Probably the most sought-after commodity in a family that includes a newborn is sleep. With feedings and diaper changes being round-the-clock phenomena, babies do not necessarily adhere to the sleep schedules their parents had previously gotten used to. There are some things that new parents can do, however, to make the transition easier for everyone.
Prior to baby’s arrival, becoming educated on what is worrying an expectant mother the most is the best way to help her feel more confident and rest easier at night. It is helpful to obtain and read materials that explain whatever issues may be a concern, such as milestones to expect during and after pregnancy, infant car seat choices, cord blood banking and its applications in various medical treatments, even looking ahead to preschool options; regardless of the issue, being informed is the best defense against worry induced sleeplessness.
Once baby has arrived, if at all possible, Mommy can try to sleep when baby is sleeping. Newborns will generally sleep up to 18 hours in a 24-hour period. This just comes in snatches of anywhere from 20 minutes to 4 hours at a time. Moms who are able to settle in and catch a few winks while the baby is napping will have an easier time getting by with a little less sleep at night.
Another helpful tip is to keep the light low when up for midnight feedings and or diaper changes. Bright lights signal the brain that it is time to wake up. In order to keep this to a minimum, using low lights in areas where light is necessary to see, and keeping main lights turned off during night time tasks, can help when mommy and baby are ready to get back to sleep.
Developing bedtime routines will also help to get mom and baby into a positive rhythm with regard to sleep schedules. Moms may find it helpful to give baby a sponge-bath and smooth on a little baby lotion, dim the lights and have some quiet time, and just generally set a soothing stage for bedtime. The best time to start such a routine can be determined by the baby’s eating schedule.
Since babies are often lulled by the sucking motion, the bedtime nursing or bottle can be the perfect sendoff to sleep. If baby is bottle-fed, anticipating the feeding time and having the bottle all warmed and ready to go can also help to avoid baby getting upset and worked up after just getting calmed down. It’s also a good idea to have the diaper changing essentials close by and in a dimly lit area, just in case one more diaper change is necessary.
Though sleep patterns may change quite a bit with a newborn in the house, being well-rested does not have to be just a fond memory. As with other challenges that come with parenthood, getting enough rest is an important component of life that is attainable with some planning and adjustment.