Although bringing a baby into the world is an amazing life milestone, it’s also a lot of hard work. And if you’re a new parent, you’ve probably realized that your sleep has been compromised. Taking proper care of your baby is of the utmost importance, but so is taking care of yourself. That means making sure both you and baby are getting good sleep.
Perhaps you’re looking for baby sleeping tips for new parents or tips on making sure you sleep better. Either way, we’ve got you covered. Keep reading for a few sleep tips for first-time parents that will help both you and Baby get that much needed shut-eye.
Sleep Tips for Babies
Prepare your baby for an uninterrupted night of sleep
To minimize a nighttime arousal, change your baby’s diaper before their final nighttime feed. This will allow you to transition seamlessly from feeding into sleep. Likewise, unless your baby has soaked through or pooped their diaper, you probably don’t need to wake them in the middle of the night to change their diaper.
Establish a consistent bedtime routine
Babies are a lot like adults in the sense that a consistent routine provides a sense of security and consistency. Establishing a consistent bedtime routine for your baby can be very helpful. You can determine the sequence of your routine, but incorporating elements such as a bath, a wind-down, a bottle / feeding, and a nighttime lullaby can help signal to your baby that it’s time to sleep.
Say goodbye to bright lights
Bright lights in and around the house can elicit “wake-up” signals in both the parent and Baby’s brain. Using LED nighttime lights or lights that are red in color are much less abrasive than normal fluorescent lights, and will help Baby go back to sleep easier after a middle-of-the-night waking.
Encourage your baby to learn to self-soothe
Teaching your baby to self-soothe doesn’t mean ignoring them every time they cry and fuss. However, it can actually be beneficial to give your baby some time to comfort themselves in the middle of the night, so that they can learn to fall back asleep on their own. This can help establish healthy sleeping habits, and will in turn help parents get a better night’s rest as well.
Drown out any background sounds
The ideal nursery mimics the womb, meaning that any chance to muffle background noises will help Baby sleep. Even seemingly-quiet sounds such as conversation or laughter, TV sounds from another room, or the rattle of pots and pans in the kitchen can wake your baby. Because of this, utilizing a white-noise machine to drown out those outside noises can be an effective way to ensure your baby stays asleep.
Keep an eye on the nursery temperature
Although you want to make sure Baby is snug and cozy, you don’t want your baby’s nursery to be too warm. Just like adults, babies tend to sleep better in a cool room. Keeping your thermostat between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit should keep them comfortable during the night. For a quick test to see if your baby is warm enough, put your hand on their chest. If their chest is warm, the room temperature is adequate.
Sleep Tips for Parents
Catch up on your sleep when Baby sleeps
The average newborn sleeps for about 16-18 hours a day, with naps lasting anywhere from 2 to 4 hours. If you’re only getting rest during your period of overnight sleep, chances are you’re pretty sleep deprived. Just like your newborn, you’ll need to take supplementary naps too. And napping while your baby is napping is the ideal time to get some rest.
Take turns with nighttime baby duties
There’s no need for both parents to be awake in the middle of the night for diaper changes and feedings. You and your partner can split the nighttime into shifts, allowing each of you to get longer chunks of uninterrupted sleep throughout the night. Moms who breastfeed can pump milk so their spouse can easily take on the feeding shift.
Keep Baby’s crib near your bed
Although this comes down to personal preference, keeping your baby’s crib next to your bed can make it easier than tending to your baby and falling right back to sleep, as opposed to walking from room to room in the middle of the night. However, it’s important to note that although it’s ok to keep your baby’s crib next to your bed, it’s unsafe for your baby to actually sleep in the same bed as you.
Establish healthy sleep rituals
Whether or not you have a baby, creating and enforcing healthy pre-sleep rituals can be instrumental in improving the quality of your sleep. Because caffeine is a stimulant, reducing your intake (especially throughout the last half of your day) can help you fall and stay asleep. Likewise, using electronics too close to bedtime can interfere with your sleep time. Turning off electronics an hour or two before bedtime helps your body naturally wind down. Lastly, try your best to stick to a regular sleep schedule. Although consistency can seem impossible when you have a baby around, the more consistent you can be with your sleep schedule, the better.
When you’re a new parent, it’s easy to feel like you’re barely getting by due to your lack of sleep. After all, you’re spending most of your energy caring for a baby that needs your attention 24/7. But sleep is just as important for you as it is for your baby. By following some of these tips and tricks, hopefully both you and baby will be sleeping more soundly.