New Parents: How to get sleep

The first week home with a new baby is all about survival.

The first week home with a new baby is all about survival. Normal sleeping hours and regular eating habits often fall by the wayside for whatever your newborn needs. Get through the first week in one piece and also sneak in an extra few hours of shuteye with these simple tips.

While parents tend to make concrete plans for their children to be in bed at a certain time and stick to a routine, they rarely make the same commitment to their own slumber.

Keep visitors at bay

It is ok – in fact, it is recommended – to put off the hoards of baby visits until the week after you get home from hospital. You need some time to adjust and get used to this newness, and on top of that, unannounced drop-ins can make it difficult to catch some shut-eye. Your closest family and friends will arrive and understand your needs, but everyone else can wait a week in the interest of your sanity and sleep schedule.

Accept help

If your mother-in-law lands on your doorstep to coo over the new baby and she tells you to go lie down for a bit - do it. Don’t pass up on a single offer to rest. Seize every opportunity for a little quiet time—it makes a real difference.

Meal prep

Try to prepare dinners and snacks ahead of time to save precious hours in the kitchen that you could be spending catching up on valuable hours of sleep. Try making and freezing muffins and breads for a midnight snack, easy-to-cook meals like lasagne, soups, stews and even pre-make sandwiches for when you’re in a bind.

Plan ahead

Check your calendar for what bills will be due around the time that your baby is expected and pay ahead – you’ll have enough to think about when the date creeps up.

Stock up

Bulk buy things like toilet paper, kitchen paper, personal hygiene products and nappies – the things you’re most likely to run out of in that first fortnight. Order your groceries online for delivery so you have to do as little errand-running as possible between feedings and naps (yours and baby’s).

Laundry

Do one load of laundry overnight, each night. That way, you’re not losing precious getting-through-laundry hours while you sleep and the laundry will never get out of control, keeping you up into the wee hours folding tiny clothes into tiny piles.

Playdates for siblings

Have other kids and not just a newborn? Make sure to have your friends’ kids over before the baby comes so that they’re happy to return the favour the week you get home with your littlest bundle of joy. Then you’ll actually be able to sleep when baby sleeps.

Avoid snacks and drinks

If you want to maximize your sleep quality, avoid snacks and any drinks (including water) close to bedtime. While initially these might make you feel more content, food and drinks cause your body to work long after you close your eyes, thus keeping you awake or leading to a restless sleep.

Stretch

Avoid exercises that get your heart rate up but stretching gently is beneficial and relaxing for both the mind and body. Breathe deeply and reflect on the things you are grateful for in your life.

Avoid screens

As well as artificial blue light from screens disrupting our sleep, watching the news, a suspenseful show or checking social media has been proven to give most adults anxious or stressed feelings. One of the main reasons people cite for having difficulty falling asleep are feelings of anxiety and stress. While this simple tip will not rid you of all anxiety or stress, it will give you the power to avoid adding to it and encourage winding down your brain.



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