiple times for feeding during the night, sleeping during the day is perfectly acceptable. Napping is the only way you’ll be able to get through the trials and tribulations of your newfound motherhood (or fatherhood). To ensure that you get a restful nap, turn your phone on silent and minimize any distractions other than the baby monitor if they are snoozing in another room.
2) Avoid sharing your bed with the baby
While it’s totally okay to pull your new baby into your bed to cuddle during the day or when they wake up from a nap, your bed really shouldn’t be their bed. When it’s time for you to sleep at night or nap during the day, tuck your baby into their crib or bassinet. It’s near impossible to get a deep, restful sleep when your baby is in the bed with you as you’re likely worried about rolling onto him or her. Letting your baby sleep in their crib will also set healthy boundaries going forward. If your child never learns to sleep on their own, you might get stuck bed-sharing with a teenager several years down the road.
3) Ask for help
As a new mom or dad, there’s no need to entertain family members or friends when they come over to see your baby. Instead of hosting, ask one of them to watch your baby while you sneak in a few zzz’s. Your loved ones will be more than happy to help you get some rest and spend some one-on-one time with the newest addition.
Household chores and duties can also take a back seat to napping and sleeping. Family members and friends won’t judge you for having a messy house when you’re busy caring for a newborn.
4) Share the baby duties at night
Instead of designating the baby’s night time care to one parent, it’s best to alternate when it comes to feeding and diaper changing. Unless one of the parents has to go to work early in the morning, then it might not be fair to wake them up multiple times per night. If the parent who is still working has to operate heavy machinery at work or has a high-risk job, their sleep should be prioritized otherwise their safety could be compromised. But if the both of you are taking maternal and paternal leave, alternating attending the baby when he or she cries is a good way to ensure that both of you are getting equal rest. To make things more convenient, place the baby’s crib in your bedroom so you don’t have to cross the house every time you hear crying.
5) Prioritize good sleep hygiene
Last but certainly not least is prioritizing your own sleep hygiene. This includes avoiding the overconsumption of caffeine throughout the day, avoiding electronics before going to bed, and trying to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day. However, we know this can be impossible if you have a fussy or needy newborn. Avoiding the consumption of alcohol before heading to bed is also a wise idea as it can interfere with your sleep quality.
Thankfully, babies start to sleep for longer periods of time when they reach three months of age so remember that there is a light at the end of the tunnel!
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