Newborn sleep tips!
Here’s what we know: I’m a lucky mom who had a baby that slept most of the night fairly early. But, like nearly all other new moms, the first three months were ROUGH. Everyone needs newborn sleep tips, am I right?
I didn’t intentionally do anything “right” but looking back I realized what helped me through those times. And even though, Jacob is a decent sleeper now (we’ve had a few setbacks in the past month — look for that in the 7-month-update later this week), I still have “sleep fear” of not getting enough. I wake up multiple times throughout the night thinking he’s about to wake up. It’s like newborn PTSD.
Nevertheless, there were a few things that kept me feeling half-human during the toughest times. Perhaps it can help you or a friend.
- Drinking lots of water.
This is my remedy for nearly everything on earth. It gives you energy, fills your body with necessary hydration, helps with digestion, fullness and generally feeling better than you would without conciously drinking a lot of it. I stand by my “chug method” — meaning I don’t sip it throughout the day. I chug full glasses of water at intervals to ensure I’m getting enough. Don’t skimp!
- Proper Nutrition.
This may be obvious but I really focused on getting back to a healthy diet and eating vegetables as much as possible. Sugar overload always contributes to a more-tired me and I’m confident that my balanced diet helped me keep my energy levels up — and not on roller coaster mode. I drank Shakeology & did the 21-Day Fix (after 6 weeks), which also helped.
- Not Drinking.
Not that breastfeeding mommas are tipping the bottle all the time but for me, drinking even a little can upset my sleep cycle. Of course after 9 months of pregnancy, we are ready for all the wine but our bodies really aren’t. Yes, I did drink but whenever I did, it made getting back to sleep in the middle of the night that much harder. Probably best to keep it rare until down the road.
- Shift Sleeping.
With a newborn, you are always wondering when the next time you have to get up will be. You hope it will be at least 3 or 4 hours away but know it could be 10 minutes. In order to get at least some kind of solid chunk of sleep, I would literally go to bed at like 7 or 7:30 and sleep until around 11 or 12 depending on Jacob’s eating/sleeping. My husband would take that “shift” and not wake me up. Knowing I could get at least 3 or 4 hours there saved my sanity. I thought — people can survive on that many hours per night, at least for awhile.
- Recognizing It Would Not Last Forever.
When you are in the midst of newborn sleep deprivation, it feels like it will never end. It feels like you will never be able to watch Netflix at night again or sleep through the night or wake up refreshed. Believe there is an end. I still don’t feel “freedom” really at this point but you must be rational and say “this is just for now.”
- Exercise or Fresh Air.
I know it’s not easy. And yes, you need to wait until your first 6 weeks is up to exercise but…don’t neglect this powerful tool. Exercise takes energy but it gives back so much more than it takes. It made me feel half-human again for sure, if only for a short while. Every little bit helps!
- Sleep In.
So I normally hate sleeping in but when the baby wakes up at 6 or 7am and then goes back to sleep, you should too. It’s tempting to get up and start getting other things done — but don’t. Especially on the weekends when my husband was home, I would sleep another two hours. Even if you don’t feel like you can fall back asleep, lay there and you might surprise yourself (I did!)
- Remember You Aren’t Alone.
Nursing or feeding in the middle of the night? Personally, I found thinking about all the other new moms up doing the same thing very comforting. I would scroll through Facebook and see friends with new babies also up commenting, sharing & liking. One particular post caught be around 2am one night & made me feel so much better! Thinking about how many other mommas are sharing these precious moments with you right now.
- Thinking About How I Will Miss It One Day.
I’m very aware that one day I will want nothing more than to rock and hold my baby in the middle of the night — but he won’t be a baby anymore. I stared at his little face and held him close and cherished those lonely midnight hours when it was just. Just like that country song says, “you’re gonna miss this.” It’s so true.
I know when I was in the thick of it, I was googling everything I could for any bit of advice that might help me. Perhaps this will find the right Mom at the right time for them. I hope so! Happy newborn-ing! 🙂
Great retrospective thoughts, Ericka. Many times you are unable to think about these things in your sleepless fog. Funny, I have to use some of these same tips now, with bed bugs. For the last month I wake up constantly in the night, throw back the covers and search the bed and myself for bugs. Haven’t slept a whole night yet; will definitely NOT look back and miss this one!!