7 Tips For a Parent To Get a Good Nights Sleep (and maybe even a sleep-in!)

Bringing a new baby home from the hospital is one of the most joyous, rewarding experiences a parent could ever have.

It may be your first child, it might be your third, but no matter what, it is a thrilling, marvelous time that is unlike any other in a parent’s life. This tiny baby is utterly helpless and dependent on you, as their parent, for everything from food to warmth to emotional nourishment. It’s an exciting time, no doubt about it.

It’s also a hectic time, one that can leave you feeling exhausted and drained of energy and your own emotional resources. Welcoming a new is child is exhilarating, but it is also taxing on a parent’s mind, body, and soul. You’d love to go home and sleep for three days, we’re sure, but there’s just one problem: your attention is totally focused on the infant, and their needs come first.

1. Rest, even if you don’t sleep

It’s important that you lie down, close your eyes and try to relax. Even if you don’t fall into deep slumber, the time off your feet is restorative. When the baby is sleeping, you should be trying to sleep too! That’s not always possible, we know, but give it your best shot.

2. Limit stimulants like coffee

You’re probably doing this anyway, particularly if you’re breastfeeding, but be super-conscious of every cup of tea you have. Soda, coffee and tea and other drinks have caffeine… you’ve always known that. It’s tempting to have a second cup at breakfast, or in the afternoon to keep you going. But don’t do it! All it will do is stimulate your nervous system, and you have plenty of stimulation in your life right now.

3. Don’t use nap time to do housework

We’ll say it again: when the baby is sleeping, you should at least try to sleep, too. Feeling guilty because the dishwasher isn’t loaded or the vacuuming isn’t finished is an exercise in futility — there will always be a chore unfinished or ignored altogether when a new baby comes home.

4. Stop feeling guilty about limiting visitors

People can sometimes be well-intentioned but a little thick-headed when it comes to what new parent is going through. It’s great that your colleagues from work, or friends from the park, or relatives want to come by to “ooh and ah” over the new little one. But if you’re the kind of parent who feels guilty for not offering drinks and snacks, this is a bad idea. Limit your guests to brief periods, maybe one or two at a time, when it works best for you. This is not the time to be considerate of other people’s schedules! If your mother-in-law wants to spend a few days, cook a lot of food, freeze it for later and keep her opinions to herself, by all means invite her! Other than that, one or two guests a week is more than enough, and in some cases too much, for you to handle.

5. Avoid screens when you’re tired

We know… you can’t sleep, so you go online and email a whole host of folks the new baby’s first photos. Big mistake, we’re sorry to say. Study after study has concluded that screens – all screens – impact sleep negatively. So stay away from your phone, computer and even the TV when you’re awake. They just make it worse, trust us.

6. Get help with feedings

Whether it’s your spouse, mother or nanny, ask for help, particularly with nighttime feedings. A good breast pump is a woman’s best friend in this case, so you can have plenty of milk on hand at 2 a.m. when the baby wakes. Your spouse will probably be thrilled to have the chance to be so hands on, considering you’re the one who did all the work bringing this baby into the world. Asking for this help can be a parent’s strongest line of defense – you just have to know how to do it, and stop thinking you should do every, single feeding yourself.

7. Keep the baby by your bed

Some parents prefer to let their new babies sleep in a bassinet right beside their side of the bed. This way, you don’t have to actually rise and go into the nursery when the baby stirs. You can simply lift them in beside you to feed and comfort them, which may allow you to fall back to sleep more easily.

We hope these tips give you some fresh ideas about how to get some sleep when you’re a new parent. Of course, it all gets more complicated when there are more children in the home, because they need your attention, too. And you being exhausted, worn and living on nerves doesn’t do anyone any good – least of all you and the new baby.

Of course we think this is the perfect time for you to consider hiring a nanny. Our agency has spent years bringing together the perfect, professional nanny with just the right family. We can help you find the nanny who fits seamlessly into your family’s life and schedule, someone who will take some of the burdens away from you so you can get some rest.

Feel free to contact us at Elite Nannies any time, for a confidential consultation. Bringing nannies to homes is what we love, what we excel at, and what brings us joy.