9 ways to get more sleep with a newbornClick here to view the full magazine article
Newborns sleep a lot; however, most young babies don't sleep for very long periods of time before waking up. So, Mom and dad will probably find it difficult to get adequate sleep throughout the night because baby will be waking them up so often. We have come up with some ideas for new parents to get more sleep.
A well-slept parent is vital because the baby is depending on him or her for every detail of their life. Here are some tips that seem to have worked for people whom we asked the question "What ideas do you have for new parents to get more sleep when they have a newborn?"
If mom breastfeeds, pump a bottle of milk and then go to bed early. Let dad stay up until baby needs to be fed again and have him feed the baby the bottle of pumped milk. This will help mom get a longer duration of sleep. You can also try having dad feed baby a bottle in the morning rather than at night. It just depends on if dad is more of a morning person than a night person.
Try to dim the lights as much as possible during night feedings so that mom (or dad) will find it easier to get back to sleep after baby gets fed.
Avoid stress. Being stressed out can make it harder to sleep and you will feel much more tired throughout the day.
You have probably heard this a million times, but try to sleep when the baby is sleeping during the day.
If baby is sleeping in the parent's room and one of the parents is a really light sleeper, any movement made by baby could wake him or her out of a sleep cycle. Try moving the baby into a different room.
If mom breastfeeds, she should try laying down to feed baby during the night. It will probably be easier for her to fall asleep if she hasn't been sitting up for awhile.
It only takes one person to feed baby. If baby is sleeping in his or her own room, whoever gets up with the baby should try to close any doors that separate the baby's sleeping area and the sleeping parent so that at least one parent can get some rest if baby starts to cry.
Enlist the help of a friend or family member. Have someone you trust come over and tend your baby for awhile while you get some sleep.
Call your health care professional if you have any questions or concerns.
Baby Sleeping Habits
Newborns typically sleep for 14 to 18 hours a day during the first week and 12 to 16 hours by the time they are a month old.
Most babies don't stay asleep for more than two to four hours at a time, day or night, during the first few weeks of life.
At 6 to 8 weeks of age, most babies begin to sleep for shorter periods during the day and longer periods at night, though most continue to wake up to feed during the night.
Most babies between 3 to 6 months of age are capable of sleeping a stretch of five or six hours through the night.
It is always a good idea to teach baby good sleep habits from the start.
Return to February 2008 list of articles