1. Running on empty?
Did you put your coffee pot in the refrigerator and leave the milk on the counter as you rushed to soothe your newborn this morning? You might be suffering from sleep deprivation. A lack of sleep is common among new parents, but when it goes too far, it can be dangerous. It can inhibit your ability to carry out your responsibilities and can increase a mother’s risk for postpartum depression. By the time your new baby is 6 months old, he or she will have a regular sleep pattern, meaning you will have a more consistent sleep pattern, too. But how do you survive until that happens? We’ve assembled some tips to help you get more sleep with a newborn.
2. Sleep when you have the chance
When your baby finally falls asleep, no matter the time of day, resist the urge to do a chore or look at your favorite social media site. Sleep needs to become your first priority, and the best time to get it is when your baby sleeps. Even if you aren’t tired, taking the opportunity to lay down and rest will allow you to recharge. Avoid using electronic devices during this time, so that you aren’t distracted from a potential nap.
3. Share responsibilities
Our bodies naturally want to sleep at night, so it may be easier for you or your partner to catch up on missed hours then. The only problem is that your new baby doesn’t know that yet. Consider splitting nighttime responsibilities with your partner, either in shifts each night or by a whole night at a time. Be sure to prepare ahead of time if you are breastfeeding by pumping enough milk for your partner’s turn. This way, you both have access to a few prime sleep hours.
4. Accept help
Sometimes it can be hard to ask for help or to accept help when others offer it. You may feel like you are a burden to others. But the reality is that friends and family truly want to know how to support you during this time, so accept their offers. If you don’t have friends or family to help you with your new baby, it might be worth making room in your budget to hire a babysitter or baby nurse. Your body and brain will thank you for the extra ZZZs you’ll get.
5. Put your baby to bed drowsy
When you hold or rock your baby until he or she is fully asleep before putting him or her down, your baby may have more difficulty going back to sleep after waking. By putting your baby down while still drowsy, he or she will begin to learn to self-soothe. Eventually, self-soothing will eliminate the need for you to coax your baby back to sleep every time he or she wakes up.
6. Let baby self-soothe
As your baby learns the new skill of self-soothing, resist the urge to jump out of bed with the first cries you hear. With time, your baby will not only become more proficient in this area, he or she also will sleep for longer stretches. It might be difficult at first, but wait a few moments to see if your baby falls back asleep before you run to the rescue.
- American Academy of Pediatrics
- Getting Your Baby to Sleep.
- Can We Prevent Postpartum Depression?
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