During those first few weeks and months of your baby’s life, your whole sleep schedule is going to be messed up. There’s just no way around it. Sure, you might be one of the lucky ones whose babies all sleep through the night by 7 weeks old. Chances are, however, that you’re going to have to wait longer than that before your little one is sleeping all the way through the night.

What’s especially frustrating about all of this is that, sometimes, even though your baby is sleeping fine, you’ll discover you can’t sleep. You get into a habit of waking up, even if she doesn’t.

If that happens, here are some things you can do to occupy your time and maybe even be a little bit productive in the meantime:

  • Learn something. Pick up a book on gardening, and save it for when you can’t sleep. Get a foreign language program, and teach yourself to speak that language. After all, what better excuse to plan a trip to Europe than the fact that you learned to speak French in three months, thanks to your little one?
  • Read something. Nighttime is a great time to catch up on some reading. Grab a good book. Pick up a favorite novel. Read the newspaper, a magazine, or your favorite blogs and websites. It will be pretty quiet at night, and it’s really the best time to try to engage your brain in some quality reading time without all of the distractions of the day.
  • Watch something. Nighttime TV isn’t the wasteland of infomercials that it used to be. Even if you can’t find anything good on cable, you can consider renting a movie on demand from your cable or satellite provider. With services out there like Netflix and Hulu, you can also stream your favorite TV shows and movies right to your computer, any time of day or night.
  • Make something. Use the opportunity to bake some brownies, work on a craft project or write your novel. Who knows, you may always remember your baby’s infancy as the time you made that birdhouse that is mounted in your front yard.