Truth be told, there is no one sure-fire solution to this dilemma but there are things you can try in order to get a little more sleep when you have a tiny infant. Babies are born with no set circadian rhythm, meaning you are essentially training them to sleep when it is dark and wake when it is light.
It’s the learning process that often has new parents at their wit’s end. Those first few weeks or months may be a challenge, but there are ways to try to make things easier.
You can start off by setting realistic expectations for yourself. Keep in mind that many baby books consider ‘sleeping through the night’ to be just 5-6 hours, but knowing this in advance can be half the battle.
Start to differentiate between day and night
Make daytime activities and feedings fun and interactive, with plenty of singing and movement. At night, remain calm and very quiet. Baby will eventually begin to differentiate your actions according to the time and amount of light in the room.
Develop a routine
You don’t have to set hard and fast rules, but start to create a routine for your baby when it’s time for bed. A warm bath, story, song, feeding and bedtime is one example.
Allow baby to fall asleep on his own
When baby reaches about 6 to eight weeks of age, you can lie him when he’s tired and see if he begins to doze off on his own. If you always rock or nurse him to sleep, he will depend on that routine, but laying him down teaches him to start to self-soothe.
Share duties with your partner
Try to share the night-time feeding and nappy-changing duties with your partner, so you can both have a chance at getting some rest. You may alternate 4-hour time slots, or even entire nights. During the day, try to take turns napping when possible. The idea is to avoid complete burn-out and irritability. Teamwork is now more important than ever.
Have a family member or friend who offers to watch baby so you can get a few hours of sleep? If you trust the person, take them up on it! There’s no shame in having a babysitter right in your own living room while you catch up on some much-needed rest!
This article was contributed by Funky Giraffe Bibs, where you can find parenting and feeding advice, as well as a wide range of fun and funky bandana bibs and baby items.