Living with a newborn baby is almost always an exhausting experience. Most babies are needy round-the-clock for at least the first three months in their life, and parents suffer through losing hundreds of hours of sleep as a result.
First of all, make your habits as healthy as possible. Eat a balanced diet, and avoid alcohol and nicotine whenever you can. Caffeine should not be consumed at least four hours before bedtime, preferably longer. It can be a tempting way to stimulate your mind and body to stay awake through the exhausting hours. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables, light carbs, and plenty of cold water will help you stay awake more than one with too many starches and heavy foods.
Exercise is great to stay awake and boost your energy levels, so try to exercise in the morning or early afternoons, but not during the evening or night before sleeping.
Start to avoid the computer, TV, and other electronics an hour before bed, as they will wake up your brain and tire your eyes out. If you have to listen to music, make sure that it’s slow and relaxing, perhaps instrumental piano music or similar soft music rather than fast-paced.
Establishing a routine when possible will help both you and your newborn baby to cope, though it can be difficult when your baby’s sleep patterns change frequently. Make sure you include healthy activities, some time to yourself, and quiet time for a short while at the end of your evening so your brain has a chance to calm down and zone out. This will help prevent your mind from racing and worrying about things.
Worrying will not help you get to sleep! If necessary, keep a to-do list on the fridge or in a notebook in your pocket and once the task you remember is written down, forget about it until the next morning, and each morning, make a habit of checking your list and planning to do only the things you can reasonably accomplish that day.
If slight lifestyle changes like this don’t help, try another technique: sleep when your baby does, ignoring chores and outside distractions if necessary.
You can try cosleeping or bedsharing, though experts have mixed opinions over whether this serves as more help or harm.
Share duties with your partner if at all possible. The two of you can devise some sort of schedule where you take turns sleeping and minding the baby, so neither of you get too burned out.
Lastly, remember that not every sound your baby makes has to be attended to. It’s natural for all humans to wake up repeatedly during the night, and babies are no exception. They don’t always have to be fed, and often after a few minutes they will settle down again.
You will inevitably lose sleep as a new parent, but try some of these coping strategies to minimize the sleep loss during the first few months of your new baby’s life!
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