Advice for New Parents – 5 Tips for Getting the Sleep You Need

Source: Photo: nelso47
Source: Photo: nelso47

There are a number of things you can do to improve your sleep, and to make sure that you are getting enough of it. Adequate sleep is important for your health, happiness and for your sanity. However, some of the tricks you can use to improve your sleep don’t hold up as well if you are a new parent, trying to get the rest you need while caring for a newborn. Sometimes you just can’t do all of the things you should when it comes to ensuring a whole night of uninterrupted sleep. In situations that involve newborns, you actually need to come up with different strategies for getting better sleep. You want to get good rest as a new parent, and here are 5 tips for getting the sleep you need:

  1. Nap when your baby does: You might have heard this before, but when you are faced with dirty dishes and a number of other chores, it suddenly becomes more tempting to skip the sleep and get something else done. Don’t. When your newborn sleeps, you should, too. You can clean or return phone calls at some other point, such as right after the baby has been fed and is content to sit in the bouncer chair for half an hour.
  2. Get help: Enlist the help of the rest of your family to help with keeping the house clean so that you don’t have to resort to chores when you could be napping while the baby sleeps. You can also check into the costs of hiring a mother’s helper or a babysitter to help with household chores, or to watch the baby once or twice a week. You can also get a little help from older children or a partner by having someone else take care of one or two feedings. If you breastfeed, you can pump ahead of time. It doesn’t hurt for baby to learn to take feedings from others via bottle.
  3. Don’t immediately jump up when you hear the baby: It’s okay for the baby to cry for a few minutes before you pick him or her up. Sometimes, after your baby starts sleeping most of the night, he or she will cry a little before re-settling and going back to sleep. You don’t need to hurry into the room at every noise. Usually, it can wait a little bit.
  4. Be up front about your sleep needs: Talk to your partner about your sleep needs, and your health. Be up front with how lack of sleep is affecting you, and see if you can work out some way to help you get the rest that you need. This may include help from your partner on the weekends so that you can sleep a little to recharge, or help with a feeding so that you can nap.
  5. Don’t take on too much: When you are caring for a newborn is not the time to add new responsibilities to your plate. Instead, cut back. Taking care of yourself and your new baby should be your main concerns. Additionally, you want to have time with other children that you may have, so taking on new responsibilities could be a real problem. Instead, learn to say “no” so that you can take care of the more pressing necessities in your life.

Having children is both challenging and rewarding. Adequate sleep and some time for relaxation are necessary if you want to be able to better deal with the challenges so that you can, in the end, take good care of yourself and the rest of your family.

3 Responses to Advice for New Parents – 5 Tips for Getting the Sleep You Need

  1. For us, keeping the baby in bed with us helped sleep in a BIG way. Co-sleeping allowed my wife to feed the baby without having to get out of bed or waiting until the baby is crying.

  2. In Japan, nightly baths are routine. I don’t have a baby, but when I take one it seems like I need 2-3 hrs less sleep than normal because my body is so calm and relaxed when I go to sleep. Maybe your readers could try fitting a warm night bath in to maximize sleep.

    Austin @ Foreigner’s Finances

  3. Thanks for your ideas, FFB and Austin. Co-sleeping was never really for me, but I know some people really like it. I, too, like the Japanese tradition of cleaning yourself before bed. I do the same thing, but with a shower instead of a bath. A warm shower, followed by a slow process of getting into my pajamas really helps me settle down for the night. My husband and son do this, too, and we all benefit.

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