All parents know that with frequent feedings, diaper changes and various other checkups during the night, catching enough sleep is practically impossible for mothers and fathers.
Your baby’s health and happiness might be your priority, but making sure you get a proper night’s sleep should also be important.
Only parents who get enough sleep will be able to fulfill their parental duties and take the best possible care of the baby.
You will feel energized, calm and patient enough to be a good parent.
So if you struggle with catching enough ZZZs, here are some tips all new parents need to know:
Practice good sleep hygiene
It’s not always the baby’s fault you’re not sleeping well. If you practice good sleep hygiene, you will be able to get more ZZZs no matter what.
Make sure to avoid caffeine before bed. Also, try not to use electronics late in the evening.
It might be inviting to post photos of your baby on Instagram before sleep, but don’t let that interfere with your schedule.
The light from devices can mess up your sleep cycle so give up that guilty pleasure. It’s best to create a good sleep schedule and stick to it.
It might sound impossible for most parents, but if you try to turn in and wake up at the same time every day, it will improve the quality of your sleep and you will feel a lot more energized and less moody.
Time your naps
Most newborn babies sleep between 16 and 18 hours a day in frequent naps that last from two to four hours.
So if you only get sleep during the night, you will be quite sleep deprived due to your baby’s sleep schedule.
But, if you take a nap whenever your baby sleeps, you will make up for the lost time.
This might be hard due to other kids in the house or your internal body clock, but at least try to get a 5-10 minute shuteye when you can.
Place crib in your bedroom
In order to make it easier to tend to your child and return to bed, place the crib next to your bed in your bedroom.
It might be tempting to put your baby in the bed with you, but that’s not a good idea—it’s a great suffocation risk.
Don’t place a newborn in your bed more than the time you need for feeding.
When they finish their meal, return the baby to their cot and get back to sleep in your bed.
In the short term, it might seem like a good idea, but it’s dangerous in many ways.
Invest in a good mattress
In order to get the most out of your sleep time, you need to have a comfortable environment.
Blackout curtains and some good ventilation might make your bedroom more comfortable for a night’s sleep and naps.
However, the biggest sleep aid you can get is a good mattress.
This addition to your bedroom will not only make your sleep more comfortable but also prevent waking up in pain, which is very important when you have a long day in front of you.
It’s best to opt for memory foam with enhanced individual coals.
If you read more about these mattresses, you will see that they offer the best motion control, so if your partner gets up to check on the baby in the middle of the night, you won’t feel a thing.
Futon mattresses are a great idea as well since they fit on uncomfy futon beds and enhance their comfort—very good for naps and emergency beds in nurseries.
Get the most of parental leave
Different employers have different policies on parental leave, but if both parents can get time off from work to take care of the newborn, make sure to use this perk.
And you can combine your parental leave time. For instance, mom might take time off right away, and the spouse might choose to wait until mom is ready to get back to work to help with her transition back to the office.
Share baby duties
If you’re a family with two parents, make sure to share feedings, diaper changes and other nighttime baby duties.
You can easily pump breast milk so your spouse can give the bottle to the baby while you continue to rest and catch up on sleep.
Put chores on hold
Don’t worry if your house is a little messy, make sure to prioritize sleep. All who come to visit will understand why the kitchen is not spotless or the floors are not mopped.
They came to see you and your baby, not to inspect your house, so leave some chores for the next morning.
Ask for help
If you have a good support system, don’t be shy to use it.
Both friends and relatives will be happy to help with grocery shopping, sweeping or watching out for the baby as you take a nap.
The closest people to you might even help with night diaper changes and feeding, you just have to ask.
Work on your baby’s sleep
Improving your baby’s sleep habits can also affect how you sleep.
By 3 months of age, babies will be sleeping between 4 and 6 hours a night, and by 6 months, they might spend two-thirds of the night asleep.
To help normalize your baby’s nighttime sleep, make sure to put them to bed when they look and act drowsy in the evening.
This is a personal choice, but you might want to avoid holding the baby until they fall asleep, or that will become a hard habit to break. It’s best for newborns to learn to fall asleep in their cots.
Another good piece of advice is to help babies learn how to self-soothe (not picking them up every time they cry and fuss).
Babies need some time to comfort themselves and they will usually fall asleep right back on their own—this is great for establishing good sleep habits.
As a new parent, you will struggle with many things, sleep included, but make sure to pay attention to your health.
Sleep deprivation definitely doesn’t make you a better parent, so prioritize catching extra ZZZs and enjoy parenthood much more.