Yawn. Just thinking about the rigors of caring for a newborn on a round-the-clock schedule makes me sleepy. Pretty soon, I’ll get the chance to try my skills again when my third child arrives this fall.When Whitney described 5 tips to survive the night shift she shed light on the topic of being up all night with a baby. True enough, it’s not really ALL night.
In my experience, the first month of a newborn’s life, he lives like his days are three hours long. Each mini-day, he wakes up and eats before looking around the world and getting too tired to continue. Once he is knackered from all that stimulation, he’s ready to snooze. A good rest period is anywhere from 45 to 90 minutes. Interrupted sleep can be shorter and less predictable. (Your results will vary.)
So let’s talk about those little nuggets of sleep!
Best-case scenario, your bundle of joy will go to sleep between 7 pm and 10 pm and sleep for most of the night with a few interruptions. My babies generally woke up twice a night. Since I like a contiguous eight hours, I found this exhausting.
During the day, he will take a few little snoozes. My babies were both very good daytime sleepers so I could count on 45 minutes of me-time. To lay down – fully horizontal – and rest is probably ideal. Often, I’d be seduced by the lure of the TV or computer to occupy my time, but there are better ways to recharge.
If you’re tired:
- Take a 10 minute power nap.
- Lay down all the way. Close your eyes for 5 minutes and rest. Not sleeping? Oh well, at least you tried.
If you’re feeling perky:
- Prep for your next outing by refilling the diaper bag and choosing a destination. Bonus points if you coordinate with a friend for a rendez-vous.
- Call a good friend with whom you’ve lost touch.
- Make a dinner plan; chop veggies or review take-out menus as needed.
If your otherwise-charming baby has different plans for daytime than napping when you need it, here are a few other ways to catch some sleep:
- Ask a friend to take your baby for a stroll while you snooze.
- Nap while your baby enjoys his mobile in the crib. Don’t worry: if he cries, it will wake you, just like it does at nighttime.
- Engage in a very long snuggle with your baby in a comfy location like a glider.
- Go to bed at 7 pm once in a while rather than watching TV.
I know it can be tough to slow down enough to catch up on sleep. There are a million other things that need to get done. Just keep in mind that sleep loss will catch up with you sooner or later so it’s important to get sleep when you can! The laundry will eventually get folded, the dishes will eventually get washed.