Your challenge: No one goes into parenthood thinking they are going to be well-rested. But is it too much to ask for just a bit more shut-eye? The irony is that for all the sleeping newborn babies do, there is still precious little (quality) time for you to snooze. And all you would really like is to feel like a functioning human again.
The solution: When baby sleeps better, longer and more predictable stretches of time, everyone sleeps better, longer and more predictable stretches of time. By establishing healthy sleep routines for your midnight party animal, you will both be on your way to better zzzs.
Send them sleepy time cues: Newborn babies are pros at sleeping anytime, anywhere–but all that sleeping on the go doesn't exactly help them establish healthy circadian rhythms. To get baby on track for solid naps and nighttime sleep, give them a space that signals it's time to snooze. Think blackout curtains, a white noise machine, a peaceful bassinet… As they get older, begin to work other sleep-is-coming cues into the routine by reading a favorite book or singing a lullaby before laying them down to sleep.
Stay calm through regressions: Baby is finally sleeping longer stretches at night. You feel less like a zombie. There is light at the end of the dark, sleep-deprived tunnel. And then... one of those painfully infamous sleep regressions grips the whole household. The good news-if you are able to see it that way-is that this means baby is going through a developmental leap. The better news is that it will pass and it will pass even sooner if you attempt to maintain those healthy sleep habits you already worked to establish. Now may also be the time to introduce a light-up projector or safe, soothing crib toy to help your little one learn how to doze off on their own.
Call in backup: For breastfeeding mamas, it can feel like nighttime duties fall solely on our very weary shoulders. That, friend, is the beauty of the breast pump. If it seems like all you could ever need and want in the world is an uninterrupted four-hour stretch of sleep, enlist your partner to take a shift with a bottle when baby wakes up during the night. Feeling like a new woman in the morning is priceless.
Get into your own healthy sleep routine: Sleep when the baby sleeps? More like "get all the things done when baby sleeps". If it seems like your mind is racing a mile a minute when you finally have the chance to lay down, take a cue from baby by re-establishing your own healthy bedtime routine. In your case, swap the swaddle and cradle for a warm bath, cup of tea and five minutes devoted to writing tomorrow's to-do list so you don't have that weighing on your mind.
Pro tip: Despite the guides that promise to help your baby sleep through the night by six weeks, no two babies are created the same-and the honest truth is it will probably take some trial and error (and then more trial and error) to discover what's the magic formula for a full night of sleep.
You've got this.
Motherly + Kids 2 provides information of a general nature and is designed for educational purposes only. This site does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
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