Written by Danielle
Having a newborn in the house can be rough on your sleep patterns, especially if you're a first-time parent adjusting to repeatedly waking throughout the night. The time you spend soothing or feeding your child can be a wonderful bonding time, but the resulting exhaustion can wear you down. Try some of these tips to get yourself through until your child begins sleeping through the night.
Schedule and delegate
Scheduling daytime activities with your baby can help you get through a sleepless time. Planning playtime, mealtime, and naptime can provide necessary structure and allow you to stay sane. Don't be afraid or hesitant to ask for help. You can’t be expected to do everything you used to before your baby arrived and you shouldn't try. Asking people in your support network to babysit while you nap or just spend some time on your own is perfectly reasonable. Consider trading tasks with your spouse so you're not trying to roust yourself at 6:00 a.m. after a 4:00 a.m. feeding. If you used to help older children get ready for school in the morning, consider trading for an evening task like cleaning the kitchen after dinner so you can get adequate sleep. Even an extra hour of rest can make a big difference in your day.
Comfort and dedication
If both you and your baby are comfortable at night, you will both be able to sleep more easily. One thing to pay special attention to is your temperature. Babies shouldn't have more than a light blanket over them; space heaters can help you both stay warm enough overnight. You can also wear comfy pajamas; fleece is an ideal material for staying warm without overheating.
You and your family should also sleep in a manner that works for you, such as utilizing a family bed and co-sleeping. Although many people may advise you to just put your baby in a crib and cry himself back to sleep so you can get some rest, it is important that you stick to your values. Thank them politely for their advice and let them know that co-sleeping is important to you and the ways you raise your child. It may be difficult to stand up to critics, but the way you choose to parent your child is exactly that: your choice.
Healthiness and housework
Sleep is vital to your health. Being too tired to shuttle older children to school, visit the doctor, run errands, or go to work doesn't benefit anyone. You may be tempted to do the dishes or clean the bathroom when your newborn goes down for a nap, but chores can wait. If you're tired and can take time for yourself to rest (i.e., you aren't chasing around a toddler who refuses to nap or using your precious free time to meet a deadline), skip the Swiffering for an afternoon and catch some Z's. Have no fear: the dust bunnies will be waiting for you upon your refreshed return.
When you're at your most frustrated and certain your child is never going to sleep through the night, remember that countless parents have survived similar sleepless nights. Just do the best you can, let friends and family lend a helping hand, and know the time you spend with your child in the earliest hours of the morning are helping you bond and build a lifelong trust.
About the author
Danielle, who blogs on behalf of Sears and other prestigious brands, enjoys helping her sister-in-law and brother with their newborn. She looks forward to visiting the local park with her niece when the weather warms up. Read Danielle's work at Eat Breathe Blog.