If there's one thing all future parents know before having their baby, it's that sleep is a thing of the past. Newborns are just that: new. They're not used to being awake when the sun is up and going to sleep when the sun goes down. For a newborn, they're just trying to figure everything out with the help of their parents.
Every parent wants to make sure their baby is getting enough rest so they can grow and be well-rested. At the same time, parents themselves need to worry about their own sleep. While it can be hard to rest with a newborn in the house, we found 10 tips that can benefit both mom, dad, and the baby when it comes to getting enough shut-eye.
10 SLEEP WHEN THE BABY SLEEPS
Some parents may be rolling their eyes at this statement but that doesn't mean they can't give it a try! There are plenty of specialists who encourage mom or dad to nap when the baby naps, that way they can get as many ZZZs as possible.
The problem that many adults have with this is that when the baby is finally sleeping, it's time for mom or dad to get stuff done; taking a shower, preparing meals, doing laundry... These are all things a parent can do at their own pace while the baby is sleeping. But if you feel compelled to take a snooze instead of clean, follow your gut!
9 SLEEP IN A DIFFERENT ROOM
Now, if a parent has more than one room they can sleep in, this tip may help. One mother told BabyCenter that on nights her husband and her alternate taking care of the baby, one of them will sleep in another room uninterrupted. If the baby stirs in the middle of the night or needs their diaper changed, the parent in the other room won't even need to worry about it because the other has it under control.
8 SLEEP TRAIN
For those who may not know, sleep training is the art of getting your baby to fall asleep on their own. Sure, there may be a few restless nights of no sleep in the beginning while your baby is learning, but once he/she gets the hang of it, mom and dad can finally sleep through the night.
There are a variety of sleep training techniques parents can use when their baby is ready. Typically, BabyCenter suggests waiting until baby is around four to six months.
7 KEEP BABY NEAR YOU
The hardest part about getting some shuteye as a breastfeeding mama is that babies are hungry all the time, which means mama needs to be available whenever their baby's hungry. If the baby does not take bottles at the moment and prefers the breast, one way a mom can get some extra sleep is keeping the baby nearby at night.
Attach a bassinet to the bed or have the crib in the same room where mom sleeps. Whenever the baby stirs, mom can just roll over to scoop them up and feed without getting out of bed.
6 HAVING ONE PARENT DO THE NIGHTSHIFT
Some parents expressed their love for night-sharing with their partner. Let's say one parent takes the night shift Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday, while the other parent takes Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday. When it's one parent's night to take the nightshift, the other can sleep deeper knowing it's not their night.
5 GRAB SOME LAVENDER AND CREATE A ROUTINE
Just as babies need a bedtime routine, parents should also create a routine for themselves. Regardless if they're sleep training, napping, or sleeping in your bedroom, a sleepy-time routine will do wonders for parents too.
If taking a warm shower before is too much to ask for, try putting on relaxing music, rubbing some lavender on the bottoms of your feet, or lighting a candle. These small acts of softness may relax your body enough to fall asleep quicker.
4 ROCKING FROM AFAR
Remember how we suggested having your baby sleep in a bassinet in your room, that way mom won't need to leave the comfort of her bedroom? Likewise, if baby isn't hungry but simply can't sleep, one mom told BabyCenter her genius way of getting her newborn to quiet down (which, in turn, gave mom more hours of shuteye). Using a cradle that rocked, she attached a rope to the bottom of the cradle which was long enough to reach mom's bed. When her baby stirred, she simply grabbed the rope and tugged on it ever-so-gently, rocking her baby back to sleep.
3 MORNING WALKS
The Sleep Foundation suggests mom and dad being more active to increase their chances of actually falling asleep. So many parents say when they have time to actually fall asleep, they're too wound up to actually get to bed. Instead of lying in bed awake at night (or not napping when you wanted to), try going for a morning walk with your baby. The sunlight will give you and your baby a natural reset and being active will make you tired enough to fall asleep when it's time.
2 TO BED SHARE OR NOT TO BED SHARE
Now, it's a parent's choice whether they want to bed share or not. Some mothers share their beds with their baby because they notice they sleep longer through the night. The baby can feel their parent beside them, can be fed from bed, and may be comfier.
However, there are equal amounts of people who think bed-sharing is dangerous. There have been multiple stories of a parent rolling on top of their child. Likewise, the baby may sleep better in bed with mom or dad but does that mean the parents sleep just as well? Not always. Some women realized they slept deeper knowing their child was out of harm, away from their bed.
1 HIRE A SITTER A COUPLE OF DAYS A WEEK
If bed-sharing, napping, sleep-training, and night-shifts aren't working for you, then the best thing to do is ask for help. Whether there's a local nanny who doesn't mind watching your child for a few hours while you sleep or a babysitter in the family who can pop by when you need them, asking for help so you can sleep is simply surviving. Sleep is important and people will be happy to help when you need them.