11 Sleep Tips for New Parents

11 Sleep Tips for New Parents

May 6, 2019

11 Sleep Tips for New Parents

11 Sleep Tips for New Parents
11 Sleep Tips for New Parents

Sleep is hard to come by for new parents. Babies sleep a lot in those early days and weeks, but only in short spurts. And since they don’t really know the difference between night and day, you’ll be getting up with them frequently.

But sleep is crucial for the whole family—getting good rest helps you focus better and be more present with your baby, as well as helps to boost your immune system and overall health.

So how can new parents get better sleep—and more of it? Here are some tips.

1. Prioritize sleep as self care

It’s so hard to take care of yourself when you’re caring for a fragile newborn. While face masks during “me time” can give you a temporary lift, making time for sleep is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your new baby.

Studies show that lack of sleep can increase the likelihood of postpartum depression. And even if it’s not that severe, sleep deprivation can affect mood and make everything seem more intense. So be kind to yourself, mama, and try to get the sleep you need.

2. Set the stage for your own sleep

Did you design the nursery to be cozy for baby’s bedtime? Give yourself the same luxury. Turn your bedroom into a space that promotes rest and relaxation. Hang blackout curtains, plug in an essential oil diffuser and try to keep screentime to a minimum while you’re in bed. If your baby is sleeping in a bassinet in your room, keep everything you need for middle-of-the-night diaper changing and feeding sessions right by you for minimal disruptions.

3. Install a baby video monitor

Rather than climbing out of bed to check on your baby at the sound of every cry or murmur, peek at the monitor to see what your little one is up to. Are they breathing OK? Are they cooing or do they need your attention? A video monitor, like the Owlet Cam, gives you an easy look at your baby’s safety so you have fewer major interruptions of your rest.

4. Aim for low stimulation at night

Before your baby sleeps through the night, they’ll wake up to eat and have their diaper changed. These nighttime hangouts are unavoidable, but you can make falling back to sleep easier for both you and baby. Dim the lights or turn on an LED nightlight rather than the overhead ones. Talk in a quiet voice and don’t excite your little cutie with songs and stories (save that for daytime).

5. Slip on an Owlet Sock

It’s natural for parents to worry about their newborn at bedtime. Rather than getting up to check on them and disturbing their sleep (and yours), lean on technology. The Owlet Smart Sock tracks your baby’s heart rate and oxygen levels while they sleep and will notify you if your baby’s levels fall out of a preset range. The Owlet Smart Sock includes a base station for your nightstand that glows a gentle green, letting you know your baby is OK. One quick glance at the base station not only will save you from exiting your bed, but it’ll will give you more peace of mind—which can help you get better, sounder sleep.

6. Establish a bedtime ritual

Just as your baby communicates with you, it’s important to communicate with your baby. A bedtime ritual cues them into what’s happening.

Design a routine that’s custom to you and baby. Maybe it’s a fresh diaper and sleep outfit before a final feeding and a bedtime story. Maybe it’s a bath and massage before you lay them down.

It can tough to get into a schedule with a newborn, but as baby gets a little older, these cues can help both you and baby get into the sleeping state of mind.

7. Flip on a sound machine

White noise blocks out distracting noises and produces soothing sounds. Whether your baby sleeps in your room or their nursery, a sound machine can help calm them to sleep, muffle noises (think creaky floors and dinnertime chatter) and help them self soothe themselves back to sleep if they wake up.

8. Carve out responsibilities

If you share baby duty with a partner, talk about splitting the workload. Decide who gets up at night and when. If one partner carries more of the night load, maybe the other provides a break during the day so their partner can rest.

When you’re not on baby watch, wear an eye mask and earplugs to block out light and noise. Some parents even sleep in different rooms, if it’s an option, to get uninterrupted sleep. Do what you need to do right now.

9. Schedule your sleep

Take the advice of “sleep when the baby sleeps” to the next level—plan the time that you’ll be in bed. If your baby isn’t on a sleep schedule yet, aim to hit the mattress soon after they do. With a goal in mind, you’ll be more focused. Also, if possible, naps are your friend. Though laundry, dishes and catching up on emails feel important, even 15 to 30 minutes of sleep during the day can help refresh your mind and body.

10. Follow safe sleep protocols

No matter how tired you are, always put your baby down safely to sleep. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends placing babies on their backs on a firm, flat surface with no blankets or stuffed animals.

Not only is safe sleep best for baby, but for you too. Resist the temptation to doze off on the couch with them in your arms. You may wake up worried about your baby (plus you’ll have a cricked neck). Take the extra minute to put your baby down safely and crawl into your own bed—your sleep will be more restful.

11. Ask for and embrace help

Parenting can be tough, especially in the early months. Don’t be shy to ask for and accept help from a sister, neighbor or friend. Allow grandma to enjoy sweet snuggles while you squeeze in an extra 30 minutes of shut-eye. You don’t have to do it all or prove anything to anyone.

By prioritizing your sleep and leaning on extra help and technology, you can ease the exhaustion that often comes with new parenthood. A bit of extra rest can make a big difference for your new family.

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