How To Cope With Sleepless Nights As A Parent To A Newborn

Every parent knows the pain of sleepless delirious nights when the newborn finally comes home. Yes, it’s true that babies sleep a lot (around 18 hours a day!) but that’s not going to stop your little one from waking up well past midnight for a late night feeding session, diaper change or just because they felt like it. Babies have their own sleep patterns and for the first few months, they can be all over the place. Which means that the parent’s sleep schedule goes out the window as well. When the only thing that’s in it is exhausting long nights that leave you irritable and frustrated, you need a few tips up your sleeve in order to cope and not go crazy. Well, we’re here to help with just that. Here’s what you can do to get you through your sleepless nights.

1. Talk To Other Parents

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You’re not the only one fighting this uphill battle, we promise. And all you have to do to garner proof is talk to other parents. Sure some of them will have babies who sleep through the night or don’t wake up as often, which is completely normal. But for the most part, you’ll realize that you are all on the same sleepless boat. Being a new parent to a newborn can feel very overwhelming and be an isolating experience, which is why it is so important to connect with others. It’s a great reminder that although it may feel like it in the middle of the night, you’re not alone. Most parents will have reassuring stories to tell about sleepless nights. They may even have a few useful tips of their own that may help.

2. Talk To Your Health Advisor

Talk To Your Health Advisor

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After your baby is born, your midwife will hand over your care to a health visitor. Their primary job is to check on the development of your baby after birth, but they can also aid in getting your baby into a bedtime routine, which is nothing short of a blessing for tired parents. Your health advisor will also make enquiries about your sleep as well during your first few visits. Although there is no one magical answer to get your baby to sleep, your health visitor will be able to tell you about things you can try and reassure you about your baby’s sleep habits. This way, at the very least you’ll stop losing sleep to worry.

3. Sleep While Your Baby Sleeps

Sleep While Your Baby Sleeps

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It might seem generic but this method is a tried and true way to catch up on some much needed sleep. Of course the real dream is to have 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep but that may be impossible to achieve with a newborn, especially if you are exclusively breastfeeding. So the next best thing to do is catch up on sleep as and when you can, which is usually when your baby is sleeping too. You may be tempted to spend this time cleaning up, but try to get some sleep too. If you can’t sleep, just rest. Even half an hour with your feet up can help.

4. Eat Well And Drink Lots Of Fluids

Eat Well And Drink Lots Of Fluids

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It’s normal to feel hungrier than usual when you are tired and you’ll have a lot of time to think about what to eat while you are awake tending to your little one. You might think this results in cleaner eating habits but unfortunately, parents of newborns get too caught up in looking after the infant and end up making unhealthy food choices. This just won’t do as you need nutrition in order to sustain yourself at this crucial period as well, especially if you are breastfeeding. So, it is recommended that you take the time out to plan healthy, well balanced meals which will help you keep your energy levels up, even during long nights.

Don’t skip breakfast and try to eat at least 5 portions of fruits and vegetables a day. Try to avoid sugary foods such as sweets, cakes and biscuits. This will give you a rush of energy, but it’ll wear off quickly. And most importantly, stay hydrated. You can do this by drinking a lot of fluids, water ideally in order to keep your body awake and alert. So, around 6 to 8 cups a day at the very least. Try to avoid coffee as caffeine can give you a sudden burst of energy but mess up your sleep schedule even further in the long term.

Sleepless nights can be challenging but they won’t last forever. Eventually, your baby will start sleeping for longer periods of time until they sleep through the night and you can get back to a more manageable sleep schedule. But in the meantime, hang on, use these tips and try not to strain yourself too much. Happy parenting!

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Kezia John

Kezia holds a deep interest in writing about women adapting to motherhood and childcare. She writes on several topics that help women navigate the joys and responsibilities of being a new mom and celebrate every stage of their baby's development. When she is not writing for MomJunction, she sings in a classical Western choir and reads endlessly.