getting enough sleep

8 Tips for Getting Enough Sleep with a New Baby

In my experience some babies are alert all day, and sleep pretty well at night. Some snooze away the day and come awake at night. And still others don’t seem to need any sleep at all. Whatever the case with your baby, the first months of parenthood inevitably mean sleep deprivation for the grown-ups.

Here are a few tips on how to prioritise sleep so that you not only feel more like a functioning human, but you are better able to enjoy and take care of your baby.

  1. Give baby the best chance to get a good sleep routine happening. If baby sleeps well, you’ll sleep well. Make sure their sleep environment is nice and dim and a good temperature. Practice swaddling, which can help stop baby from startling themselves awake. Often a white noise machine, or some form of relaxing music helps. Baby has grown in your belly with all the noise of heartbeats, breathing and digestion for company, so many babies find silence distressing. Learning how to massage your baby so they can relax can also help them drift off more easily, and has the added benefit of being a beautiful time of bonding. You might also like to check out our article on Co-Sleeping (link to article). It can be a game changer when it comes to getting enough sleep.
  2. If baby needs an environment conducive to sleep – so do you. If at all possible, avoid clutter and non-sleep-related things, like work desks, in the bedroom. Even if this means you have to move some of your clutter to the loungeroom, you need an oasis in which you can relax. You won’t do that staring at the pile of ironing in the corner.
  3. Set up good sleep routines. Generally, the first ‘long’ stretch babies sleep is in the evening, through to around midnight. Work out when that long stretch is for your baby and be prepared. Turn off any electronic devices 1-2 hours beforehand and once baby is down, start your own sleep preparation. Whether that’s a soak in the bath, or time with a book, that routine will help remind your brain it’s time to sleep, no matter what the clock says.
  4. Embrace the nap. Power Nap. Nana Nap. Siesta. Whatever you want to call it, if baby has a 45-minute sleep in the afternoon, or the morning for that matter, get on it. A nap won’t fully replace a good night’s sleep, but it sure will help.
  5. Set up a roster with your partner. If your partner normally heads to bed around 11, maybe they can take any feeds or resettling up to 11, so you can get in a solid 4 hours, and you do the after midnight. If they get up early for work, maybe they can take the dawn feed before they head out. Work out what works for you. And don’t let breastfeeding stand in the way. One word for you. Express.
  6. Ask for help. If you’re not coping, and believe me you wouldn’t be alone in that, don’t be afraid to ask friends or family to step in and watch baby while you have a nap. And if baby is fussy and they can them for a walk, so much the better. What you don’t hear won’t hurt you.
  7. Relax. It’s not quite the same as sleep, but spending some time relaxing can help enormously. And yes, it is possible to relax with a baby. Often, particularly with very young babies, they just want to be near you, so curl up on the sofa together – or the floor, or the bed – and watch some tv, or read them a book. If you’re horizontal your body will relax. You might even find you drift off together. Just make sure wherever you do this baby is safe.
  8. Take care of your body with good food and exercise. This may seem counterintuitive, but the endorphins exercise releases will give you energy. And by choosing highly nutritious foods you are giving your body the building blocks it needs to recover from pregnancy and childbirth.

Of course, you can always call in the experts. Postpartum doulas have a great deal of experience and expertise in helping you learn how to settle your baby. They can also provide nutritious meals to help get you back on your feet, and watch baby for you while you enjoy that nap you so desperately need.

If you would like to talk about how a Postpartum Doula can help you get enough sleep in those challenging first months of parenthood, I would love to chat. Give me a call on 0422 258 771 or contact me: