Amid all the excitement that comes with finally bringing home your baby, there’s an inkling of fear that last night’s shuteye was the last time you’ll be able to get a good night’s sleep in a long time. And while yes, waking up to feed your baby throughout the night is something that you’ll have to do in the beginning, it doesn’t mean that you can’t find other ways to sneak in some extra sleep and avoid feeling exhausted all day.
Avoid Electronics Or Caffeine Before Bed
Our bodies’ circadian rhythm is very much influenced by the sunlight, which is why when we go to bed, we’re typically in the dark. When we’re about to go to sleep and pop open our social media so the scrolling can lull us into sleep, we might be actively keeping ourselves awake longer.
Keep your caffeine to the earlier parts of the day if you must have it, or early afternoon if you need a pick-me-up, but if you’re particularly sensitive, try avoiding it as much as you can. Your body will thank you!
Divide Baby Duties With Your Partner
If there are two parents in the household, it’s only fair that you make an effort to split the baby duties between the both of you. Alternating between who gets up at night when the baby cries or pumping milk beforehand with your free breast pump can help either partner squeeze in some extra zzzs.
Sleep While The Baby Sleeps
You might not be able to get any consistent sleep overnight, but newborn babies typically nap for two to four hours a day, so this is your chance to nap along with them to make up for the lack of sleep from the night before. If you can, consider having a friend or family member watch the baby while you sleep as well.
Ask For Help
Similarly, asking people you trust to watch the baby while you nap isn’t the only thing you can get help for. Reach out to loved ones to help you with other household necessities such as grocery shopping or helping you clean your home. These can also help tremendously to increase your snoozing potential.
Practice De-Stressing Activities
It can be tricky balancing out your life when your new baby becomes the focus of everything you do, but you need to factor in some time to nurture your interests so that you don’t go stir-crazy. If you can afford it, get yourself a nanny to look after the baby while you go out and have a hot date night with your partner, or grab a coffee with your friends.
Adjust Your Routine To Your Baby’s Sleep Needs
The amount of sleep your baby needs will continue to change as they grow, so knowing what these numbers are is going to help you optimize your sleep schedule, and there’s.
Here’s an overview of how much sleep your baby will need until they’re school-aged:
- Infants (9-10 hrs/night + 3 or more hrs in naps)
- Toddlers (9-10 hrs/night + 2 or more hrs in naps)
- Age Four Until Adulthood (9-11hrs/night)
You can also make small changes in their nighttime routine, such as not rocking your baby every night, so they don’t learn to expect it. John’s Hopkins specialist, Grace W. Pien, M.D., M.S.C.E., advises giving babies the space to learn how to comfort themselves, within reason, of course, for them and the parents to get a good night’s sleep.
Written by: Marie Miguel
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health-related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.