If you want to be at your best for your baby, you need to make sure that you are taking care of yourself as well. This means eating plenty of nutritious food, getting an appropriate amount of exercise and getting an adequate amount of sleep.
But how can I get an adequate amount of sleep when there’s a baby in the house? You might ask. The answer, quite simply, is that you need to learn to sleep like a baby. In time, your baby will learn to sleep like an adult, but for the first four to eight months of his life, he isn’t going to be able to sleep through the night. Some babies do learn to sleep through the night faster than others, but babies can’t (and shouldn’t) sleep more than four hours at a time until they are at least four months old, because they need to eat at least that often.
So, how are you going to get enough rest? You’re going to learn to sleep like your baby does. Your baby sleeps 14-16 hours per day, give or take. Fortunately, you don’t need nearly that much sleep under normal circumstances. For adults, eight hours per day is plenty of sleep. And while most of us prefer uninterrupted sleep when we can get it, broken sleep is still sleep.
Your baby will sleep in two to four hour stretches for the first four months of his life. So, when baby nods off to sleep, you should be nodding off to sleep as well. Of course, you don’t need to go to sleep every time your baby goes to sleep, but you should try to lie down with baby often enough that you get your eight hours of sleep in.
Many of us have difficulty sleeping during the day. If that’s you, you might need to take some measures to help yourself sleep better. Here are a few suggestions for beating the noise and daylight which may make it difficult for you to nap during the day:
- Turn on some music to muffle the noise. Instrumental music is best, since it won’t tempt you to sing along (thus keeping you awake).
- Buy dark curtains for the rooms you like to sleep in. If this still doesn’t make things dark enough, consider buying a sleeper’s mask.
- Turn off the telephone. You’re not likely to get a call that’s more important than your sleep. Even if you do, let voice mail get it.
Remember, even if you don’t get to sleep, lying down to rest is still a good idea. The more rest you get, the better shape you will be in to take care of your precious little one.