Getting Enough Sleep With a Newborn

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TL;DR

  • A lack of sleep and utter exhaustion from caring for a new baby around the clock are sure to make you feel emotional and weary.
  • During the first three months, your baby requires between 16 and 17 hours of sleep a day, though he or she will probably not sleep for more than two to four hours at a time.
  • Although catching up on chores while your baby is sleeping might be tempting, sleep while you can (with the monitor close by).
  • It’s OK to take time for you. Don’t be afraid to tell friends, family members or your older child’s school that you aren’t able to help out right now.
  • Pump your breast milk so your partner can take over for nighttime feedings.
  • Accept help from friends and family when it comes to cooking, chores and childcare.
  • Between four to six months of age, most babies begin sleeping for eight to twelve hours at a time.

Every new parent hears the tales of the sleepless nights – but until you experience it, it’s hard to conceptualize. Babies often feed on demand and have trouble getting their days and nights figured out. This can result in parents not getting enough sleep needed to remain healthy. During those first few months when you and your little one are adjusting to your new roles, it’s perfectly normal to feel exhausted and wonder if you will ever get a good night’s rest again.

Although it may seem impossible right now, soon your new baby will be sleeping at night for as much as 10 hours, giving you the chance for some much-needed rest and feeling more like yourself, pre-baby. We know this may seem like a dream now but don’t despair. We have some tips for catching some sleep now.

What is a “Normal” Amount of Sleep for Babies?

During the first three months, your baby requires between 16 and 17 hours of sleep a day, though he or she will probably not sleep for more than two to four hours at a time. After six to eight weeks, however, your baby will begin sleeping for shorter periods during the day and longer periods at night. Between four to six months of age, most babies begin sleeping for eight to twelve hours at a time. Though it seems like forever now, you soon will be getting a full night of sleep again.

Tips for Getting Rest During the Newborn Stage:

Sleep When Your Little One Sleeps

It may be tempting to tackle the growing pile of dishes or laundry or catch up on emails, but use your little one’s napping to your advantage. Turn off your cell phone, dim the lights and take a nap (with the monitor close by) while your baby is sleeping. If you have an older toddler at home, it can prove to be more difficult. If you can time naps to synchronize, you can take advantage of that time for yourself.

Learn to Say “No”

It’s OK to take care and time for you. Don’t be afraid to tell friends, family members or your older child’s school that you aren’t able to help out right now. Stretching yourself thin will ultimately be detrimental to your own health.

Take Time To Pump

After a few weeks of being sleep-deprived, you will be amazed at how wonderful you feel when you get a solid four or five hours of sleep. In order to make this happen, your partner or a family member needs to take on nighttime feeding. If you are a nursing mom, taking the time to pump will allow you to provide your little one with breastmilk while still catching some sleep.

Go to Bed Early

Your nights may have been previously spent catching up on your favorite shows, but for now, it’s best to skip them in order to sleep. Get into the habit of going to sleep once you put your younger children and your new little one to sleep in order to get as much rest as possible each night.

Accept as Much Help as Possible

Chances are, you’ve had friends or family members offer to help, and chances are, you haven’t taken them up on the offer. The next time someone offers to help, ask if they will come over and hold your baby while you sleep, help to entertain your older children or help you catch up on household chores so you can rest worry-free.

Nighttime Feeding: When Should You Give it Up

Your new little one will need to nurse every two to three hours, which means you will be feeding him or her throughout the night. Eventually, your baby will grow enough that these nighttime feedings will no longer be necessary. Around six months of age, your baby will be able to drink enough breastmilk in order to keep him or her full throughout the night. As long as your baby is healthy and growing well, it’s okay to skip the nighttime feeding.

A lack of sleep and utter exhaustion from caring for a new baby around the clock are sure to make you feel emotional and weary. Use these tips to try to sleep as much as possible and don’t be afraid to ask for help. You have to take care of yourself in order to be able to take care of your baby. Taking the time to make sure you get some sleep is an important part of caring for yourself, and ultimately, your family.

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