We have all heard the phrase “sleeping like a baby.” Though this phrase sounds pleasant, if you just brought your sweet newborn home, you may find your little angel is not sleeping as peacefully as you thought. And neither are you. Sleep, when caring for a new baby, can be something of a fantasy. There are several factors that play into the lack of sleep with a newborn in the home. It could be the nervousness of having your little one in the other room or the euphoria of being a new parent. More than often though, it is the sudden cries that wake you at night. Regardless of the reasons, eventually you will need to get some much-deserved deep sleep. Some small changes to your day will help you get the sleep you need for the many tasks that come with a new baby in the home.
Have a Routine
If you have a new family member in your home, many elements of your daily routine will change. However, your sleep routine should be as constant as possible. Set a bed time for yourself and the baby. Set an alarm to feed your infant throughout the night. Be sure to stick to this schedule, as it will help you stay consistent and the baby will get used to the routine as well.
Stay Off of Technology When Awake
It can be tempting to scroll through your phone or turn on the television while waiting for your baby to settle back to sleep but try to refrain. The light from screens tells your mind to wake up, and thus interfere with you slipping back to sleep. Instead, listen to the radio or grab something to read such as a book or magazine while you wait at night. Wrapping yourself in a warm blanket such as a lightweight down blanket, will also help you stay warm and comfortable, ready to fall right back to sleep after your baby does.
Have Slower Evenings
If you are used to hosting guests and having later evenings, plan to dial it back a bit. After bringing home a new born, your daily activities will change. Establish what defines your evenings now, for this season with your infant. What needs to be done each night? What can wait until the next day? Be open in your communication about your needs, bed times and evening chores, as not to get behind on your normal routine. Ask your friends and family to bring over meals for you and do not feel bad asking them to leave so you can get to bed on time. In doing so, you can more easily put your health first and care for your family’s well being too.
Choose Other Ways to Wake Up, Instead of Coffee
There is nothing wrong with waking up and enjoying a cup of joe to start the day. The problem can arise when we return for those third and fourth cup. Try to refrain from always turning to coffee every time you need a pick me up. Instead start your day with a walk with your baby. After your walk, a large glass of water will keep you hydrated and ward off fatigue. The morning sun will naturally help wake you up and the exercise will release endorphins to make you feel refreshed for the day. Forms of exercise throughout the day will help you stay awake without turning to forms of caffeine.
Take a Break
It may seem like your to-do list is endless but remember to rest. Even if you do not sleep, take a minute to put your infant in the bassinet or rocker next to the couch and just rest. Closing your eyes for a minute and just relaxing there will go a long way for your mental and physical health. Make sure to bring your favorite down pillow along with you to prevent your neck from getting sore.
Caring for a newborn is a full-time job. Though the job may not get easier, you can be prepared with proper sleep. Remember, your sleep will not improve unless you make some changes in your day and set up an effective routine. Don’t let a lack of sleep stop you from being the super parent that we know you are!