Surviving Lack of Sleep with New Baby

Lack of sleep is simply a part of the joys of having a new baby in the home.  You've waited nine whole months, and now you finally have your beautiful baby at home. You are blissful, joyful, elated… but most of all, you are exhausted because of a lack of sleep. Meeting all the needs of this new little person, who feeds around the clock and only sleeps for two to three hours at a time, can really wear you out. So how do you care for baby, and take care of yourself too? Here are some tips for surviving a baby sleep schedule.

  • Accept it. The first few months of your baby's life, you're going to be tired. It's part of the job description. It will be many more months before you are as well-rested as you were before the baby. If you know and accept this, it makes it a little easier to deal with it. 
  • Consider Co-Sleeping. Sharing sleep with your little one can mean a lot more rest for everyone. Babies sleep much better when Mom is close by, and if baby is sleeping better, you will sleep better too. If you are uncomfortable actually sharing your bed with your baby, then try a bedside co-sleeper that attaches to the side of your bed, giving him his own space, but still keeping him within arms' reach.
  • Nurse your baby. How does this help you get more sleep? Well, if you are co-sleeping and nursing your baby, you don't have to get up and fix bottles. When baby wakes, you can just snuggle him next to you to nurse, without ever having to get out of bed.
  • Nap when the baby naps. You've probably heard this one a thousand times before, but that's because it makes sense. It's tempting to want to use baby's naptime to get household chores done, but do your best to resist and get some rest.
  • Accept help. When family and friends offer you help after the baby arrives, accept it. Let them come over and toss in a load of laundry. Let them bring you a casserole or hold the baby while you take a little nap.
  • Institute "Rest Time." Getting enough rest can be especially difficult if you have other children at home as well. Try fitting a scheduled rest time into your day, where everyone has to lie down for a little rest. If your older children balk at napping, then have them just rest in bed with a book.
  • Know that it's not forever. Although it may be hard to believe in your addled, sleep-deprived state, eventually your baby will sleep through the night. Hang in there for now, and take comfort in knowing that you will be well-rested again soon enough.
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