The arrival of your baby, though a joyous occasion to celebrate can disrupt parental sleep cycles. More so in the case of mums who breastfeed as it’s a role their partners can’t share.
Do not be disheartened though as this stage doesn’t last forever. By three months time, most babies extend their sleepy hours to at least five hours at a time. At six months, sleep cycles can stretch from 6 to 10 hours!
Here are some timely tips and hacks for new parents for dealing with disrupted night’s sleep. Moreover, you will find how to set up early routines to teach newborns the difference between day and night.
Sleep when your baby sleeps:
Although newborns wake up frequently at night, babies cram in lots of sleep during the day – so sleep when they are turned off! Turn your phone to silent mode and turn a blind eye to all those chores: they can wait!
Keep them active during the day:
Engage your baby and keep them awake for more hours during the day. Create a calming atmosphere in the evening. Switch to low intensity lighting & quieter ambience to help establish the difference between day and night. This routine promote longer periods of sleep through the night.
Share the night time wake-up calls:
Harder to do if you are breast feeding, but you can always use a breast pump & put the milk in storage. You might need a bottle warmer too. Your partner can help out by feeding the baby from the bottle and handling the nappy changes.
Don’t be tempted to keep baby in bed with you:
It’s acceptable to take your baby to your bed for feeding. Once fed, return the baby to their crib when the baby is ready to go back to sleep. Co-sleeping may seem an easier option in the short term. But if the baby gets used to sleeping near you, it can create other problems in the longer run.
When you need Help, ask for It!
Make use of family or friends who might visit during the first few weeks. Cast the usual social niceties aside and ask if they’d mind watching baby while you grab a quick nap. Most will understand and be happy to help. Don’t be tempted to ‘prove you can manage.’ If people offer help, take it!
Prepare for sleep:
Caring for a newborn baby can leave you feeling exhausted. You might think that you would be able to fall asleep at the drop of a hat. But you will find you can’t. If you have trouble falling asleep, make sure your room is suited for sleep. Turn your room cool, quiet, dark and clutter free, even during the day.
Get rid of electronic distractions:
Move the TV, laptop/notepad, mobile phone etc from the bedroom. Avoid screen time an hour before bed time. If you’re finding it difficult to sleep within a reasonable amount of time, get up and do something else until you feel sleepy. Try going back to bed when you really want to sleep.
Treat yourself to a great new bed:
When your sleep hours fall short of the need, it’s time to make sure your bed is comfortable, provides enough support for your back and an aids a restful sleep. If your bed is old and grotty, a new bed could be the best investment of this year!
Watch those hormones:
Sleep deprivation can lead to mood swings at a time when hormones are already in overdrive. This in turn, can lead to the ‘baby blues’. Identifying and treating any underlying conditions can help you get the rest you need. Making sure you get a good level of sleep – even if it is more broken than usual – will help you take the best care of your baby. If you can’t get over your mood swings, consult your doctor.