Newborn babies require about 8 to 9 hours of sleep throughout the day and then another 7 to 8 hours in the night for proper development. However, due to a small stomach and an underdeveloped circadian rhythm, most of this sleep comes in phases. Waking up every time your baby wakes up and waiting for them to sleep again can take a toll on the sleep quality of new parents.
The first three months can be particularly hard for new parents because of the baby’s inability to sleep for more than 3 hours or so at a stretch. Although night wake-up calls become less and less frequent as babies grow, some parents may have to deal with babies that don’t sleep through the night until they are one-year-old. We have therefore come up with 7 convenient tips for new parents that ensure a much-needed good night’s sleep.
Make Sure the Baby is Asleep
Like it or not, the sleep schedule of the baby is intertwined with that of their parents. This is why it is always a good idea to sleep as soon as you have made sure that the baby is asleep. To minimize the risk of postpartum depression it is essential that you complete the amount of sleep you require every day. It is therefore important to prioritize naps after the baby sleeps. House chores and other responsibilities should preferably be kept aside for a while.
Share Baby Wake-up Calls
Apart from the job of breastfeeding, almost every other responsibility related to the bay can be shared. Nighttime wake-up calls by the baby for nappy changing, bottle feeding, or simply holding the little one seems much less of a load when shared. Apart from encouraging the father to share these duties and take turns, mothers should be more willing to accept help from other family members and friends when they offer it.
Mind the Environment
New parents may want to apply a few upgrades to their bedroom environment to adjust to the sleep changes after the birth of a baby. Limit your screen time before retiring to bed and take care of any external noise to ensure a night of sound sleep. Buying special blackout curtains or investing in a new mattress is also a good idea to make your bedroom environment more sleep-friendly. There’s always a risk of allergic reactions caused by a mattress or the event of bedwetting when babies are around. Richard from InsideBedroom.com suggests how waterproof mattress encasements can not only prevent pests like bed bugs but also prevent the accumulation of allergens and molds.
Baby Sleeps Separately
Tempting as it may appear, it is important for new parents to realize that both the baby and the parents are much better-off sleeping in their separate own crib or bed. Though it is a common practice to keep the baby with you in the bed while feeding, it is advisable to quietly shift it to its separate sleeping place after it is asleep. Not only do both babies sleep well when placed in their own cribs or bassinet but the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is also reduced.
Avoid Bright Lights
New parents need to be mindful to abstain from using bright lights in the bedroom after the sun has gone down. Switch to specialized LED night lights that are easy on the eyes. Once awake, the baby may find it difficult to fall back asleep due to the overhead bright lights which means longer sleep interruptions for parents. Cease the use of any electronic items like smartphones, TVs, laptops, etc., at least 90 minutes before bedtime to ensure protection from the blue light they emit.
The Bedtime Ritual
It must seem less of a task to skip everything and jump right into the bed to achieve your good night’s sleep. However, the natural unwinding process of the mind and body is left incomplete without a proper bedtime ritual. Bedtime rituals for babies may include an oil massage, a diaper change, a story, or a lullaby. Similarly, to prepare your mind and body for the sleep ahead, parents should also perform certain relaxing activities like taking a hot shower, listening to soft music, doing yoga, etc.
Give yourself Some Time
Just because you have a baby now doesn’t mean you can forget your own existence. To maintain good sleep health, every new parent must squeeze out some time for themselves in the day that helps them release stress and soothe their mind. Follow a hobby, read a book, exercise, or leap outside for morning walks. It is crucial that you exercise regularly and expose yourself to an ample amount of sunlight to maintain a healthy circadian rhythm.
The first few months after childbirth are the most hectic and the most memorable for parents. New parents however must not hesitate before contacting concerned healthcare providers if they require any assistance regarding the poor sleep health of their child or that of their own.