Let’s stop beating around the bush and be honest: parenting is stressful, a lot more than you expected and eight hours of sleep is something impossible for the vast majority of us during her/his first year of life. Unless of course, you are one of those 1% lucky parents that have miracle babies that sleep all night. If that’s the case, get the hell outta here as the following content is not for you! If you’re still here though, then read on, as we, Mother Baby World have 11 decent advice for a happy parenthood that will certainly help you win the “war”.
First week it’s ok. You survived. You wake up a couple of times a night and you tell yourself you did this before, when you were in college, when you went to parties and you slept only 3-4 hours a night. The difference its obvious and it will strike you after a couple of nights when you will realize that this new thing you have in your house has nothing to do with college parties and with staying out late. If you didn’t valued sleep before, then you’re in for a big surprise. Welcome to a life where sleep becomes the most valuable currency. She will wake up night, after night, after night, for months to come.
If you’re not breastfeeding, as formula is less digestible than breast milk, formula-fed babies usually need to eat less often than breastfed babies, therefore should not wake up as often, so this ordeal could end sooner. Either way it’s not easy.
Here I will give you some does and don’ts that will make your life easier. As you’ll probably notice a lot of these 11 decent advice for a happy parenthood are related to sleep, as sleep time is essential when you’re having a baby.
First here are the DON’TS:
1. Don’t ignore the power of a nap
A 20 minutes nap can already improve your alertness and your mood. It will not replace the 8 hours of sleep you need, but it will certainly help. Our 120 Seconds Method can teach you how to easily relax and fall asleep.
2. Don’t pop sleeping pills
In the past month, more than 10 million people in America will have swallowed some kind of a sleeping medicine. Sleeping pills do not provide natural sleep, can damage health, and increase the risk of life-threatening diseases. Another deeply unpleasant feature of sleeping pills is rebound insomnia.
3. Don’t postpone diet and exercise
It is a well-known fact that the healthier you eat the better you’ll sleep. If you don’t sleep enough you will eat more and not as healthy. Physical activity will promote a better sleep at night, will keep your weight under control and will fill you with good energy.
4. Don’t bring home your work
After a long work day, many of us find ourselves taking out our stress on friends, children, or significant others. And if we’re not careful, we allow our work stress to become home stress, often at the expense of our families and relationships or our health. There are many reasons you shouldn’t brig work at home and we will enumerate only the most important:
– Increases the risk of depression
– Interferes with your job performance
– Halts physiological and mental recovery
– Will break the necessary balance between work and personal life
– It damages relationships
Now here are some things that you should definitely DO:
5. Implement a relaxing bed routine
We can’t stress enough how important is implementing a relaxing routine before bed time. Turning off electronic devices at least 1-2 hours before bad time is essential. The light receptors in the eye that communicate “daytime” to our brain are most sensitive to short-wavelength light within the blue spectrum—the exact sweet spot where blue LEDs are most powerful. As a consequence, evening blue LED light has twice the harmful impact on nighttime melatonin suppression than the warm, yellow light from old incandescent bulbs, even when their lux intensities are matched.
A recent study found that 90% of adults use some sort of electronic blue light emitting device sixty minutes or less before bedtime (laptop, tablet, TV, smartphone…). This has a very real impact on your melatonin release, and thus the ability to time the onset of sleep.
Take a warm bath or read a few pages before bed can be a good routine. Also getting to bed at the same time each night will greatly improve the quality of your sleep.
6. Create a perfect sleeping environment for you and for your baby
The importance of adequate sleep for new parents is paramount.
Try to keep clutter outside of the bedroom. Make it a place where you actually want to fall asleep. Enhance the safety of your baby while sleeping. Make sure you put your baby to sleep on their back, and that the cot is free of pillows toys or other stuffed animals that could prevent him to properly breath during the night.
Reduce the lighting in the bedroom during nigh time as much as possible. You want to teach your baby to be able to tell the difference between day and night. When feeding him during the night keep the light off or use a nightlight. Don’t entertain your baby during night feedings so they can learn to quickly fall asleep again. Swaddling and white noise machines can also help a baby stay asleep for longer periods of time.
Your comfort is equally important.
We are certain that you already know the importance of a good mattress in order to get the so much-needed sleep after a long, stressful day. What most of us don’t know is the fact that a pillow is of equal importance. Our ZZZ Memory Pillow might improve your sleep significantly. Give it a try as we have a great offer available right now.
7. Limit your coffee intake
Maybe you think that this is impossible, but it’s one of the key factors for a good night sleep. You should limit your coffee intake to one cup a day max, and never late in the afternoon. Coffee, colas, certain teas, and chocolate contain the stimulant caffeine, and its effects can take as long as eight hours to wear off fully.
8. Take a break from sleeping in the same bed with your partner
Maybe your partner snores, and he falls asleep way faster than you do, or maybe you have other bed sharing issues. Enough sleep can actually contribute to a healthy and happy relationship, so sleeping in different beds can be a healthy option, at least until you’re done with the sleep training.
9. Sleep train your baby only when you are ready
Training a baby to sleep on their own can be an overwhelming task for new parents. You have to be mentally prepared as usually this is not a walk in the park. Be aware that they may cry a lot the first nights (especially if accompanied by colic), but gradually they will learn how to fall back asleep on their own.
The sweet spot for sleep training is between 4 – 6 months, as at this age babies are old enough to physically make it for six to eight hours overnight without needing to eat. There are a lot of methods available for sleep training. The most important thing that you have to be aware of is that no matter the method you choose consistency is the key. You have to keep implementing the method for at least 2 weeks before trying something else. Spend as much time as you can with the baby during the day. This will assuage any guilty feelings of “abandoning” your baby for long stretches at night.
10. Welcome help from anyone you trust
Lean on your partner, a nanny, a mother-in-law, or anyone else who may help. You may need to express milk so that you can delegate the feeds, too. A little team work can have a major impact.
A good example is to express milk, go to bed at the same time as your baby and delegate the first feed. Like this you are able to take advantage of a good chunk of sleep during the first part of the night.
11. Find some other ways to relax other than sleep
Even though is difficult, try and find some time only for yourself. It doesn’t have to be much, sometimes a half an hour or even a couple of minutes can greatly improve your self-esteem. Read a few pages, listen to some music, watch your favorite series. Anything that gives you pleasure and that can take your mind off everyday baby routine.
Based on all our 11 decent advice for a happy parenthood it is clear that getting enough sleep is the perfect way to take better care of your baby.
The long-term effects of sleep deprivation are real. Poor sleep drains your mental abilities and puts your physical health at real risk. The long-term consequences of sleep loss or insomnia are higher rates of depression, obesity, anxiety, low sex drive, weakened immunity, mood changes, memory issues, diabetes, cancer, heart attack, and stroke.