Bedtime Dos and Don'ts for New Parents
Sleep deprivation is almost a rite of passage for new parents, who know all about it. However, that shouldn't be the case. Chronic lack of sleep is not only unpleasant but also potentially dangerous. Therefore, it's not only essential to ensure your bundle of joy is sleeping well, but it's also crucial that you and your partner get enough quality rest. Even though it probably feels impossible, especially if you just became a parent, it's more than doable if you have a plan in place. That's why we've consulted professionals and gathered bedtime dos and don'ts for new parents that will help your entire family feel less stressed and more restful.
Sleep better with our bedtime dos and don'ts for new parents
Caring for a newborn is a lot of hard work and may be pretty stressful, especially for moms still recovering from labor. Every parent faces their own unique challenges when adjusting to parenthood. To feel their best and adapt to their new position as caregivers for the newborn, the whole family has to get enough sleep.
Your baby waking up at night is inevitable; there's nothing you can do about it. However, it's not necessarily a certain conclusion that you'll have a terrible night's rest. How easily you fall asleep and the quality of your sleep can be significantly improved by adjusting a few of your bedtime routines. We consulted with professionals to learn how sleep-deprived new parents can improve their sleep, and they gave us the following list of bedtime dos and don'ts for new parents.
Do sleep when the baby sleeps
You've probably heard this one before, but we feel strongly that it's something worth repeating. Even though you might want to use that time to make lunch for tomorrow or catch up on your favorite series, do yourself an enormous favor and catch up on your sleep instead.
Think about it - babies typically sleep for 16–18 hours a day, broken up into several 2- to 4-hour naps. However, most new parents try to sleep only at night. That's a surefire way toward sleep deprivation. So even though sleeping while the baby naps can be challenging at times, it's still a good idea to try and get some rest.
Don't feel bad about skipping chores
Why don't you get some shut-eye instead of doing the dishes or cleaning the carpet? The chaos in the house will be understandable to your friends and relatives. After all, they want to see your newborn and most likely won't even notice. Plus, you'll quickly figure out your newborn's daytime sleep schedule so you can plan when to rest and when to deal with the household chores.
Do invest in a comfortable mattress
If you're getting as much sleep as possible but still feel exhausted, almost as if you didn't sleep at all, perhaps it's a good time to consider buying a new mattress. You can vastly improve the quality of your sleep by investing in a high-quality mattress that provides the optimal level of comfort and support for your body, allowing you to maintain your healthy spine alignment and sleeping posture.
However, keep in mind that shopping for a quality mattress is different from shopping for anything else. The team from Consumer Opinion advises doing thorough research before investing in such an essential item. Remember, the most expensive isn't always the best, so check product comparisons on an online base for different products and services and make sure to read reviews from customers.
Don't use devices such as your phone or TV before bed
Experts recommend avoiding using electronics like phones, computers, and televisions during the hours before bedtime. The bright lights from these gadgets can massively disrupt your sleep. So even though it might be tempting to Google parenting advice and research amazing baby gear, try to avoid it. Before you know it, you'll be snapped out of your reading by the sound of your baby's cry.
Plus, the blue and green light emitted by electronic devices might make it difficult to fall asleep. Intense exposure to these wavelengths of light tricks our brains into thinking it's daytime, triggering the release of cortisol, the stress hormone, which makes it challenging to get to sleep and stay asleep. Therefore, unplug your devices at least 30-60 minutes before bedtime to help you relax and be ready for sleep.
Do create a relaxing bedtime routine
When you have a newborn, every moment counts, and the idea of introducing a new routine may seem daunting. A few more minutes before bedtime may not seem like much, but they may make all the difference. After a long day of caring for a newborn, it's also essential for new moms and dads to establish their own calming evening routines.
For example, taking a bath before bed is a wonderful way to relax. Or, if you have trouble winding down at night because your mind is racing and you often feel overwhelmed right before bed, you can try writing in a journal for a few minutes before turning in. This will give you time to go through your feelings so that you're not kept awake by a racing mind following a nocturnal feeding.
Don't be ashamed to ask for or hire help
There is no shame in asking for help, so don't be reluctant to call on your loved ones or consider hiring outside assistance if necessary. You can even consider hiring a night nurse or postpartum doula to help overnight if possible so that both of you can get some uninterrupted sleep, even if it's only once or twice a week.
Unfortunately, most new parents don't hear often enough that it's okay to ask for support. However, it's crucial to seek assistance (and accept it!) after giving birth, whether from loved ones or a professional service like a postpartum doula or maybe a sleep coach. At the very least, you can consider hiring a maid to help you with your chores while you can focus on yourself as well as your baby.
We hope our list of bedtime dos and don'ts for new parents helps you figure out the best ways to give your baby everything they need while still getting the sleep you desperately need. Now turn off your phone and enjoy your well-deserved rest!
Melissa Jones is a single mom from Wyoming living with her five-year-old son Dylan and their dog, Archie. She's a guidance counselor at a local elementary school and works as a freelance copywriter whenever she gets some free time. She loves traveling and dreams of owning an RV and living a nomad life with her little family.