How To Get Sleep With A Newborn Baby
(BlackDoctor.org) — You place your precious angel in its crib, tip-toe out of the room, turn on the baby monitor, creep to your bed, lay down, and then…. “Wahhhhhhh!” Your baby is up and shrieking at the top of their lungs, again.
It might not seem like it at the moment, but hope is in sight. By age 6 months, nighttime stretches of nine to 12 hours are possible. In the meantime, a little creativity can help you sneak in as many zzz’s as possible.
Suggestions for the weary
There’s no magical formula for getting enough sleep, but these tried-and-true tips may give you a few ideas.
• Sleep when your baby sleeps. Turn off the ringer on the phone, hide the laundry basket, and ignore the dishes in the kitchen sink. Your chores can wait.
• Set aside your social graces. When friends and loved ones visit, don’t offer to be the host. Let them care for the baby while you excuse yourself for some much needed rest.
• Reclaim your bedroom. At first, it may be most practical to share a bedroom with your baby — especially if you’re breast-feeding. But if your baby’s breathing, squirming, and general restlessness keep you awake, separate rooms may be the key to sound sleep.
• Turn down the baby monitor. Lying in bed listening to every breath may be just as disruptive as your baby being in the same room. Buy a baby monitor with adjustable volume, like the Summer Infant – Secure Sounds 2.4 GHz Digital Baby Monitor sold at Wal-Mart. Adjust the volume based on how loudly your baby cries.
• Share nighttime duties. Work out a schedule with your partner that allows both of you to rest and care for the baby. If you’re breast-feeding, perhaps your partner can bring you the baby and handle nighttime diaper changes. If you’re using a bottle, take turns feeding the baby.
• Postpone the inevitable. Sometimes, middle-of-the-night fussing or crying is simply a sign that your baby is settling down. Unless you suspect that your baby is hungry or uncomfortable, it’s OK to wait a few minutes to see what happens.
• Ask for help when you need it. Take advantage of baby-sitting offers from trusted friends or loved ones. You don’t need to go out — simply head to your bedroom and close the door. Even an hour to yourself now and then can help you maintain your energy.
When sleep becomes a struggle
The rigors of caring for a newborn may leave you so exhausted that you could fall asleep anytime, anywhere. But that’s not always the case.
If you have trouble falling asleep, make sure your environment is suited for sleep. Choose a comfortable mattress and pillow, turn off the TV, and keep the room cool and dark. Avoid nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol late in the day or at night. Finally, don’t agonize over falling asleep. If you don’t nod off within 30 minutes, get up and do something else. When you begin to feel drowsy, try to fall asleep again.
If you’re still struggling to sleep after a week or two, consult your doctor. Identifying and treating any underlying conditions can help you get the rest you need.