Becoming a mother, especially for the first time, is an experience unlike any other with its own set of rewards and challenges. Babies, newborns in particular, can make getting restful sleep at night much more difficult, but luckily there are methods to try and work around the new and unusual sleep schedule many parents find themselves in.
Sleep When the Baby Sleeps
This may be the oldest piece of advice in the book surrounding how to get some extra shuteye with a newborn, but it’s told for a reason. The likelihood of being sleep deprived if only trying to sleep at night with a newborn is astronomical, so compromises need to be made in terms of your schedule if you want any chance at getting a decent amount of sleep each day.
This may be easier said than done, however, as the internal body clock or even other children in the home can often be reasons why sleeping at the same time as the baby may not work. Even if it does not work out 100% of the time, making the effort to try and sleep in tune with your baby could still prove beneficial as newborns often need between 16 to 18 hours of sleep a day making it more feasible to find an hour or two chunk of time to get some shut eye.
Tag in Your Partner
If you are raising your baby with a partner, make sure to take shifts in looking after them to save you both some sanity. Again, this could be easier said than done especially if work schedules are out of sync. Nonetheless, make an agreement with your partner to take shifts with certain aspects of childcare such as taking turns being the one to feed or change the baby when they fuss at 3am.
Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Help
Especially in cases where there is no partner to help share parental duties, don’t be afraid to ask for help in this new part of life from loved ones. From something as minor as a friend keeping an eye on your little one while you have a quick snack to somebody staying over for a night to help you get some extra sleep at night, any and all help is beneficial when in the newborn stage.
Maintain Good Sleep Hygiene
It can be incredibly easy to forego your typical sleep habits once you have a newborn, and nobody can blame you for doing so. Even still, it is incredibly important to practice good sleep hygiene even in the few and far between chances you are able to get some rest.
Being cognizant of your caffeine intake and your exposure to screens and blue light can be more doable methods of maintaining good sleep hygiene as opposed to trying to fall asleep and wake up at the same time every day with a newborn. Even building a vague semblance of a bedtime routine could be beneficial in this case such as taking the time to read a chapter in a book or seizing the opportunity to take a warm shower in the hour or two before bedtime can help program yourself into winding down when necessary.
Additionally, be sure to make your bedroom as conducive to sleep as possible. It sounds impossible to keep things even remotely organized with a new baby, but if you’re able to keep things such as unfolded laundry, bills that need to be paid, and any other stressors outside of the bedroom the more restful your sleep is likely to be.
Offer Yourself Some Grace
Nothing is easy about becoming a new parent. While there is an unwavering love for the baby you’ve brought into the world, it is still incredibly easy to feel overwhelmed as soon as they’re born. Accepting that not everything you do will be perfect the first time around can help in easing the stress of being the model parent without any experience.
Try not to beat yourself up if your living room becomes riddled with baby toys or if your sink piles up with dishes because your baby takes precedence over a spotless home. If anyone were to come over, the chances are high that they’re there to see you and your new baby and not to judge the cleanliness of your home. Give yourself some grace during this period, it’s not easy for anyone. Doing so may help prevent you from tossing and turning even more at night.
Getting a good night’s rest is not always easy to begin with let alone with a new baby. This is a beautiful and joyful time in your life, but let’s not pretend that it’s a walk in the park. The newborn stage is difficult and it doesn’t do anyone any good to pretend that it isn’t, so don’t be afraid to reach out for help when you need it. Getting sleep at this stage of your child’s life may seem like a pipe dream, but there are ways you can help squeeze in some shut eye when you can.
When sleep seems impossible to find even when you’re able to lay your head to the pillow, try the Nodpod weighted sleep mask to utilize the sensation of Deep Touch pressure to relieve symptoms of stress and anxiety and induce more restful sleep.