Wandering around Facebook the other day I noted a funny post from Breastfeeding Arts, a wonderful local lactation consultant I know. With humor, she suggested that the new moms reading her status updates step away from their screens and instead, take a nap.
I repeat her suggestion here for all reading this.
The absolute best, proven way for parents of newborns to get some sleep is to sleep when their baby sleeps.
The new little person in your house has no built in clock, no regard for day and night. (BTW: This is TOTALLY NORMAL NEWBORN BEHAVIOR.) That new little person also requires frequent feeding to gain the body mass and develop the neurological capability to EVENTUALLY (but not likely now) put in longer hours of sleep. (BTW: This is TOTALLY NORMAL NEWBORN BEHAVIOR.)
And new parents have no crystal ball to know if their new baby will chose “tonight” or “later” to be fussy, hungry or just wide awake for no reason! (DITTO- NORMAL NEWBORN BEHAVIOR.)
Sleep when your baby sleeps.
Yes, I know you are busy. Yes, I know the days at home with a new baby may leave you feeling isolated and needing contact with your friends, job and family. Yes, I know you have older kids. (If so sleep during the day, when the older siblings are at school. If they are small enough to be home, for heaven’s sake – don’t give up their nap or rest time! And by all means, cash in on a few play dates for the older kids so you can rest.)
Sleep becomes your most precious commodity in the first few weeks and months of a baby’s life. So, if you must, divide the time when your baby is sleeping between naps and chores or emails.
But sleep for YOU must come first.
If you anticipate your baby will sleep about two hours or so between feedings, take a nap for the first hour and set the alarm to wake you so you can catch up on whatever is pressing during the second hour of your baby’s nap. You might even decide to give up that email check (phone call, laundry etc.) for another few minutes of precious SLEEP.
Please share your best sleep suggestions for new parents below in the comments box.