Baby sleep – how I cope
Baby sleep is the one thing about having a baby that no one can prepare new parents for. Those first few months are shattering, and I was nervous about going through it a second time with our newborn.
But there are a few key time-saving tips that helped us with our first child and that I’m depending upon now with our second one to steal back a few invaluable hours.
- Set up a changing station on your bedside table
- Try feeding with your eyes shut
- Take turns on the weekends having a late morning
- Shop online
- Keep track of when you feed your baby
- Write down when the older child eats
- Label the kitchen cabinets
- Minimalistic routines
- Reduce the laundry pile
- Life-saving baby items
10 tips for helping you and your baby sleep
Before writing this I decided to add up the average hours of sleep I’ve had per night over the last few weeks. It’s not particularly encouraging and left me wondering whether I’m actually qualified to write this post! Still, if nothing else then, hopefully, you’ll feel less alone.
- Set up a changing station on your bedside table. Ours has several diapers, wipes, diaper cream, a few changes of clothes, nursing shawl and bibs. We’ve also popped a night-light adaptor on our bedside lamp. All of this helps ensure your baby isn’t stimulated into staying awake by unnecessarily bright lights or movement.
- Try feeding with your eyes shut. Babies crave interaction and feeds are a perfect time to do that so they’ll often seek eye contact. But since they have no body clock you’ll need to help them distinguish between interactive day feeds and sleepy night feeds. So, try feeding with your eyes shut at night. Your baby will eventually mimic you, thus encouraging them (and you) to get back to sleep quicker.
- Take turns on the weekends having a late morning. If you wake at the slightest noise from your little bundle (I can almost see your wry smiles as you read this!), take turns on the weekends having a late morning or bring your baby to another room so that your partner can catch a few winks. It might not always work out if the baby wakes for an unexpected feed, but that’s where tip no.2 comes in handy. Besides, at this stage, even a 10-minute nap isn’t to be missed! Tips from Michelle who suffered from 4 years of broken sleep
- Shop online. Our food delivery service saves our shopping list so our favorite items are just a click away. It’s quick and easy, and you can even do it during a night feed. Make sure that you include plenty of easy meals – as a rule, I’m only cooking meals that take a maximum of 15 minutes – and keep stocked up on tea or coffee and snacks for your visitors.
- Keep track of when you feed your baby. There are plenty of apps for this, but I just list them on my phone. It may sound time-consuming, but it will let you estimate when you can steal a few hours’ sleep a couple of times a week. I find the best time is before the nighttime feed. It’s worth it, even though it means missing quality time in the evenings or your favorite series (I record mine to watch when our newborn skips a night feed and I have more energy).
- Write down when the older child eats. If you have an older child to take care of and have any help, write down the time when they eat and put it somewhere in plain sight; ours is stuck on the fridge.
- Label the kitchen cabinets, since guests (family or otherwise) may feel shy about rummaging and this will stop you having to point everything out, allowing them to feel at ease making cups of tea while you put your feet up for a few minutes.
- Minimalistic routines. Even getting washed and dressed in the mornings takes up valuable time, so streamline your wardrobe to a few key, comfortable items that you can grab easily. This is especially important if you’ve had a C-section. Minimize your makeup routine to the essentials that will make you feel that bit perkier and, if you don’t have time to wash your hair, use dry shampoo.
- Reduce the laundry pile. How is it that such little people can generate such huge amounts of laundry? Investing in bibs and nursing shawls reduces the piles significantly. And since they’re so cheap, indulge and buy yourself enough.
- Life-saving baby items! If you have a baby carrier or sling, pop your little one in it while you’re doing chores during the day. They’ll love being close to you, and being upright helps unstick some of those burps (apparently this is also great for establishing feeding routines since it makes more room for milk and encourages more daytime feeding).
Parents talking about newborn sleep: How to get a baby to sleep
I really hope these baby sleep tips help you as much as they’ve helped us, but they’re far from an exhaustive list. So, if you have some of your own, please share them so we can all give them a try.
As an English teacher, it’s probably no surprise that I’ve always wanted to write. Finally finding myself with something to share, I started my blog while in the final trimester with our first (he caught us off-guard by arriving one month early and just in time for Christmas).
Our daughter was born this spring so we’re now full-fledged members of the crazy two-under-two club – there’s 15 months between them! Add an excitable puppy to the mix and life is pretty hectic, but that’s how we like it, I think!