Having a newborn in the home is a beautiful and exciting thing. You and everyone else will want to cuddle and coo at the adorable new little one while they get to know him. However, after a few nights with very little sleep, some of the thrill may fade away for mommy and daddy. You may feel very emotional, unable to concentrate, and even the simplest tasks, may seem like more than you can bare. It is a phase in life that will pass quickly and before long you will be getting more sleep, along with your little one. Until then though, here are a few tips on how to get through sleepless nights with an infant.
Rest When She Sleeps
For the first six weeks of life, your little bundle will most likely be up every two to three hours around the clock. This is when you level of sleep will drop the most. Instead of walking around like a zombie while everyone else is going gaga over your little one, make sure you rest a little, too. Rest during the daytime hours may be hard for some parents, but even if you just lay down and close your eyes for the two hours that your infant is sleeping, you will still feel calmer and less cranky. When you have a newborn, sun up does not have to mean you are. For parents who cannot sleep during the day, putting lavender scents on your pillows and other things may help you relax enough to stay calm so that when the baby does sleep during the darker hours, you can take full advantage of it.
Encourage Daytime Fun
Even if you are zombie-fied during the daytime hours, remember that you need to be the one to help your little one sleep at night. Often when a baby is born, they will want to sleep all day and party during the night. A lot of babies are more playful and social during the dark hours. You are the one who has to make this change, for yourself and for them.
This means making the daytime more active. When your baby lays down for a nap, try to keep the TV on its normal volume range, have her sleep where people are going to be moving around, and let her hear the “noises” of life. When she is awake, encourage playing. Keep the house bright using lights or natural lighting. You do not have to keep her awake hours after she starts to fuss, but keeping her awake until she is really ready for sleep and laying her down when she is drowsy, will ensure she learns that she does not need you to go to sleep.
At night, when it is nearing bedtime for all, turn off the TV, turn off the lights, put him further away from noise, and you may even turn on a white noise to drown out other noises in the home. When he does wake up during the night, even if you are tempted to smile and talk or turn on the lights and the TV to keep yourself awake, you should resist temptation. Keep the nighttime activity down so that he can see that there is a difference between night and day.
If All Else Fails to Help You
Trading off with your partner or someone else that you trust to watch your little one is a good option for most parents. This will allow you to get a little more sleep. You should also lessen the amount that you have to do during the day, drink plenty of water, a little caffeine if you need it, and maintain a good diet. The water and diet is the most crucial. Water can wake most people up more effectively than caffeine.
You should also keep in mind that this is all temporary. Within a couple months, you little one may start allowing you to sleep, “Through the night” or about 5 hours, which will feel like a blessing as long as you take advantage of it and sleep when he does. A few more months of this and you will be able to get back to your regular sleep schedule, perhaps with a few minor tweaks.