Sleep feel more precious than gold these days? That’s certainly a reality for parents of a newborn! Although it doesn’t last forever, the first few months of your baby’s life can seem like a never-ending cycle of sleep deprivation. When it comes to getting enough rest, there are a few ways you make life a little easier so that you’re not more exhausted than you need to be. Read on for our top 5 sleeping tips for new parents.
1. Sleep when your baby sleeps
Nightimes will never be the same… well at least not for a good few years! For those early months there’ll be many night feeds that steal sleep from your usual pattern. But although your baby will be up a lot at night, they will also sleep during the day. This brings the perfect opportunity to steal back some sleep and catch forty winks. And don't feel guilty if you have to nap when you'd normally be out for lunch with friends. Parenthood can quickly take it out of even the most energetic people. Can’t fall asleep during this time? Even just taking the moment to pause and lie down for half an hour, away from distractions, can be very restorative.
2. Set the mood for sleep
Much like how lighting and ambience can set the mood for us as adults, it works for babies too! It’s a good idea to try and keep your baby alert and active during the daytime and to create a calmer atmosphere during the evenings. Lower lighting will help you to achieve this as well as quieter voices and the reduction of background noise. The reason for this? It will help to establish the difference between day and night routines, promoting longer periods of sleep during the night.
3. Sleep separately
During the night time feeds, it can be tempting to keep your baby in the bed with you after they’ve been fed. However, depending on how you choose to do your nighttimes, you may find it more beneficial for your own sleep to return them to their cot when you’re ready to shut your eyes once again. If you still want to keep your baby close, invest in a cot that attaches to your bed - this will mean that you don’t have to get out of bed at all, and you can keep a watchful eye on your little one whilst having your own space.
4. Ask for help
An extra pair of hands is always a welcome blessing - especially during the nighttime wake up calls. If you have a partner who can’t share the load when breastfeeding, ask them to be on nappy duty throughout the night. During daylight hours there is a lot more opportunity to ask for help from family members and friends. Whether it’s a friend entertaining your baby while you get some afternoon shut-eye, or your mother popping over with a meal at dinner time, learning to accept help in these ways can be a real help in those early days.
5. Prepare your own environment for sleep.
As well as preparing your baby’s environment for their sleep, it's just as important to think about your own. There are many steps that you can take to ensure that your environment is suited to sleep. Remove any electronic distractions, such as phones and TVs from your bedroom, and even avoid screen time an hour before bed. The blue light emitted by your smartphone screen restrains the production of melatonin, the hormone that controls your sleep-wake cycle, so limiting your time staring at the screen will help your brain to unwind. Find other things that help to send you to sleep - this might be the sounds of the radio, or even a book.
So there you have it. We hope that these tips help you find a sleeping routine that works for you and your family as you enjoy this precious time. Visit our blog for more parenting tips!