Getting a good night’s sleep with a newborn in the house is like finding the hidden turtle at Trader Joe’s.
The funny thing is, on the nights we started to get four-plus hours of sleep, we were like– “WOW! I can’t believe we slept so long!”
You know it’s bad when 4 hours makes you feel like a new person.
Or at least like half of a new person.
It’s an unexpected blessing, like when the cashier at Trader Joe’s gives your kid a lollipop, even though you didn’t find the turtle.
Feeling good after half a night’s sleep must be God’s built-in kind gesture to get you through until they sleep the entire night. LOL.
Let Me Give You Some Hope:
You won’t forever be the sleep-deprived zombie you feel like you are.
There are ways to improve the sleep that you’re getting now during the newborn phase, both in quality and quantity.
It takes some effort and time for it to play out, but if you implement these 7 tips for getting a good night’s sleep with a newborn baby, you’ll be amazed at the results!
Start A Sleep Schedule For Baby
One of the best things I did with my newborns was to put them on an infant sleep schedule.
This came in so handy with my first daughter because my husband deployed two weeks after her birth. I was solo-parenting, and I needed all the sleep I could get.
You can read more on that story here.
I didn’t use a rigid schedule, but helping us both develop a routine allowed her to nap and eat regularly during the day, and sleep for longer periods at night. She slept 8 hours by 7-8 weeks old, and was sleeping 10-12 hours by 10 weeks.
Of course, you can imagine that if she was sleeping that much, I started to recover from sleep deprivation and feel so much more rested pretty early on into motherhood.
Not that I haven’t experienced my share of sleepless nights (life with 3 kids is never dull lol) but those first few months with a newborn are brutal.
I was grateful to keep the constant waking to a minimum.
By the way, I created a sample of what a first-month newborn schedule could look like for you, and you can grab it free at the end of this post!
Use Essential Oils
I love the smell of lavender, and I use it regularly to help my mind and body get ready for sleep.
I place a few drops on my wrists, rub them together, and take a deep breath in.
Ahhhhh. This is making me sleepy haha.
Essential oils can help you relax and fall asleep more quickly. You can put them on the back of your neck, on the collar of your pjs, diffuse them, or just smell the bottle.
I recommend using pure grade oils, not just a cheap bottle from the drug store, as you don’t want fillers in your oil.
Just be sure to stick to the list of safe oils for baby, since baby will get an up-close whiff of them when they’re around you.
Turn Off Electronics One Hour Before Bedtime
Ok. This is hard.
I mean, I use my phone as an alarm clock. Not that I need it very often, since my kids wake me up long before the alarm would go off. Ha!
Electronics can keep you awake longer than you’d like. The blue light emitted stimulates your brain and delays it from winding down for sleep.
As much as you need downtime, go for options such as a magazine or book… and –BONUS– they’ll probably put you right to sleep!
Create A Bedtime Routine
It’s the WORST when you finally get baby down for a nice solid night’s sleep, and now YOU can’t sleep. What gives?!?!
One of my fav tricks, as someone who has struggled with falling asleep in the past, is to create a bedtime routine for yourself.
Wash your face, floss and brush your teeth, and get your pajamas on (and whatever else you do) in the same order each night.
The purpose of a bedtime routine is to cue your body that sleep is coming soon.
As you develop a habit, your body will learn that after XYZ happens, we go to sleep. Your pre-bedtime activities signal your mind that sleep is coming, and it can start to transition from awake toward rest.
Keep At It!
It may take some time to figure out the order you prefer, but try to stay consistent for 3-4 weeks once you nail it down.
If you find yourself lying awake for more than 20 minutes, get up and “recycle” your routine. Splash water on your face, use the restroom, repeat the basics– doing so can re-trigger your brain that “Hey, it’s time to sleep!”
A routine is great for mama and baby too. As you move baby into a gentle routine, your schedules can coordinate and naturally play off one another.
For example, I got ready for bed around my little ones’ evening routine and late night “dream feed.” I show you a sample of exactly what a baby routine looks like in my free download, “First Month Newborn Schedule.” It’s in my free resource library, and you can get the password at the bottom of this post!
I also recommend cloth (washable) nursing pads for night time. I used disposable during the day, but at night the cloth ones were way more comfortable. It helped not to wake up with a wet top when my breasts were still adjusting to nursing.
Get Daddy Involved
Who says Mommy has to do all the work with a newborn?
Daddy may not be able to nurse, but he can change diapers, warm bottles, and wipe up messes.
My husband would get up and change the baby’s diaper while I got ready to nurse. Then he’d hand her off, and I would nurse while he went back to bed.
I know I’m pretty lucky to have a hubby so willing to jump in and get involved. I had to do it on my own for #1 and #3 since he was deployed, but I got a taste of him helping with our second daughter and I really appreciated it!
Stock Your Bedside Table
I was always parched when nursing. As soon as my girls started nursing, it was like insta-thirst.
Like I’m gonna die right now if I don’t get some liquid!
I learned quickly to keep a Tervis Tumbler with lid and straw by the bedside table. (The lid kept me from having a huge mess to clean up in the middle of the night as I fumbled around for a drink. Who needs that!?)
Celebrate The Small Stuff
If you’re like me and have more than one child, it never fails that the day your newborn sleeps a bit longer is the day one of your other children wakes up SUPER early.
It’s always in the morning that I wish I’d gone to bed earlier! HA!
But in those moments, at least I can rejoice that my baby is getting good sleep. After I grumble down the hallway a bit. 😉
We gotta celebrate the little wins, ladies!
Put these tips into practice, and soon you will be getting better sleep too.
GET MY FREE “FIRST MONTH NEWBORN SCHEDULE” TO HELP YOU GET A GOOD NIGHTS SLEEP!
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