It has been many years since I’ve experienced long, sleepless nights due to a newborn, but I sure haven’t forgotten those days. At the time, I remember being open to trying anything to make night feeds and diaper changes a little smoother on everyone. Lack of sleep can really take a toll after some time, so it’s important to find ways for the whole family to get the best night’s sleep. Here are my 5 tips for parents to sleep better after a new baby arrives:
1.Get a bassinet for your bedroom
I know this method of sleeping isn’t for all families, but I loved having a bassinet in our bedroom for the first few months. Not only did it give my husband and I some peace of mind having our boys close by, but it was nice to have them within reach for feeds and diaper changes. Once they transitioned over to their cribs, the time between their night feeds grew longer which meant more sleep for everyone.
Our first son was born quite premature and so bringing him home after months of being in hospital with nurses caring for him was a scary experience. Not only did we have him in a bassinet right beside us in our room, we also used a breathing monitor for under his mattress. They’ve come a long way since we used one, and not everyone needs one. But in certain circumstances they can be quite useful, whether in a bassinet in your room or a crib in their nursery.
A bassinet in your bedroom is only short term, and if both you and your partner are on board with this method, it’s beneficial in helping you both get more rest.
2.Video monitoring for peace of mind
There is a huge variety of baby monitors on the market these days which means you’ll be able to find the perfect one for your family needs. (Check our out detailed baby monitors buying guide for some help in finding the right one for you.) While you can still purchase the audio only style, it seems most people go for the combo audio/video style. Video baby monitors either work on a 2.4GHz/5GHz spectrum or have Wi-Fi capabilities to keep you connected. There are plenty of other benefits to choosing a video baby monitor such as:
- Easily and quietly checking on your baby
- Monitoring to see if they are sleeping or playing
- Checking on your baby without turning on lights
- Sleep training
- Recording sleep patterns or cute moments
- Talking to your child through the monitor
- Showering with less worry
- Great for taking travelling
- Monitoring a sick child
Wi-Fi-enabled video monitors work with a smartphone app but most also come with a dedicated parent monitor as well so one parent can watch when at home and another while at the office, for example. Some cameras have to be placed just right for the perfect view but the best options are ones with tilt, pan and zoom features so you can adjust the view as the baby wiggles and moves around.
3.A bedside bottle warmer
I always found that fewer disruptions to myself and baby made the transition from a feed or diaper change back to sleep during the night much smoother. If you do any bottle feeding like I did, having a bottle warmer on your nightstand or in your baby’s room is convenient. They are compact, quiet, and easy to use and most often have an indicator light letting you know when the bottle has reached the desired temperature. They can also heat a formula or breastmilk bottle to the right temperature without damaging any of the properties in the milk.
They’re also safe to use for the sleep deprived parent. They provide consistent and even heat which means you don’t have to worry about any hot spots in the bottle. I would also double check that the one you purchase has an auto shut off safety feature, too, in case you’re overtired and forget to turn it off once done.
My husband would always do the first night feed since he was more of a night owl than me. This meant I could get in a good solid stretch of sleep. He loved having the bottle warmer close by so he could do a quick diaper change and settle in for a good snuggle and feed with our sons.
4.Sensor night light
Another way to minimize sleep disruptions is to avoid turning on bright lights such as ceiling lights. A smart sensor night light for nighttime diaper changes, cuddles, or a feed will give you the right amount of light. They can plug into any outlet and are great for the hallway, too, if your baby is sleeping in their own room. Stubbing a toe or walking into something is one way you don’t want to wake yourself up, not to mention possibly the whole house!
I have permanent ones installed in my home bathrooms and they are amazing for nighttime bathroom trips. Once you have them, you’ll wonder why you didn’t get them sooner. As a bonus, the fact that the lights only come on when needed make them energy efficient and useful long term for the whole family.
5.Practice self care
As new parents, all our time and energy goes towards the children, keeping the house in order, and daily chores to keep the household running. Even though it may feel like there’s no time left in a day for any kind of self care, it’s so important to try to squeeze some “me time” in. Doing things just for you, and taking the time to relax during the day can work wonders for helping you sleep at night.
We all have different things that we love. For me, it was as simple as having a nice refreshing shower and putting on some clean clothes. Yours may be a nice cup of tea and a good book, doing some yoga or meditation, having a relaxing bath, or going for a walk to get some fresh air. It doesn’t have to be much, and you may be on a time crunch. But relish in those little moments because as your little ones grow up, those minutes will get longer.
Stress, worry and sleep deprivation can take a toll on both your physical and mental well being. I hope every new parent has a circle of “helpers.” That may be friends or family and it may be a small or big circle. Create boundaries for your family but take the offered meals and extra set of hands. I felt fortunate to have family that would snuggle my boys so I could sit down and eat a full meal or have a shower in total peace. As they say, it takes a village. And whatever you can do to help get more sleep is worth doing.
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