A survival guide for new, sleepless parents

I wish I could laugh at this. Instead, I feel only terror.

It’s no surprise that a new baby = no sleep for the parents. (With t-minus 16 weeks until Mini M arrives, I’m slightly panicking over this fact.)

While the sleepless nights don’t last forever, (I know some of you reading this are snickering at this statement…) there are a few things that new parents can do to cope with a wee babe. Sleep  patterns and problems vary greatly at different ages and stages of development, so sleep can feel like it’s light years away, but here is a a survival guide for tired, new parents: (I’m looking at you, William and Katherine.)

  • After the first six to eight weeks, set up a routine for your baby and yourself.  You’ll feel more in control of your life and you’ll help your baby establish a sense of day and night.
  • Make sleep a priority.  You’ll have more energy for your family, housework and other chores when you are well-rested.
  • Sleep when and where you can (whenever your baby naps is a good time).  Supplement nightly rest with daytime naps—even if they’re just 10 to 20 minutes.
  • Take care of yourself with healthy habits:  eat right, exercise and sleep well.
  • Get a quality mattress to get a good night’s sleep.  You should reevaluate the comfort of your sleep set every five to seven years.  Shop with your partner and buy the best sleep set you can afford.  The difference in comfortable sleep that a new mattress can provide is a difference you deserve.
  • Get help.  When relatives and friend offer assistance, take them up on it.  Be specific about your needs.  Ask a neighbor to have an older child over for a visit so you can nap.  If you can afford household help, consider it an investment in your sanity and good spirits.
  • Lower your expectations.  Your house many not be as tidy; you may not be as productive or amiable.  Take one day at a time, and don’t push yourself.
  • Tell yourself often that this too will pass and that someday you and your baby will sleep sound all night long.

New parents and parent gurus alike, how did you cope with those first few months of no sleep? Any tips you’d like to share?

Until next time…
Sweet dreams!

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