Most new parents have to fight sleep deprivation while also trying to live a close-to-normal life, which is extremely trying. I remember when we had our first daughter, both I and my husband were walking zombies and we could literally fall asleep sitting in a work meeting (happened to my husband)!
Our firstborn was a lot to handle as she used to wake up every two or three hours, demanding our attention and keeping us in an eternal state of sleep limbo. But by the time the second baby came, I knew a few tricks that kept little Jonathan happy and sleepy, while we got a lot more shut-eye than we did the first time.
So, for all the new parents out there who would give anything for an hour or two of blissful sleep, here are some tips to ease the journey.
#1: Keep Day Naps Short and Sweet
If you want the baby to sleep longer during the night, then the naps during the day shouldn’t be longer than 2 or 2.5 hours. Still, it’s up to you, as a parent to observe the baby’s behavior and allow longer naps when they need it (in case the baby is overtired from all the activity they had).
Still, I found that breaking the sleep during the day into short naps, keeps the baby sleeping during the night. So, even though it may be difficult for you, it’s best to wake up your little angel, feed them, and play with them.
This creates a routine, and in time, the baby will follow it naturally.
#2: Feeding before Bedtime
Have you ever been awakened by a crying baby right before that moment when you’re ready to completely surrender to the world of dreams? If you have (or had) babies, you know what I’m talking about!
This moment is painful for the over-tired parent and can lead to increased irritation and anxiety. So, to avoid it, make sure Junior gets fed right before they fall asleep for the night.
#3: Get yourself a Good Mattress
When you sleep in short intervals you don’t need an extra stress factor to keep you up! So, invest in a mattress that will send you in direct slumber the moment you touch the surface. This product should have good ratings from people who understand the troubles of a new parent, so look for recommendations from online parent groups or friends.
#4: White Noise
Babies are easily excited by the noise around the house, so if you have people over or the dog/cat is making noise, you may not be able to convince them to go to sleep. This is how I learned that white noise is amazing at dampening the other sounds and keeping the baby asleep for the entire nap time.
#5: Take Turns with your Partner
A baby disrupts the life of adults, but this is how things go. Now, even though one of the partners is a stay-at-home parent, you should both be involved in feeding and caring for the baby during the night. This way, even though it is not the best sleep schedule, you both get at least a good night’s sleep every other night.
#6: Don’t Keep the Baby Awake for Too Long
While it’s important to limit the length of a day nap at about 2h at a time, it’s also important to not keep them awake for too long. Babies that are overtired are less likely to sleep for long during the night, because they get too excited.
#7: Adjust your Sleep Routine
I used to be a night owl, with my standard bedtime usually going as late as 2 am. However, when the babies came into my life, all this changed and I had to adapt to their schedule. Otherwise I was in danger of falling asleep behind the wheel, while going grocery shopping!
#8: Get Help
It’s only natural to want to spend every minute of every day with your bundle of joy, but you need some alone time (usually for sleeping). So, if you have relatives or friends you trust to take care of Junior, don’t hesitate to ask for their help!
Babies are a lot to take on, especially if you’re a single parent, so always look for someone who can give you a hand!