When you have a baby, all the focus is on getting baby to sleep better so you can get more sleep, right?
But what if I told you it was possible to start sleeping more right away, despite the night-time habits of your baby? That’s right. You don’t have to do A THING about your baby’s sleep and you can still expect to get more shut-eye this week – if you’re willing to think a little outside the box and engage your partner, friends and family to help you out.
Are you ready, tired lady? Let’s do this!
Here are 8 ways you get more sleep when you have a baby:
1. Sleep when the baby sleeps
Okay, I KNOW you’ve already heard this one, and if it works for you, go ahead and keep doing it. If you find it hard to fall asleep in the day, rest up instead. Every time your baby goes down for a nap, put yourself to bed too, or conk out on the couch. Forget about busying yourself with other things right now, the priority is rest.
2. Have your partner use his settling magic
If you’re breastfeeding, it’s only you that can feed, but most partners are keen to help out with overnight feeds, and settling bub back to sleep is the perfect compromise. Partners tend to make great settlers (probably because they don’t smell of milk), so you may find that he can get baby back to sleep a lot faster than you. Hand baby over after a feed and get right back to sleep while your partner takes care of baby’s winding, nappy-changing and wrapping needs.
3. Ask your partner to rise early
Can your partner get up an hour earlier in the morning, so he can keep bub happy and content while you get an extra hour of sleep? Given lots of babies consider 5am a good time for greeting the day, you might find your partner’s help here a saving grace for you – and if he’s had a decent sleep overnight, I’m sure he’ll agree to the deal.
4. Sleep shifts with partner
Try taking the night-wakings in shifts. For example, your partner could take the first half of the night, say from 10pm-2am, managing all the feeds and settling during this time, then you could take over from 2am onwards. Just imagine: if you hit the sack by 9pm, and get up for baby again at 2am, that’s a mighty 5 hours of sleep in one chunk! You could do this even if you’re breastfeeding – just share the shifts out so that your partner’s shift falls between feeds.
5. Use your visitors
Do you have friends and family keen to visit? You might not have the energy for entertaining, but what if you got them to help you out instead? All visitors like a baby snuggle, so just feed your baby, then ask your visitor to hold bub while you disappear into the bedroom for a couple of hours. If you both feel comfortable with the idea, you could even ask your loved one to take baby for a walk in the pram or carrier right after a feed, when you know bub will stay content for a while.
6. Consider separate rooms
If baby is keeping both you and your partner awake overnight, consider using the spare room – or living room – for one of you so someone gets some sleep. Most new parents end up sleeping separately at some point. Don’t worry, it’s only temporary, and this is all about getting sleep, which is the priority right now.
7. Delegate feeds overnight
If you’re using bottles, have your partner take over a couple of feeds each night. A good way to start this is to hand over the late evening feed to your partner so you can hit the sack early on. Getting in some decent sleep before midnight is said to be restorative, which means you might manage the other overnight feeds with less strain. Of course, if your partner is able, ask him to do a second feed overnight too, or the early morning one so you can catch up on even more sleep.
8. Make sure you’re primed for sleep
When it comes to falling asleep yourself, make sure you do everything possible to make this easy. Limit screen and TV time right before bed, avoid social media, and set the scene for sleep with a dark room, a herbal tea and an eye mask. It’s important that you’re as relaxed as possible so you find it easy to fall asleep.