One of the most challenging aspects of being a new mother is learning how to adapt to your new role on limited sleep. Your sleep cycle will change drastically and will be very different from what you are used to. Newborn babies need feeding every 2-3 hours—they will not sleep for more than 3 hours at a time. This daunting schedule will continue for around the first 6-8 weeks. After a few months, your baby may begin sleeping through the night (if you are lucky).
Tips to help your baby off to sleep:
- Just like adults, babies need to be relaxed before they drift off to sleep. Excitement stimulates the brain and increases the heart rate—neither is conducive to sleep. Take some time before bed (approximately 30 minutes) to relax your baby. Back rubs and gentle rocking are both great ways to help your baby relax.
- Ensure the temperature of the room is right, and that your baby is comfortable—even adults find it impossible to sleep if you're not comfortable!
- Consider wrapping your baby in a swaddle. The swaddle will help them feel safe and warm, which is particularly useful for babies who don't enjoy being left alone or untouched. There are many swaddle options on the market designed to accommodate your baby's favorite position to sleep. Popular swaddle types include arms-up (Love to Dream Swaddle) or arms-over-heart (Living Textiles Zip Up Swaddle). Most babies love to be swaddled in the first 4 – 6 weeks, so it is worth finding a swaddle that works for you.
- If your baby frequently becomes too hungry to sleep, consider nursing a few hours before bedtime, rather than right before. This will help them learn that they don't need to eat to be able to sleep.
- Get to learn your baby's sleep signals like yawning and rubbing and act on them as soon as you can.
- Soft light and white noise can often help babies drift off to sleep. Try a sleep aid like the Chicco First Dreams Lullaby or Projector.
Sleep isn't just crucial for your baby; it's also vital for you. It's incredibly hard to deal with a tiny human who can't voice what is upsetting them if you are sleep deprived and cranky. It is well-accepted that getting a good night's sleep in these early days is something of a luxury. It's important to ensure you take every opportunity to get some sleep. The easiest way to increase your sleep is to sleep when your baby sleeps. You may not be someone who naps easily in normal circumstances, but with a young one in the house, you'll already be tired. It won't be long before you're a seasoned napper.
A soothing room for your baby, a stylish cot, cozy blankets, and beautiful sheet sets are all helpful ways to make the temporary tortures of sleep deprivation more bearable. Whatever your style, there's something to satisfy any aesthetic-conscious parent.