Introducing your new baby to the world is an exciting but tiring time. Research has found that your quality of sleep shows a steep decline in the first few months after childbirth. And, in some cases, it doesn’t return to normal until a good six years later (source: Oxford Academic). Here, mum and sleep expert Caroline Kenny from Dormeo gives us her advice to help new mums get a better night’s sleep.
When your child is young you need to be at your most alert, and poor sleep is only going to make you feel low and tired. Luckily, there are a few steps you can take to get a better night’s rest so here’s 4 essential sleep tips for new parents.
Relax your mind and stop worrying
Often the biggest causes of a bad night’s sleep are the feelings of worry and anxiety caused by your everyday stress. And, when you’ve got a new little addition to the family, these worries can multiply. But instead of lying awake thinking about your baby’s safety, health, and future, try to clear your mind of negative thoughts before bed.
You could try some slow, relaxing yoga, or even just reading a book or taking a warm bubble bath. Whenever negative thoughts enter your head, remind yourself that your baby is safe, well, and sleeping soundly. This can take some practice, but once you get into a routine of clearing your mind at night, you may find it a lot easier to drift off.
Create a routine and stick to it
The most important thing any new parent will soon learn is that a routine is essential. Although during the first few months any sense of regularity may go out the window, things will eventually return to normal.
Creating a bedtime routine can help to reinforce that it’s time for your baby to sleep. Giving them a bath and changing them into their pyjamas can be a great way to end your baby’s day. It can also help to put your baby down at the same time every night and get them to take naps at the same times during the day. While your baby is napping, make sure you take some time out yourself to have a little shut eye. Eventually, your baby will develop their own sleeping pattern, and they’ll stop waking up as much during the night.
Create the perfect sleep environment
Your environment can have some serious effects on your sleep. Bold décor, bright lights and loud noises can all make it a lot harder for your brain to wind down at the end of the day. So, you should work on creating the perfect sleeping environment for both you and your baby.
Pale, pastel colours can calm your mind right before bed, and blackout blinds and curtains should help to keep out any light from streetlamps. For your interior, consider dimmable lights which will allow you to create a cosy atmosphere as the night draws in.
Noise can be a little bit trickier to avoid, but you could try a white noise machine. These generate soothing sounds similar to those heard in the womb, which can help your baby to relax and fall asleep. Just remember that these sounds should be kept below 70 decibels to avoid damaging their fragile ears.
Share responsibilities and learn to accept help
When you’re busy looking after your newborn baby, you can often forget about your own needs. Make sure you share the responsibilities as parents, taking turns to tend to the nightly nappy changes. But don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.
Asking your baby’s grandparents to take over for one night can give you some time to catch up on those extra hours of sleep you’ve been missing — and they’ll be happy to spend time with their new grandchild.
Having a baby is one of the greatest feelings, but it can also turn your world upside down. The tips in this guide can help you get a better night’s sleep, which can make parenting just that little bit easier.
About the author: Caroline is a single mum to her 18-year-old daughter, Charlotte. Even though Charlotte is all grown up, Caroline still has trouble sleeping worrying about her daughter being out in the big wide world. She understands that being a mum is tough but getting to sleep at night is even tougher. So, she spends her professional life dedicated to finding everybody a great night’s sleep. Raising a daughter and having a full-time job has been tiring, but she now works hard to ensure other mums can sleep better.
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