‘Whoever invented the phrase ‘slept like a baby’ clearly didn’t have one…’
Have you just had a baby? If so, make sure you read this post on the best sleep tips for new parents, which we hope will be music to any tired parents’ ears.
Are you stifling a yawn? Struggling to keep your eyes open? Feeling overwhelmed with tiredness? If you’ve just had a baby, we imagine it’s very likely that you are sleep deprived.
Sleep, or the lack of it, is one of the big topics of new parenthood. How long your newborn slept for, how many hours in bed you got, how much sleep adults need to survive, what does ‘sleeping through’ even mean anyway? We bet you’ve spent a lot of time discussing it.
But when your baby is sleeping like, well, a baby, how do you make sure you get enough rest too? We’ve looked at how to get a good night’s sleep in pregnancy, but what about when your new born arrives?
Here Are The Best Sleep Tips for New Parents
1. Firstly, accept that your baby won’t sleep all night
Newborns generally sleep a lot, but sometimes not at night. They tend to wake up many times during the night to feed. They probably won’t want to sleep in their lovely new cot bed you spent ages painstakingly picking out.
Although it’s tough, remember all this is just the way babies behave and doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with yours. Discuss it with your midwife or health visitor if you have any concerns but remember it’s normal. So, accept that you won’t sleep like you used to either.
2. Make sure you catch-up on sleep at other times
Everyone always tells new mums to ‘sleep when the baby sleeps,’ which often falls on deaf ears, because when you’re so busy looking after the baby, the time when they sleep is the only time you get to look after yourself (have a shower, eat some food, drink tea and so on).
However, it’s important for you to make up the sleep you’re not getting at night at other times. Look for other sleep solutions. If you have a partner, can they do the early shift while you have a mini lie in? Is there anyone that can hold them during the day for half an hour so you can nap? Can you go to bed at the same time you put the baby down for the evening, however early that is?
3. If you can’t sleep, make sure you rest
Even if you can’t sleep when the baby sleeps, it’s important to take an amount of time – however small – to rejuvenate yourself in the day. See if you can have a long bath with no interruptions, a shower, some time alone to watch your favourite TV show or even five baby-free minutes to scroll through Instagram. All of these will help you relax which is important when you’re tired.
4. Admit that sleep deprivation is tough
As Rachel wrote in her post on sleep deprivation, it’s OK to admit it’s tough, because it is! Sleep deprivation can make you forgetful, irrational and irritated. It’s difficult to deal with in what’s already a tricky time. There’s no shame in sharing this.
5. Make sure you ask for help if you need it
If your partner can take the baby for an hour or so during the day, make it happen. Do you have friends or relatives that can hold the baby while you have a nap? Invite them over.
6. Find sympathetic friends who are also sleep deprived
Try and find friends with new babies who are honest about how much their child sleeps, and willing to admit that they are finding it tough too. There’s nothing worse than over-competitive parents who boast about how brilliantly their child sleeps when you’re sitting there yawning.
7. Sleep with your phone in another room
It’s tempting to sleep with your phone by your bed and reach for it as soon as you wake up – we all do it! – but when you’re already struggling for sleep, this will make you more awake and the blue light from the screen can keep you awake for longer.
8. Trouble falling to sleep? Try these sleep tips for new parents
New mums often experience the state of being ‘tired and wired’ – physically exhausted but so pumped up on adrenaline you might find it tricky to drift off even when you get a chance to.
If you find yourself staring at the ceiling long after the baby has started snoring, try the following:
- Relaxing sleep music, or ambient sounds or white noise which work as sleeping music.
- Don’t be tempted by sleeping tablets, which could put you into such a deep sleep that you won’t hear the baby when they wake up.
- Remember your eye mask, especially if you used one before the baby.
- Try a sleeping meditation track from an app like Calm to relax you.
Make sure you also read our article on how to shake off the parenting blues