Sleep Tips for First-Time Parents
Life with a newborn is exhausting. Sometimes it can feel like there's not even a second left to take care of yourself in the ways you're used to, because all that energy and attention is going to your baby.
The first months of learning how to keep a child safe, warm, fed, and clean can be the hardest for parents. Babies are routinely awake and need to eat every few hours, and that wreaks havoc on a normal adult sleep schedule.
Self-care is often one of the first things to go by the wayside for new parents. It's normal. But it's also important to remember to fill your own tank where you can.
Sleep when you have the opportunity; take advantage of your friends' or partners' offers to help; shower when you have the energy.
The good news? This stage is rough, but it doesn't last forever. By two or three months of age, babies are able to sleep for 5 or 6-hour stretches, and can be expected to sleep a full 7 or 8 hours after about four months.
If it's your first time going through this, it's going to be a challenge - but don't fret!
We've got some helpful tips that may let you fit more rest into your days and nights:
1. Sleep while the baby sleeps.
Newborns sleep for the majority of the day. The times will vary, but you can count on at least a few two- to three-hour naps. If you're able to - which is easier said than done sometimes - catch some Zzzs yourself when the baby is napping.
New parents are going to be sleep-deprived regardless, but naps throughout the day can work wonders.
2. Skip household chores.
Household duties like cleaning, laundry, cooking, and dishes can wait when you have a chance to get some sleep. Or, better yet - they can be delegated!
You have the supremely important job of keeping a tiny human alive, and that pushes the rest of your day-to-day priorities down the list. Let your partner, extended family, or friends take over for you, and any visitors to your home will understand if things aren't perfect.
3. Share baby duties with your partner.
Communicate with your partner about the best way for them to support you with things like feedings, diaper changes, and bath time.
For some couples, planning shifts or creating schedules for nighttime baby feedings is helpful. Others do better playing it by ear. What works for your family depends on the adults, the baby, and how feedings are being handled (breast, bottle, or some combination of both).
Breastfeeding moms can pump breast milk ahead of time so that their partners can take on at least some of the feedings.
Parents of newborns sometimes will sleep in different rooms, so that whoever isn't on baby duty that night can have a quiet place to catch up on sleep.
4. Ask friends and family for help.
Don't be afraid to ask your people for support. Friends and family will often be happy to come help in any way they can - with groceries, cooking, cleaning, or just holding the baby so you can conk out for a while and come back a few degrees more human.
Accept help when it's offered. When they say it takes a village, this is what they mean.
5. Invest in good sleep products and practices.
Proper sleep hygiene is always important - even when you don't have a newborn at home.
- Make sure your bedroom is conducive to sleep. It helps to have the space as dark and quiet as possible, and on the cooler side.
- Stay away from caffeine later in the day and electronic devices close to bedtime. They emit blue light, which can disrupt your body's natural sleep cycle.
- Wind down with mindful techniques like meditation or progressive muscle relaxation. Listening to soothing music or audio frequencies (white, pink or brown noise) can also support stress reduction.
- Ensure that your bed is comfortable enough. A high-quality bed that helps you achieve restful sleep is one of the best investments you can make.
(Our Majestic Beds Team Sleep Experts would be happy to talk to you about getting a better, deeper, and more comfortable sleep. Majestic Beds specializes in providing the right mattress, pillows, and bed foundations to help people achieve restorative sleep for a healthier, happier life - and we've been doing it for almost 30 years. We offer customizable designs that relieve pain and discomfort while providing the durable support you need.)
Remember: Your sleeplessness is temporary
We hope that some of these tips will help you improve the quality of your sleep or, at the very least, assure you that you're not alone.
If you're struggling, keep in mind that it won't be long before your baby sleeps in long enough stretches for you to get decent sleep regularly.
Until then, take good care of yourself. Eat well, hydrate, give yourself lots of grace, and rest as much as you possibly can.
You've earned it.
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Learning more about sleeping better and check out our other blog posts to enrich your sleep knowledge:
- Sleep and Stress: What's the Connection?
- Sleep During Pregnancy: A Pre-Parenthood Challenge
- His vs. Her: Sleep Needs Differ Between Men and Women
Our goal is always to provide you with the best bed products and use our expertise to give you a better quality of life through the power of sleep.