Did you know that new parents have a shocking sleep deficit of six months for the first two years of a child’s life?
If you’re a new parent — or getting ready for a new arrival — we know you want to learn how to get some sleep. You’ve heard countless horror stories of parents who survive on one to two hours a night for months at a time.
You want to learn what you can about creating a new parent sleep schedule that will allow both you and your partner to rest when you can. After all, you want to be the best parent possible, and take care of yourself in the process.
You’ve come to the right place.
Learn our top tips to ward off sleep deprivation as a new parent.
1. Optimize Your Sleeping Space
In order to get a good night’s rest as a new parent, you need to take a hard look at your current bedroom situation.
Are you comfortable with your mattress? Do you find that street noise keeps you awake at night? If so, then now might be the time to invest in a noise machine.
Bothered by lights from your street? Consider picking up some blackout curtains or some window blinds. Now is the time to do all of this. You just won’t have the hours available once the baby arrives.
Additionally, consider those smaller sources of light in your room that can make it tough for you to fall asleep. Get some blackout stickers to place over tiny lights from charging electronics.
2. Invest in the Right Pillow
In addition to making sure that you have a comfortable mattress and an ideal bedroom space?
You should also consider investing in a new pillow. Consider how your current sleeping position might be making it harder for you to get a good night’s sleep.
Things like the Belly Sleep pillow can help you to stop snoring and even manage the symptoms of sleep apnea. If you prefer to sleep on your stomach, pillows like this can improve the quality of your sleep.
Even if you can’t get extra hours of sleep, the truth is the right accessories can improve its quality. Plus, if you deal with pain at night, getting a sleeping accessory can offer natural pain relief.
3. Create a Shift Schedule with Your Partner
It’s no secret that parenting is a team effort.
That said, especially if both of you are working, you need to take the time now to figure out how your sleep schedule will work. Just because you’re the mother, and therefore provide the baby with milk, doesn’t mean that you’re the only one who can get up in the middle of the night to feed them.
Remember that pumping and putting your milk in a bottle is an option you have.
Try to create a schedule that’s fair to you both, even if it means that the parent who has an “off night” gets to sleep in a room to themselves.
Don’t feel obligated to try co-sleeping with your child. This can certainly make it tough for both parents to get some sleep.
4. Eat, Wake, Sleep
Part of learning how to get some sleep as a new parent is all about understanding your child’s sleep cycle.
And, in spite of what you may have heard, there are ways you can keep that cycle at least somewhat consistent.
When the baby wakes up naturally, feed them as soon as possible. After their meal, you can play and talk with them while they’re awake for a few hours.
Because the baby is wide awake right after they wake up, and will have high energy levels for a while afterward, they’ll be more likely to eat to their fill. This means they’ll be less likely to wake you up for a feeding in the middle of the night.
After playing, let them sleep. Embrace the idea of self-soothing, too.
5. Follow the Golden Rule
We know that you’ve likely heard the golden rule of the new parent sleep schedule: sleep whenever your baby sleeps.
The truth is that this is a classic piece of advice for a reason — because it works. We know that you might want to take the time when your baby is asleep to do some chores, spend time with your friends, or even do a little bit of meal prep.
But, especially in the first few months of a baby’s life, sleep has to be priority one.
Above all, don’t feel “ashamed” to ask for help or even pay for the occasional sitter or maid service. You might feel embarrassed that you’re not the “perfect” mom or father. You might even feel guilty for prioritizing your own needs.
But if you’re sleep deprived, you just can’t care for your child.
It takes a village to raise a child for a reason, after all.
Get Some Sleep as a New Parent with These Tips
We hope that this post has helped to remind you that it is indeed possible to get some sleep as a new parent.
Whether it’s creating a sleep schedule with your partner, investing in the right accessories to make it easier to sleep, or even sleeping when your baby does, do what works best for you.
Looking for more tips on how to take care of your emotional health as a new mom or dad? Want some advice on understanding how to ask for help? Need a little assistance mastering the art of work-life balance?
Keep checking back with our blog to get tips on all of that and much more.
Above all, remember: you can do this!