If you’re the parent of a newborn, you might be surprised to know that your baby sleeps an average of 14 hours or more per day. Of course, it really doesn’t seem like that could be the case when you’re up every two or three hours for a feeding. In fact, getting used to the baby sleep schedule is one of the hardest parts of those first few months of your baby’s life.
If you’re breastfeeding, you’re pretty much on the hook to follow that baby sleep schedule. When baby’s sleeping, mommy probably needs to be sleeping. Even a baby that’s bottle fed doesn’t usually sleep that much longer than a breastfed baby. Baby stomachs are small, and that liquid diet digests quickly. It’s a good thing, too, because baby needs all of the nutrients and energy it provides to grow.
The trick with baby sleep is getting enough sleep yourself. This can be especially difficult if you have daytime commitments that deny you some flexibility. For many moms, the best bet is to try to sleep for an hour or two when baby sleeps.
This isn’t to say that the stay-at-home mom needs to get the same 14 hours of sleep that baby does. Rather, you should plan on trying to get a nap or two here or there, or perhaps go to bed later than normal in order to make the most of your baby’s sleep schedule.
Some moms have trouble taking those naps during the day. There are some things you can consider to help you sleep, from room-darkening shades to a sleep mask to a white noise recording, CD or machine. (The fact of the matter is that white noise may also help to calm your baby and to help him sleep longer, too.)
If you nap when your baby naps, it will help equip you to handle those nighttime feedings and other nighttime interruptions. While this is increasingly difficult in the modern, busy world, remember to take the time you need to care for yourself in order that you’ll be in the best condition to take care of your baby.