Welcoming a new baby into the world is an exciting time for parents. There are so many new sights, sounds and feelings you get to teach your bundle of joy. All said, transitioning into parenthood can be a difficult adjustment, especially when it comes to sleep. We spoke with Dr. Russell Horton, DO at Banner Health Center Queen Creek to write these seven tips you can use to sleep better now that you’ve brought your baby home.
1. Sleep When Baby Sleeps
When it comes to naptime, follow your baby’s lead and take time to rest when they do. Recharge your brain and wake up rested and ready to care for your sleeping beauty.
“The importance of sleep is heightened for new parents. Naturally, when we don’t receive enough sleep, we are prone to anxiety and emotional stressors. Sleep deprivation can impact new parents even more, impacting how they treat their partner and even baby.” Dr. Horton says. “Realistically, new parents should be creative in their approach to sleep. Knowing you’re going to be woken up many times in the night, try to make the most of every moment baby is sleeping by also napping. If you become overextended, reach out to a friend or family member to see if they can watch baby while you rest.”
2. Split Up Your Night into Two “Shifts”
According to the CDC, 33% of U.S. adults receive less than the recommended amount of sleep – and this isn’t exclusive to parents. Sleep is vital to the health of our entire body, making sure our brains, bodies, and organs are all functioning correctly. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep by splitting up the night into shifts, with one person waking up with baby during the first half and the second the latter.
3. Pump Before Nighttime
If you’re splitting up the night into two equal-parts, moms will want to pump before bedtime. This way, your partner doesn’t need to wake you if baby is hungry. Partners can learn more about breastfeeding alternatives and pumping at Banner Health’s Maternity Education & Support classes.
4. Ask for Help
Adjusting to parenthood can quickly become overwhelming for many, especially new parents and single parents. Reach out to friends and family members for help with day-to-day activities like laundry or dish duty, utilize services like grocery delivery if you’re able. Life is hectic and unpredictable as a new parent. You are doing enough. With time, you will adjust to your new lifestyle and make it the new normal.
5. Put Yourself in the Mood for Sleep
The day is over, baby is asleep, but you’re not tired. Why? New parents can get a “second wind” of adrenaline once baby goes to sleep so they can focus on cleaning the house, taking care of work and other household chores. Resist the urge to “do-it-all” and prioritize your sleep health. Put yourself in the mood for sleep after baby is in their crib by limiting screen-time, listening to calming music and practicing deep breathing exercises.
6. Prioritize Community Over Comparisons
Parenthood is different for every single person. No matter how someone’s life may appear on social media, adjusting to life with a new baby is a change for everyone. Think of social media as a “highlight” reel, not a behind-the-scenes look. Finding a community of likeminded parents near you can help you ease into the change and also gives your baby the chance to interact with others.
7. Talk to Your Doctor
Sleep is one of the most important things you can do for your health. Sleep affects almost every system in our body, from the brain, heart and lungs to immune functions and disease resistance. If you are finding it hard to get adequate levels of sleep, meet with your doctor at a Banner facility to discuss lifestyle and medication options that can help.