The New Parent’s Guide to Surviving on Very Little Sleep

When I hear the phrase “sleeping like a baby” sometimes I ask myself, “Wait… babies sleep?” One of the biggest challenges that we as new parents face is the long nights and even longer days of sleep deprivation that come with raising a newborn. Those early weeks are a huge adjustment for new parents as we stumble along with only a few hours of sleep under our belts at a time. Rest assured, there is hope and baby will sleep through the night! Here’s my new parent guide for how to survive on little sleep.

  • Hush Little Baby...

    Hush Little Baby...

    Don’t worry, new moms and dads – there IS hope!

    photo credit: hannanik via photopin

  • Check on Baby

    Check on Baby

    If you want to make sure your rest is as comfortable as possible, make sure baby is getting the sleep she needs, too. If baby is fussy, run down the checklist: Is she hungry? Does she need a diaper change? Does she need a little help getting to sleep on her own? A happy baby is a baby who will be able to get to sleep – and a baby who sleeps is just what mom and dad need!

    photo credit: Keiko Zoll

  • Try to Sleep While Baby Sleeps

    Try to Sleep While Baby Sleeps

    It’s an old adage you hear all the time. And yes, baby does sleep during the day. If you can squeeze in a catnap while baby sleeps, even just 20 minutes of shuteye can do wonders to recharge your batteries.

    photo credit: Keiko Zoll

  • Indulge With a Little Extra Jolt

    Indulge With a Little Extra Jolt

    Whether it’s tea or coffee or maybe even some chocolate, it’s perfectly okay for both mom and dad to get a little jolt of caffeine to get them started in the morning. Breastfeeding moms can even have up to 500 mg of caffeine per day (or five 5 oz. cups of coffee), according to KellyMom. Just keep an eye on baby to see if she might be sensitive to caffeine and stay away from energy drinks that contain far too much caffeine for both you and baby.

    photo credit: Digital Internet via photopin

  • Stay Hydrated

    Stay Hydrated

    If you’re sleep deprived, the last thing you want is to be dehydrated on top of that. Dehydration only compounds the sleepiness and brain fog, making it even harder to get through the day. New moms dehydrate even faster, especially if they’re breastfeeding. Get in the habit when it’s time for baby to eat, it’s time for mom to get a tall cold glass of water to drink while baby eats.

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  • Eat Wholesomely

    Eat Wholesomely

    Between diaper changes, loads of laundry, and a hungry baby, you might forget to pick up a fork for yourself! If you want to keep what little energy you have going, you need to make sure you give your body the fuel it needs. Eating well and wholesomely ensures you get solid nutrients and calories throughout the day to keep you going.

    photo credit: Orofacial via photopin

  • Take Your Vitamins

    Take Your Vitamins

    With the long hours, new moms are best served by sticking with their prenatal vitamins, while new dads can start taking a multivitamin. Making sure you get all the nutrients you need will be helpful for you to stay as energized as you can, and it will help keep you from getting sick, since sleep deprivation can wear down your immune system.

    photo credit: colindunn via photopin

  • Power Down Before Bed

    Power Down Before Bed

    Since your sleeping hours are precious few, make sure you get the most out of your rest. Make sure you’re not watching TV, checking your phone or playing with a tablet before bed. All that screen time just keeps your brain going, making it difficult for you to either fall asleep, or achieve a deep, restful sleep.

    photo credit: xJason.Rogersx via photopin

  • Get Some Help (It's Okay!)

    Get Some Help (It's Okay!)

    Sometimes the best thing that exhausted parents need is a little help, whether it’s a postpartum doula, a babysitter, or even just Nana and Pop Pop (or, in this photo, Obachan and Ojichan)! Even if they can just watch the baby for an hour while you can get in a nap, having some extra help is a huge relief to new and very tired parents.

    photo credit: Keiko Zoll

For those of you with babies sleeping through the night, what tips do you have to share for new parents to get through with very little sleep?

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