It’s no secret that you don’t get much sleep when you have a newborn. It’s just inevitable. And those people who tell you, “Oh my perfect little baby has slept totally through the night since she was a month old” are most likely lying or exaggerating. So basically, there’s no avoiding the sleep deprivation. There are, however, ways to help yourself survive in the midst of the lack of sleep. Here is what helped me in those first few months of my baby’s life.
1. First, I found that it really helps to have a schedule for those nighttime wake-ups with the baby. This is significantly more challenging if you are breastfeeding, obviously, but you could pump and have your spouse do a couple of the middle of the night feedings with heated pumped milk. That way you are getting at least a few straight hours of sleep.
2. GET. A. SWING!! Our baby swing was my best friend when the boys were newborns. It was the perfect way to get them to sleep for a bit so I could lay down too. They were buckled in and it soothed them to sleep FOR ME.
3. Know that it won’t last forever. Soon enough, your baby will sleep longer at night. It takes a few months, but it will come! I promise!
4. If you were gifted a massage after having the baby, wait until your baby is sleeping longer at night to go redeem that gift certificate. I made the mistake of going to get a massage in the midst of my sleep deprivation and totally fell asleep mid-massage! I missed half of it!
5. Get a T-shirt made that says “I have a newborn! Please don’t judge me!” That way, when you go out in public, no one will look at you and wonder if you have a mirror in your home. Totally kidding… kind of.
6. If you don’t have a coffee maker, BUY ONE! There will be days when coffee may be your only means of survival. If you are breastfeeding, try to keep it to one cup a day so you won’t irritate your baby’s tummy.
7. Ask for maid service as a baby shower gift. Yes, they say to nap when the baby naps — but that’s hard when you have dishes to clean, laundry to fold, toilets to scrub, etc. Sooooo, ask family members if they could get you a maid for the first month or two after you have your baby, instead of buying baby shower gifts. Then you can actually nap when the baby naps!
Like I said earlier, the great news is that your baby won’t wake up every 2 hours forever! It’s just a season and it goes by quicker than you think it will. So hang in there. You’ll make it through! And maybe just apologize to your significant other in advance for your mental instability after the baby is born. Haha.