New parents: Getting the sleep you needBeing a new parent can be exhausting. Try these strategies to fit more sleep into your days and nights.
By Mayo Clinic Staff
It's 2 a.m. and your newborn is crying. Will you ever get a good night's sleep again?
Although life with a newborn is a round-the-clock adventure, don't lose hope. By age 3 months, many babies can sleep at least five hours at a time. By age 6 months, nighttime stretches of nine to 12 hours are possible. In the meantime, a little creativity can help you sneak in as much sleep as possible.
Suggestions for the weary
While there's no magical formula for getting enough sleep, these strategies can help:
Aug. 04, 2011
- Sleep when your baby sleeps. Silence your phone, hide the laundry basket and ignore the dishes in the kitchen sink. Calls and chores can wait.
- Set aside social graces. When friends and loved ones visit, don't offer to be the host. Instead, ask if they could watch the baby while you take a nap.
- Don't 'bed share' during sleep. It's OK to bring your baby into your bed for nursing or comforting — but return your baby to the crib or bassinet when you're ready to go back to sleep.
- Split up nighttime duties. Work out a schedule with your partner that allows both of you to rest and care for the baby. If you're breast-feeding, perhaps your partner could bring you the baby and handle nighttime diaper changes. If you're using a bottle, take turns feeding the baby.
- Give watchful waiting a try. Sometimes, middle-of-the-night fussing or crying is simply a sign that your baby is settling down. Unless you suspect that your baby is hungry or uncomfortable, it's OK to wait a few minutes to see what happens.
See more In-depth
- Grover G. Sleep: Normal patterns and common disorders. In: Berkowitz CD. Berkowitz's Pediatrics: A Primary Care Approach. 3rd ed. Washington, D.C.: American Academy of Pediatrics; 2008:75.
- Owens JA. Sleep medicine. In: Kliegman RM. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 18th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:91.
- Henderson JM, et al. Sleeping through the night: The consolidation of self-regulated sleep across the first year of life. Pediatrics. 2010;126:e1081.
- Kennedy HP, et al. Negotiating sleep: A qualitative study of new mothers. The Journal of Perinatal & Neonatal Nursing. 2007;21:114.
- American Academy of Pediatrics Task Force on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. The changing concept of sudden infant death syndrome. Pediatrics. 2005;116:1245.
- Shelov SP, et al. Your child's sleep. In: Shelow SP, et al. Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5. 5th ed. New York, N.Y.: Bantam Books; 2009:837.
- Insomnia. The National Women's Health Information Center. http://www.4woman.gov/faq/insomnia.htm. Accessed May 31, 2011.