Sleep when your baby sleeps. This advice is usually accompanied by a sympathetic look and pat on the shoulder. Great advice! Should I cook when the baby cooks, and clean when the baby cleans too? As frustrated as you are right now (sleepless nights will do that to you), there’s merit in this overused piece of advice.
Here’s some information to keep you sleeping semi-regularly in the first few months of parenthood:
If you can’t sleep when the baby sleeps, rest!
Your sanity and health take precedence over tidiness right now. When baby sleeps, take a load off. Although we may not be accustomed to short sporadic naps, any sleep is good sleep at this stage. If you can’t sleep, lay down and relax.
Nightshift work – The new baby edition
Alternate looking after the baby through the night with your partner. This tactic ensures at least one of you will be getting a good night‘s sleep. If you are breastfeeding it may mean expressing milk throughout the day, so your partner can feed baby at night.
Let family and friends help
It takes a village to raise a child, when your tribe offer to help, say yes! A delivered home-cooked meal from a friend, or a 30 minute nap whilst a family member gets to know the new addition can mean the difference between enjoying your baby’s cute face as he cries and locking yourself in the pantry to cry with them.
Stay away from caffeine close to bedtime
Although coffee is good to jump start your day having a coke at 6pm can make it hard to fall asleep (and you’re exhausted, remember?!). Stick to healthy, sleep-inducing snacks in the evening.
Don’t react to every peep your baby makes at night
Babies are active dreamers and make quite a bit of noise throughout the night, you don’t have to leap to their side every time they cry. Sometimes they are just fussing and readjusting. Sometimes they will settle and stop on their own after a minute or two. If the crying continues and gets louder a nappy change or feed may be in order.
Although stressful and tiring, this is a wonderful time for a parent. Most babies will sleep through the night by the time they are 4 months old. Shortly after that they will walk, talk, run and jump and you’ll look back fondly on this time of exhaustion.