Helpful Tips For New Parents On How To Get More Sleep
The month of September is one of the busiest months for births, making it the perfect time to talk about children, parents, and sleep.
Ask any new parent and they will tell you that one of the biggest struggles associated with having a baby is trying to get enough sleep. This is particularly true for mothers who are breastfeeding since it is a job that they have to do entirely themselves.
Although this phase is extremely difficult, it doesn't go on indefinitely. By the time that babies reached the age of three months, they usually are able to sleep for stretches as long as five hours. At the age of six months, those stretches can extend as long as nine hours or more.
Having struggled to get enough sleep after the birth of my own children, I thought it was the perfect time to share some tips on how to get more sleep as a new parent. This includes helping newborns understand when they should be awake and when they should be asleep through the use of routines.
One of the most important tips for any new parent is to take advantage of the time that your baby is sleeping and get some sleep yourself. Even if it is the middle of the day, stop what you are doing and get some shuteye. Avoid the temptation to try to clean your house or take care of chores when your baby goes to sleep. Instead, take care of yourself by getting some sleep of your own.
Teach your baby to sleep at night by finding ways to keep them active during the day. As evening rolls around, turn down the lights, speak more softly, and lower the volume on your TV. This can help them begin to unwind, making it more likely that they will fall asleep. It also gets them in the habit of being active during the day and calm at night.
Ideally, any nighttime disruptions should be shared between both parents. Take turns dealing with your baby when they wake up. Even if you are breastfeeding, try to get your partner to help with diaper changes. For bottle feeding, an alternating back-and-forth between parents is the best way to ensure that you are both getting enough sleep.
Avoid sleeping with your baby in your bed. Feeding them in bed is one thing. For sleeping, however, they should be in their own bassinet or crib. Even though it may seem easier to keep them close at hand, it can wind up causing a lot of other issues further down the road.
Reach out for help if you need it. For instance, when you have a newborn, don't be afraid to ask close friends or family members to keep an eye on your baby while you take a short nap to catch up on your sleep. Chances are, they will be delighted to lend you a hand - particularly if they have children of their own since they understand the initial lack of sleep that comes with being a new parent.
Get used to the idea of accepting help from other people. Don't try to be a superhero and do it all yourself. If anyone offers to lend a hand, don't turn them down. Even a short break or a little bit of extra assistance can make a big difference in your physical and mental well-being.
Create the right environment for sleep by making your bedroom as dark and quiet as possible. Clean up any clutter, as well, since it can be more difficult to sleep in a messy space. By having your room ready to go, it is a lot easier to crawl into bed and fall asleep whenever you get a few spare minutes.
Don't allow electronic devices to distract you in the bedroom. This is particularly important in the hours leading up to bedtime since looking at a bright screen right before bed can make it more difficult to fall asleep. If you lay down and can't seem to get to sleep, don't just lay there stressing about it. Instead, get up and do something relaxing until you start to feel a little bit more tired. You can then try crawling back into bed again.
Invest in a good mattress. Having a comfortable bed is one of the most important things that you can do for yourself as a new parent. Even though a Walmart mattress can be quite expensive, it is definitely an investment that is worth making.
Keep an eye on your mood and attitude. The combination of a lack of sleep and major hormonal shifts can cause postpartum depression. The minute that you notice that you aren't feeling quite like yourself, it is worth talking to your doctor. Left unchecked, this type of depression can be debilitating. Your doctor can help you come up with a treatment solution that will have you feeling more like yourself in no time at all.
An important part of taking care of yourself when you have a new child is making sure that you get enough sleep. Even if you can't sleep all the way through the night, try to fit in enough naps throughout the day to ensure that your basic sleep requirements are being met.