8 Ways to Get More Sleep With a Newborn
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Sleep deprivation is a torture method. If you have a newborn I’m sure you understand what I’m talking about. That’s probably why you’re reading this now. Now I can’t promise to make your little angel magically start sleeping through the night through the computer screen, but I do have some practical no cry methods you can do right now that will help you get more sleep.
Setting a Goal
First, how much sleep do you need? I know when you’re sleep deprived the easiest answer is just to say “I need more!” but specifically how many hours of sleep do you need to feel rested and function well? 6? 8? If before baby you needed 7 hours of sleep a night to feel rested, that hasn’t changed. If anything you may now need 8 hours! It just may take you 10-11 hours to get it.
So if baby goes to bed for night time sleep (usually the first night time stretch of sleep is the longest) at 7pm, that means you also need to go to sleep at 7pm NOT stay up and watch TV or do dishes, etc. Sleep is more important right now.
Now if baby is still on a 24 hour clock and usually awake until 10pm, that doesn’t change the fact that you need your sleep. So what do we do?
Teamwork makes the DREAMS work
Your family unit, whatever that looks like, now needs to function like a well oiled machine to prevent everyone from killing each other. EVERYONE functions better if they are getting sleep.
Time to assign some jobs:
Example: 6pm-midnight your partner is in charge of baby and midnight to 6am is your turn. If you are nursing, your partner brings baby to you for feeding time and takes him back to another room as soon as he’s done so you can go back to sleep.
To get your needed 7 hours of sleep, get in bed early. Baby may still be on party mode but this can be a great time for your partner to have some quality time with little one if they were at work during the day. If baby usually falls asleep at 11pm and you give that time to your partner so you can sleep, that’s three hours of sleep you would have missed!
If your partner is working, they need sleep too so they can function at work and not get fired. If you are home during the day, you can sneak in a few short naps while baby naps. As baby moves away from the newborn 24 hour day and into a daytime/nighttime schedule, you’ll get more sleep at night. Until then take it where you can.
Give Yourself a 15 Minute Time Out
There’s going to be good and bad days. If you’re having a bad day and the sleep deprivation is getting to you, take a break. If you can hand baby to someone and take a lap around the block, that might be all it takes to reset, relax and get back in the game.
If you are home alone and feel like you’re losing your mind, put baby down somewhere safe (alone in a crib) and step into another room or right outside for a couple minutes.
Short breaks lessen the hold of stress and anxiety on you which can help you relax enough that you can more easily fall asleep when you do finally get time to rest.
Schedule a Break to Do Something You’re Looking Forward To
Have at least one scheduled break every day. This may be when your partner comes home from work or first thing in the morning. Maybe it’s time for a shower, time to read a book, listen to music, do a couple yoga poses, etc. Whatever it is for you, have something arranged and scheduled so it will happen that you will be looking forward to.
Learn About Sleep Methods
I’m NOT saying sleep train a newborn
Research types of sleep training methods to see what you may plan on doing later on. (Extinction, Ferber, Gentle Sleep Training, Nursing to Sleep, etc).
If you know you don’t want to nurse to sleep for example, following a loose “Eat, Play, Sleep” routine early on my help prevent a food/sleep association. That’s something you can do now to help encourage a sleep method later that fits your philosophy.
Turn Off the Electronics
No TV, phone, bright lights etc within an hour of when you’ll be going to bed.
I need some sort of light so I don’t run into things during a night feeding. I really like the dim light and health benefits of a good Himylayan Salt Lamp. TIP: get one with a dimmer switch so it’s not too bright at night.
Do NOT spend time cleaning when you could be sleeping.
Give every visitor a useful task to do. Visitors should be emptying the dishwasher then holding the baby so you can shower not holding the baby so you can do the dishes and bring them lunch.
Get the Owlet Baby Monitor
This thing is expensive but sleep is priceless. I had some super intense anxiety after I had my first baby. She would be asleep in the bassinet and I would shoot awake gasping for air in panic checking to see that she was breathing. That is NOT very conducive to getting a good night of sleep.
With my second baby I got the Owlet and slept so much better. It eliminated my anxiety and allowed me to actually sleep when the baby slept. I knew it would alert me to a problem so I could actually relax enough to sleep. WORTH EVERY PENNY!
Use the Halo Bassinest with Newborn Insert
A newborn should be sleeping in the same room as you.
I love the Halo Bassinest because it swivels over your bed. This means you can get baby for night feedings without getting out of bed! That means more sleep for everyone. TIP: Use a receiving blanket as a changing mat on your bed so you don’t have to get up for diaper changes either. Store diapers and wipes in the side of the Halo so everything you need is within an arm’s reach away.