Having a new baby at home can be a wonderful, joyous time!
It can also be incredibly stressful.
When juggling the demands of a new baby, it can be hard to get a decent night’s sleep.
Although you can’t stop the overnight feedings, there are some things you can do to prepare for the best sleep possible.
Prepare for naps and bedtimes
When you are helping a young infant to fall asleep, create a routine that is easy for you to keep. Routines do not need to be complicated at all. Young infants already know when they are ready for sleep and adding in a special routine will make it easier for them to fall asleep as they continue to grow.
A routine can be as simple as a special three rubs on the back or belly, a kiss on the forehead and a special song prior to putting them to bed.
Always try to avoid introducing screens into this routine. It is tempting to allow children to watch TV until they fall asleep or to have a screen going while you try to help them settle down. This can actually make it harder for the infant to fall asleep.
Make the most of your precious sleep
Habits start early. So do your best to minimize the amount of screen time you have while in view of the baby. It is common to put something on the phone or TV when the baby seems inconsolable. Yet, using a screen when a baby is upset will set an expectation that every time he or she is feeling that way, a screen will be used to help them calm down. It is much harder to break this habit once it has been set.
The blue light from a screen can make it harder for the infant (and for you) to produce melatonin and fall asleep. So even though the crying session had stopped, it is making the next crying session that much harder since they will have a harder time falling asleep and staying asleep.
When you are getting ready to rest, be sure to stop using screens 2-3 hours prior to going to bed. This allows your body to produce the needed melatonin to help you fall asleep quickly once the baby does. Make the most out of your time in bed!
If it is impossible for you to completely avoid screens prior to your bedtime, be sure to wear blue light blocking lenses so that your body can still produce the melatonin you will need to fall asleep.
Some preparation and mindfulness of the presence of screens can make a huge difference in the amount that your baby sleeps, as well as the quality of sleep that you can get in between wakings.