Congratulations Dad! Bringing home your newborn is an exciting time and certain to keep you on your toes. In order to make this transition smoother, we’ve thrown together some tips and tricks to help best prepare you for the amazing lack of sleep you are about to endure.
Now we’ve heard this story before. New parents often struggle with the lack of sleep this life-changing event brings, which is primarily driven by the sleep needs of our babies. Newborns up to 3 months typically need 14-17 hours of sleep and roughly 7-9 hours of naps (3-5 naps) per day. Babies 4 to 11 months typically need 12-15 hours of sleep and roughly 4-5 hours of naps (2-3 naps) per day. When you realize most newborns have no respect for our day or night schedules and then add in those midnight feedings, you have a recipe for sleep deprivation.
So how can you adapt and ensure your sleep doesn’t totally suffer?
- Have a plan - Woking with your significant other on a plan to manage your newborn’s sleep and feedings will be key. Now keep in mind this may be a moving target with several nuances depending on your situation (and baby), but working as a team by sticking to the plan and schedule is crucial.
- You need a nap as well - Naps are an amazing tool to help give you an extra boost during the day or to help you recover from a night where you could not achieve your full amount of required sleep. Shoot for naps that are anywhere from 15-30 minutes max. Better yet, nap when your baby naps if you have the opportunity.
- Schedule a recovery period - Grabbing some dedicated dad time goes a long way. I recommend a massage at least once a month or some form of outdoor activity that helps you disconnect.
- Sunshine is your friend - Light is one of the key driving forces to our circadian rhythms. Stepping outside periodically throughout the day to recharge will give you a much-needed boost and keep your sleep/wake schedule in sync.
- Build a recovery room - I’m sure you’ve spent hours researching and spent some hard earned dollars buying all sorts of “sleep aids” to keep your baby comfortable and asleep. But don’t stop there! Do the same for yourself. Sound machines, in-room air purifiers, smart lighting and a new mattress will help provide you with the high quality rest you so desperately need.
Another tip I highly recommend is creating your own sleep routine. Similar to your baby’s sleep routine, taking the time to treat yourself to a similar experience will help mentally prepare you for bedtime.
A sleep routine can encompass anything you feel helps to relax you right before bedtime. A long shower, your favorite PJs or just some chill time on the couch with your significant other. If possible, start your sleep routine shortly after you put your child to sleep.
And it just so happens that our favorite sleep routine starts with the most you could imagine.
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