Baby sleep – how I cope
It’s the one thing about having a baby that no one can prepare you for. Those first few months are shattering and I was nervous about going through it a second time with our newborn.
But there are a few key time-saving tips that helped us with our first child and that I’m depending upon now with our second one to steal back a few invaluable hours.
- Set up a changing station on your bedside table
- Try feeding with your eyes shut
- Take turns on the weekends having a late morning
- Shop online
- Keep track of when you feed your baby
- Write down when the older child eats
- Label the kitchen cabinets
- Minimalistic routines
- Reduce the laundry pile
- Life-saving baby items
10 tips for helping you and your baby sleep
Before writing this I decided to tot up the average hours of sleep I’ve had per night over the last few weeks. It’s not particularly encouraging and left me wondering whether I’m actually qualified to write this post! Still, if nothing else then, hopefully, you’ll feel less alone!
- Set up a changing station on your bedside table. Ours has several nappies, wipes, nappy cream, a few changes of clothes, muslins and bibs. We’ve also popped a night-light adaptor on to the blub of our bedside lamp. All of this helps ensure your baby isn’t stimulated into staying awake by unnecessarily bright lights or movement.
- Try feeding with your eyes shut. Babies crave interaction and feeds are a perfect time to do that so they’ll often seek eye contact, but as they have no body clock you’ll need to help them distinguish between interactive day feeds and sleepy night feeds. So, try feeding with your eyes shut at night. Your baby will eventually mimick you, thus encouraging them (and you) to get back to sleep quicker.
- Take turns on the weekends having a late morning. If you wake at the slightest noise from your bubba (I can almost see your wry smiles as you read this!), taking it in turns to have a lie-in/take them to another room at the weekends can give you the peace of mind to nap. It might not always work out if the baby for an unexpected feed, but that’s where tip no.2 comes in handy. Besides, at this stage, even a 10 minute nap isn’t to be sniffed at!
- Shop online. Our supermarket shop is saved so that I only have to pick from our favourites and can do that during a night feed with ease. Make sure that you include plenty of easy meals – as a rule, I’m only cooking meals that take a maximum of 15 minutes – and keep stocked up on tea/coffee and snacks for your visitors.
- Keep track of when you feed your baby. There are plenty of apps if you’d rather, but I just list them on my phone. It may sound time-consuming, but it will allow you to estimate when you can steal a few hours sleep several times a week. I find the best time is before the dream-feed. It’s worth it, even though it means missing quality time in the evenings, or your favourite programme (I’ve recorded mine to watch when our newborn drops a night feed and I have more energy).
- Write down when the older child eats.If you have an older child to look after and have any help, write up their feeds/routines and pop it somewhere in plain sight; ours is stuck on the fridge.
- Label the kitchen cupboards as guests (family or otherwise) may feel shy about rummaging and this will stop you having to point everything out, allowing them to feel at ease making cups of tea while you put your feet up for a few minutes.
- Reduce the laundry pile. How is it that for such little people, your laundry seems to double with a newborn? Investing in bibs and muslins reduces it significantly and, as you can purchase them cheaply, I go by the adage that you’re better off having too many than too few.
- Minimalistic routines. Even getting washed and dressed in the mornings takes up valuable time, so streamline your wardrobe to a few key, comfortable, items that you can grab easily. This is especially key if you’ve had a C-section. Minimise your make-up routine to the essentials that will make you feel that bit perkier and, if you don’t have time to wash your hair, use dry shampoo. Although you’ll also be surprised at what babies can sleep through: I dried my hair near our first and the white noise was a real winner (it’s the same with the hoover). Whatever it is you do, it’s definitely worth doing some of it as it will lift your spirits and you’ll feel secretly chuffed that you, at least, look ready to tackle the day ahead!
- Life-saving baby items! If you have a baby carrier/sling, pop your little one in it while you’re doing chores during the day. They’ll love being close to you and being upright helps wind them (apparently this is also great for establishing routines for feeds as it makes more room for milk and encourages more daytime feeding).
Parents talking about newborn sleep: How to get a baby to sleep
I really hope these tips help you as much as they’ve helped us but they’re far from an exhaustive list. So, if you have some of your own, please share them so we can all give them a go.
As an English teacher, it’s probably no surprise that I’ve always wanted to write. Finally finding myself with something to share, I started my blog while in the final trimester with our first (he caught us off-guard by arriving 1 month early and just in time for Christmas). Our daughter was born this spring so we’re now fully-fledged members of the crazy two under two club – there’s 15 months between them! Add an excitable pup to the mix and life is pretty hectic, but that’s how we like it, I think!