Whether you’re a solo parent or two parents trying to care for your new baby, getting sleep can be a frustrating process. These ways for new parents to get more sleep will hopefully improve your sleep quality. Try one or more of these sleep strategies in your daily routine and see if you can sneak in as much sleep as possible. Sleep is essential for your health and happiness. While you shouldn’t agonize or obsess about getting enough sleep—an impossible task at first with a newborn!—you should make sleep one of your priorities. Ease the transition with some of these sleep tips for new parents. It’s important to take care of yourself as well as your baby!
9 Sleep Tips for New Parents
If it’s not working, stop trying to get sleep at night.
So many parents can’t sleep for 30 minutes to 2-3 hours a time at night. Many babies can’t settle for longer periods, so it’s difficult for parents to sleep when baby sleeps. If this is the case, stop trying to get your sleep at night. Instead, stay up with the baby. Feed and coddle your baby when he or she is fussy. The rest of the time try doing something fun for yourself or take care of chores that have been piling up during the week. If you have a nanny or grandparent available, give them the baby during the day when your “night shift” is over and enjoy hours of uninterrupted peace. A little topsy-turvyness in your routine is worth it for a deep sleep! This will also take the frustration out of caring for your baby and make your home life easier.
Avoid using tech devices before bed.
It’s so tempting to pick up your phone or tablet for “me time” when the baby has gone down to bed. But the bright screens provide excessive stimulation, keeping you alert and tense. Try to decompress another way: take a bath, read a book, listen to music. These activities will relax your body after a draining day, helping you fall asleep and stay asleep.
Rely on relatives to help babysit, even in the early stages.
It’s difficult to rely on others for help, especially when you are new parents wanting to be loving, baby “experts” to your baby. It is important to learn your baby’s cues, provide comfort, and create a steady care routine. But it’s also essential to get enough sleep. Without sleep, you can’t be functional parents. When relatives come over, don’t feel you need to entertain or spend lengthy periods of time visiting. Hand your baby over and get some sleep! You deserve it and you need it.
Pump and take turns feeding.
Pump during the day on off times so someone else can feed the baby while you nap. Now you and your partner can take turns feeding. This will help prevent exhaustion-driven fights in your relationship, about which partner is taking on more than the other.
Alternate nights and sleep in separate bedrooms.
Take turns caring for the baby and alternate nights, so each caregiver gets a decent night’s sleep a few days a week. Whoever cares for the baby that night can sleep in a separate bedroom with the baby. This way, the sleeping partner won’t hear the noise and achieves a blissful sleep undisturbed.
Consider if your baby has colic or is allergic to your milk.
If your baby won’t settle the entire night, cries until red in the face, or cries as if he or she is in pain, your baby might be colicky. Consult with your doctor about ways you can help your baby through colic. Another issue to consider: is your baby allergic to the breast milk? Many babies can be allergic and require soy formula instead. It’s possible that your baby cannot sleep for these reasons. If so, problem-solving these issues will help you get more sleep.
Stay on a strict sleep schedule, no matter what!
Try to establish a sleep schedule and stick to it every night. Put your baby down for the night at the same time. Repeat the exact same routine nightly. If you read to your baby, read to him or her every night—the sound of your voice will be familiar and soothing. A personalized baby book is especially engaging for little ones and will soothe them to sleep. Babies can start sleeping through the night uninterrupted, for about 6-8 hours, when they are 3 months old. Once they hit this milestone, leave baby in their room even if they cry. This will help your baby adapt to a new sleep schedule and learn that feedings no longer happen in the night. Your baby will cry for food because they want it, but that doesn’t mean they need it every 2 hours anymore. Stay firm with your schedule and develop healthy sleep patterns.
Set an early bedtime and feed right before bed.
Feed your baby right before their bedtime (about 8:30pm to 9:30pm) and then go to bed yourself. An early bedtime will help you maximize sleep hours. Your baby will likely sleep for 2-4 hours, and then your partner can bottle feed in the night. When your baby wakes up early, you can take the next shift. But at least you’ll get 5-6 hours of sleep—enough to feel refreshed and ready for the morning!
Play white noise or music—for you and your baby!
Sometimes silence does more harm than good. Music or white noise can help your baby sleep in the night—and it might help you too! We recommend using brown noise, if you find white noise is too harsh or loud. Download an app on your phone and play it through the night to help you and your little one stay asleep.