Anyone who has ever been a new mom or dad will tell you that sleep is a precious commodity, one that is often in short supply. However, sleep deprivation can make navigating life with a newborn even more difficult. To keep you feeling your best, it’s important to optimize every potential sleep opportunity. Here are seven ways to get better sleep as a new parent.
The best temperature for sleeping is between 60–67 degrees Fahrenheit. Although our bodies are designed to regulate our body temperature, this system of temperature regulation is less efficient while we sleep. As a new parent, every minute of sleep counts, so help support better sleep by keeping your bedroom or nursery (if that’s where you’re spending nights with your newborn) set to a comfortable temperature.
If you’re a new mom, you may have discovered that pacifiers are often the key to soothing your baby into slumber. However, to take this soothing to the next level, especially for babies who are teething, consider popping your pacifier in the refrigerator. The coldness of the pacifier can help numb your baby’s gum pain so they’ll fall asleep. Once your baby is sleeping peacefully, you can finally get some rest of your own.
If family and friends are coming over to visit and you haven’t had a good night’s rest in a while, consider asking them to watch the baby while you get a nap. Even just 20 minutes can make a difference in your ability to feel refreshed and ready to take on the rest of the day. There’s no shame in asking for help when you need it. Additionally, if you need to pump while you have guests, a breastfeeding coverup can ensure that you feel comfortable while checking off your to-do list.
Whether your newborn is in a bassinet next to your bed or has transitioned into their own crib, House Method recommends creating an environment that is specifically designed for sound sleep. Blackout curtains and a white noise machine could set the mood while you’re breastfeeding, so everyone can get ready for some shut-eye.
Many nursing moms feel as though they’re responsible for doing all night feedings with their newborns. However, two-parent households can benefit from trading off nighttime feedings. If you’re still nursing, be sure to pump enough breast milk in advance, so your spouse has all the tools they need to make that middle-of-the-night feeding a success. Additionally, if you’re pumping or breastfeeding while out of the house, a nursing cover could make the process smoother.
Many new parents assume that they should be productive while their baby is napping. However, for combating sleep deprivation, the best choice you can make is to nap while your baby is napping. Even if you can’t fall asleep, the time spent relaxing will help you make it through the rest of the day.
Most new parents are highly concerned about their baby’s ability to get back to sleep and stay asleep. While infants will need more attention than, say, a four-month-old, by the time a baby is about six months old, he or she will likely be able to sleep for seven to eight hours at a time. Teach your baby to self-soothe and fall back to sleep without the help of nursing or rocking. This will give you the ability to actually get the sound sleep you need.
If you’re a new parent, getting better sleep may sound like a pipe dream. However, with a few of these tips, you’ll be on your way to a good night of rest in no time.
About the Author:
Kay Pascale is a health and wellness writer. In her free time, she loves to cook, travel with friends, and go on long walks with her dog.