Posts Tagged ‘sleep’

This is probably the ‘most-asked’ question I come across when speaking to people after their first baby.  I think the answer is pretty simple in most cases: get more sleep!

That sounds a little smart-arsey so I will explain.  More often than not the new parents asking are trying really hard to do 3 things:

  1. Get some semblance of ‘normality’ back into their lives by going straight back to their old pre-baby routine.
  2. Follow all the advice about getting the baby into a routine and keeping the baby in a cot or moses basket, often in the baby’s own room.
  3. Get ‘stuff’ done while their baby sleeps during the day.

Tips and ideas for getting over/rid of the above 3 inhibitors of good sleep in the early days with a new baby.

  1. Accept this is the new normality.  If you need to go to bed 1 hour earlier than you used to it will not kill you or your partner for 6 months or even a year but might make the world of difference to your relationship with your baby.
  2. Babies come with their own routines.  These might be haphazard and all over the place, or they might be like clockwork from day one.  There is not a lot that you can do to change their routines, without harming your baby’s development.
  3. Most babies will sleep better right next to mum – whether in a baby-waker (sorry, moses basket) in the room or whether curled up in the crook of her arm in her bed.  Most mums will also get considerably more sleep in this situation too.  If your intuition is telling you that the best place for your baby is right next to you, trust it and listen.
  4. The best thing you can do if you are still tired is to nap with your baby in the daytime.  Chores can wait, washing will always need doing.  But for 6 months, a year or even two if having a daytime nap with your baby is good for your mental health and relationships then what is the harm?  This should be 100% guilt-free because at this time you and your baby should come before anything else!

I can’t bear all the child-rearing tomes that come from the angle of baby being deliberately obtuse.  Babies do not come into the world needing to be dominated or controlled.  They come innocently trying to survive on their instincts – which have been built into the human race over millenia to ensure that our infants do survive.

Looking after yourself in the early days with a new baby means that you will be able to truly cherish this wonderful time together – a time that you can never get back again!  (whereas the floor will still need hoovering, and the repeat of Waking the Dead will still be on)


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