How to Get Sleep with a Newborn
If you’re reading this, you’re probably at wit’s end trying to figure out how to get sleep with a newborn. First things first. Relax. What you’re going through is completely normal, and you’re going to get through this. You’re going to understand your baby’s world a little better by the time you finish reading this, and you’re going to learn how to get sleep with a newborn. That you’re reaching out for help and trying to pace yourself so that you can give the best quality of life to your newborn is a great sign that you’re a good parent. Just about every parent at one time or another has wondered how in the world to get sleep with a newborn. Now let’s look at the problem and how to fix it!
Newborn Sleep Basics
Newborns sleep much more than adults. That’s undeniable. The average newborn will sleep 16-17 hours a day. It’s only natural, then, that any new parent is going to wonder exactly why the infant is sleeping so much and still managing to leave the new parent with a disturbing amount of sleep deprivation at times. The short and long answer is that it’s hard to get sleep with a newborn because newborns don’t have a regular sleep pattern like adults attempt to have. In fact, newborns don’t even know night from day, so while you’re snoozing away and enjoying the comfort of your bed, your newborn is still going to get hungry at the most inconvenient times. It may even be just a few hours before you need to go to work when you hear that adorable little newborn howl letting you know it’s time for them to eat or time for you to change a diaper.
Why Don’t Newborns Sleep On A Schedule?
As we’ve gone over, a newborn sleeps over twice as much as the average adult, so the problem isn’t that they don’t sleep. It’s that they don’t quite know when to sleep yet. Newborns need to be fed every 3-4 hours in order to be healthy. Sometimes they need a diaper change. Sometimes they get sick. And then sometimes, their little brains just feel like crying for a little while and getting a few snuggles from parents. The timing of their feedings can greatly interfere in your life and cause you exhaustion and sometimes even sleep deprivation. If your baby needs to be fed 5 hours before work, it can be almost impossible to get everything done and get back to sleep. Over time, the exhaustion becomes overwhelming, and you are left wondering how to get sleep with a newborn crying so often.
The symptoms of sleep deprivation on parents can be more severe than you might think. It’s well-known that sleep deprivation slows mental faculties and can make you very sluggish, and depending on your line of work the effects of this can range from annoying to dangerous. Because of the symptoms of sleep deprivation can be so devastating to your ability to function, it’s vital to find ways to get sleep with a newborn. If you’ve been up constantly at night tending to your newborn, you may experience the following symptoms of sleep deprivation:
- Tired parents will appear sadder than fully rested parents, and your newborn might be able to sense these emotions from you
- Sleep deprivation has been known to encourage more negative speech patterns, and this can make things difficult for the people in your life
- Sleep deprived people have fewer “happy” facial expressions, and this can make interaction difficult
- Concentration difficulties will be the most dangerous effect to deal with because if you have a concentration lapse on a dangerous job, you or someone else could get hurt
As you can see, sleep deprived parents face fewer positive reactions to parenthood. It’s vital that you get your sleep problems under control and learn how to get sleep with a newborn. That’s easier said than done when you have a newborn who needs to be fed every 3-4 hours and who can wake up at any time of the day or night. In the first two weeks of life, newborns don’t even know night from day, so they’re more apt to wake up at times that put you at risk for sleep deprivation. There are many things you can do to combat sleep deprivation and get sleep with a newborn.
How To Get Sleep With A Newborn
This is the crux of what you need to focus on during very early parenthood. Good sleep isn’t going to just fall in your lap, and it’s likely you’re going to still face some day’s low on sleep, but your job right now is to minimize the sleep deprivation and live a healthier lifestyle. Since your moods can sometimes affect your baby’s, it’s vital to get a good game plan going forward, and that’s exactly what you’re here to learn. This isn’t a 1-2-3 fix, but there are some things you can do to make life brighter for yourself going forward. If your newborn isn’t letting you sleep, here’s how you can get sleep with a newborn who just isn’t being very cooperative about sleeping.
- Just Say No: Many new parents take on too many extra projects while they’re coping with those first couple of months. If you have to tell a friend that you can’t meet for coffee that day because you need to snooze a bit, that’s okay! Don’t be afraid to make room in your schedule for cat naps here and there. Lazy days with no other plans, other than work, are okay. Clear out from your social life a little if you find yourself falling into the realm of sleep deprivation.
- Speak With Your Partner: If you have a partner, speak with them about the need for additional sleep and extra help. If you have family who can help you, let them know that a night at your house is free of charge and that you need a little help grabbing extra sleep. Even one sleepover with a friend or family member can net you a good night’s sleep if they’re willing to take care of baby’s needs while you sleep.
- Talk To A Doctor: If you’re experiencing mood swings, low mood, and even postpartem depression, it’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor and see if he can help you. There are times when the lack of sleep won’t come from your baby not sleeping. It may come because you have depression. There are many good anti-depressants and other medications that can help you weather this storm.
- Buy A Baby Monitor: If your baby doesn’t sleep in the same room with you, many new mothers worry that they’re going to sleep through their baby’s crying. This alone can cause you to be unable to fall asleep. With a baby monitor, you have a constant link to that adorable little sound that isn’t always so adorable. It will lessen your worry and enable you to sleep more peacefully.
- Talk To A Pediatrician: If this is a case of a baby that isn’t sleeping enough or simply doesn’t seem to want to sleep at all, then it is always wise to talk to a pediatrician! Babies can have sleep disorders, too, that make you unable to get sleep with a newborn.
Weathering The Storm
The first few months of a baby’s life will disrupt your sleep unlike anything else on earth. It’s an experience that so many new parents struggle with, and it’s perfectly natural to look for relief. Don’t be afraid to reach out to other people for help and look to doctors and pediatricians for the relief you need. Sleep deprivation can have serious consequences for both your physical and mental health and will interfere for the bonding experience you desperately want to have with your child. There’s no need to suffer needlessly from sleep deprivation when switching up a few of your routines can bring relief.
When you get sleep with a newborn, it’s sometimes the sweetest sleep you’ve ever had. It’s the kind of sleep that you really have to earn, so it’s all the sweeter when you’re finally in that dreamland you dream of while feeding a baby at 3 AM. So many new parents are afraid to ask for help or don’t feel it’s right to ask for help, and that’s a shame. Overall, it’s the quality of time you have with your newborn that will matter the most.
Taking care of their immediate needs is paramount, and it’s okay to let friends, family, and your significant other lend a hand when you’re dangerously close to that realm of sleep deprivation. Instead of weathering the storm and trying to be strong, it’s okay to break down and let someone else help you out. It’ll be good for you and in turn better for your child in the long run because you’re going to be a happier, more attentive parent when you’re happy and well-rested instead of worn out and struggling to keep up with the routine. Follow these few simple tips, and you’re going to be having sweeter dreams in no time.