Sleep deprivation is the worst. It’s 3am and your baby is crying and so are you because you are so tired and wondering if things will ever get back to normal. Life as a new parent is tough, so we are here to help with a few sleeping tips that could help get your sanity back.
Go to Bed Early
Going to bed early is easier said than done, especially when you have a newborn and you still have washing, ironing and other household jobs to do. Everyone says ‘nap when your baby naps’ but for some people, like myself, this just doesn’t happen. Not everyone is a napper, despite being absolutely exhausted. However, if you feel your eyelids getting heavy and your baby is asleep, turn off your mobile and shut your eyes and just see what happens. The washing and ironing can wait. You and your baby are your top priority and if you can’t function then it isn’t good for anyone. Studies recommend that newborn babies should have a minimum of 8 hours of daytime sleep until they reach 3 months old, so make the most of it and get some shut eye! Also go to bed earlier than normal. With a newborn you never know what time they will wake up, so take every opportunity to get some zzz’s!
Routine is Key
Giving your baby a routine early on will help you in the long run with their sleeping patterns. Keep a sleep tracker so you can see if your baby’s nap times have a pattern. A bath and a book before bed is a good way to relax your newborn baby and will signal to them that it’s bedtime. Also, try a dream feed. A dream feed is when you wake your baby up for a feed just before you go to bed in the hope that you will get a longer period of sleep before they wake up again.
If you get prepared before bedtime you can save precious minutes having to get everything ready when you are tired and your newborn is hungry. Place a changing mat, nappies, wipes and a spare change of clothes close by so you can change your baby quickly if you need to, and sterilise any bottles you might need in advance.
Have a midnight snack
Night feeds can be tough, so give yourself an energy boost and prepare some midnight snacks. Make sure they aren’t too high in sugar as this may keep you awake. Grapes, crisps and breakfast bars got me through the night feeds!
Use a baby sleeping bag
Baby sleeping bags encourage babies to lie on their back, which is the recommended sleep position by the Lullaby Trust and the NHS in the UK. Taking away this worry, means you won’t keep waking up in a panic wondering if your baby is OK. What’s more sleeping bags can help prevent the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). The advantages of using a baby sleeping bag is that they prevent your baby’s head from being covered by wriggling under bedding. Sleeping bags also ensure your baby stays at a constant temperature, reducing the risk of them overheating and waking in the night.
Newborns love white noise as it replicates the sounds that they are used to in the womb. White noise is also great for masking background sounds, such as traffic and the television. If white noise works for your baby, you can enjoy some extra hours sleep.
Nightlights can also provide comfort for babies and if you do have to do a change or feed in the early hours, nightlights will stop you sleepily walking into things!
Share the Load
If you have a partner or friend that can help out then let them! If you are bottle feeding, take it in turns to do the night feed and if you’re breastfeeding partners can burp your baby and look after them so you can get some extra rest. You could also express some milk during the day for your partner to bottle feed in the evening so you can get some undisturbed sleep.