You have waited for months, if not years for your baby to arrive in your life. Maybe you’re even gushing to all your friends about your sweet baby’s imminent arrival. There are many comments that people will make to you. People are overjoyed, excited and then they say “enjoy your rest now because when this baby comes, it’s over!”
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Let me tell you, as a mother of four and a neonatal nurse.
It will be fine, I promise. It’s possible to get your baby to sleep. You don’t have to live with sleep deprivation.
These five facts will help you relax about baby sleep before your little one arrives.
1. There is no need to be concerned about “schedules” and “bad habits” in the beginning.
I understand Type A people who thrive on productivity. My days are organized and I thrive when I do what I can in a given week. You will need to give up your drive to be productive during the first month of your baby’s life. You don’t have to decide that your day will always start at 7:00 AM and that you will set your own feeding times each day.
I’m the first to tell you, if you haven’t heard it already: A schedule that you find online will not work perfectly. You will find your baby falling asleep while you eat. Your baby will want to eat even before the clock tells her it’s time. You will have to take naps occasionally. It is normal and acceptable.
- Let me give you a list of things to do in the first month following your baby’s arrival. It’s here:
- Take care of yourself
- Take care of your baby
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2. Sometimes you will need to wake up your baby.
Yes, I sure am. It’s important to get her up every hour so she doesn’t go longer than three hours without eating.
- First: Infants are able to calculate how many calories they require in 24 hours.
- Second: Your newborn won’t give you a long sleep. This could last for 3-4 hours at first.
To get the one night of uninterrupted sleep, you must eat enough calories throughout the day to ensure that you have sufficient energy. This can be done by offering a feeding every three hours throughout the day. (Please Note: Feeding times are measured from the beginning of one feeding to another, much like contractions.
3. Amazing products are a great help.
I swear I’m not a baby product shopper. I see parents buying baby products that they don’t need. I can only tell you that I believe every parent should have four items upon their return from the hospital.
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4. The best baby sleep product is actually completely free: It’s lightweight!
According to a study by the Journal of Sleep Research, babies who had more sunlight in the afternoon were more likely to sleep soundly at night.
Light is a great way to help babies establish their biological clocks. Every day, get outside. If you are unable to get outside, close the blinds and let the sun shine in. Research has shown that light filtered through windows can also be effective. Artificial lights can be used to mimic sunlight if it isn’t sunny.
- It will shock you to see how little you can get sleep for the first month. But, you don’t have this much time to live!
Ask any parent who is new to parenting: In the first month you will feel exhausted but you will be amazed at how much energy you have for your child. It will be like living in absolute bliss if you can sleep uninterrupted for four hours. This won’t last forever. But you will have enough to get through the first few hours, despite all the late night feedings, and wakes.
- Although sleep deprivation can be difficult, it is CHRONIC sleep loss.
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What can you do? Take a class!
Yes, classes can be very helpful. A study in the Maternal and Child Health Journal found that parenting classes can improve the birth outcomes for babies whose mothers are stressed, anxious, or depressed. Baby sleep is the same. You can make your newborn’s experience better by taking a baby sleep class!