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Tips To Help New Parents Fall Asleep

May 13, 2021

by carol evenson, guest contributor

Bringing a new baby home from the hospital is an incredible experience. However, those first few months with the infant can be tough.

After all, you and your partner will have to constantly feed, calm or change the baby whenever he cries for you. Many newborns also have trouble sleeping through the night, keeping everyone in the household awake.

Even when the baby does finally fall asleep, you may be too wound up to do the same. If you have sciatica, sleep positions that let you stay comfortable throughout the night may also be hard to find.

This lack of sleep is not just annoying. It can actually be quite dangerous.  Those who get less than five hours of sleep each day are four to five times more likely to be involved in a sleep-related car accident.

Luckily, this stage of parenthood does not last forever. Many babies start to sleep up to five hours at a time by the time they reach three or four months old.

Still, you do not have to wait to get a good night's sleep until your baby grows older. Here are some tips to help you sleep well even with a newborn in the house.

1. Create a Good Sleep Environment

It can be hard to fall asleep if you see the stresses of your day surrounding you. You should thus keep bills, clutter, and unfolded laundry out of your bedroom.

2. Improve Your Sleep Hygiene

Your body needs to understand when it is time to sleep. Establishing a regular routine can help you do this. Try to get to bed and wake up at approximately the same time each day.

To relax your mind before you fall asleep, read a book or take a warm bath. Avoid drinking caffeine at night, as the stimulants in coffee can keep you awake. You should also limit your electronics use before bed. The light that they give off can make your body think it is daytime.  

3. Do Not Be Afraid To Ask for Help

You do not get a special prize for surviving the first few months of parenthood on your own. Have a pal or relative watch the baby for a few hours while you get some much-needed rest.

If people come to see the baby, do not feel pressured to host, either. Instead of entertaining them or making them food, enlist their help.  

4. Work With Your Partner

If you run out of family members and friends who want to assist with chores, you can always talk to your partner about better splitting up the baby duties. This way, one of you can sleep while the other cares for the child.

Even if you are breastfeeding, you do not have to be responsible for every late-night feeding. Pump breast milk into a bottle so your significant other can feed the baby sometimes.  

5. Keep the Baby Close

It can be hard to fall asleep after walking from your bedroom to the nursery and back. Keeping the crib close to your bed during the baby's first few months of life can be incredibly helpful. Some bassinets even attach to your bed so you can rock your baby to sleep without your feet touching the floor.

It may be tempting to simply keep the baby in bed with you at night. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics warns parents not to do this because they could accidentally suffocate the baby.

6. Take Naps

Finally, do not underestimate the power of a good nap. If you get a brief break during the day, a short rest can do wonders. In fact, the National Sleep Foundation found that just a 20-minute nap can make you more alert and improve your mood.

Sleep is essential - even for parents of newborns. The above tips should help you get some much-needed shuteye even as you adjust to life with a new being in your house.

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