Mother’s Day Sleep Tip #2: Put yourself on a sleep schedule (not your baby)

Mother's Day Sleep Tip #2: Put yourself on a sleep schedule (not your baby)

There is nothing wrong with wanting, craving, lusting after sleep. But trying to make your baby sleep longer so you can sleep longer isn’t the answer. Most babies don’t begin truly sleeping through the night (11-12 hours) until six months.

Instead find ways to maximize your sleep—even if your baby is still waking overnight. Start by creating a weekly “sleep” calendar for yourself and your spouse/partner. The success of this is predicated on each parent taking a “shift” to watch and care for the baby while the other sleeps.

Find evenings free of meetings, social obligations, visitors and out of town travel. Adults need five hours of largely uninterrupted night sleep to feel quasi normal. If mom sleeps 8 p.m.-1 a.m. and dad/partner 1:00 a.m.-6:00 a.m. (or the other way around), it will go a long way towards keeping you both rested.

If you are breastfeeding, write down when you anticipate the baby will be hungry. Invite your spouse/partner to bring in your baby with the explicit instructions that, after the feed, they will be in charge of changing, burping and settling baby down for sleep.

Sticking to a sleep calendar is key. So is the willingness to cut some corners. For instance:

Forgo a family dinner. Mom eats something quick and nutritious before heading to bed

Ordering, rather than making, dinner

Feeding baby with a bottle on occasion

Temporarily hiring a house cleaner to help with chores

Opting out of some of the extra-curricular activities of other siblings or trying to find a ride for him/her.

Ask family and friends to come over the evenings you are going to bed early to support your spouse/partner.

Practice “letting go” and allowing someone you trust and love to care for your child 2-3 evenings a week.
Five hours of sleep, three times a week. That is a mere 15 hours out of a total of 168 hours per week. This extra 15 hours translates into a whopping 60 hours more of night sleep a month!

Believe me, I completely get how many things can get in the way of making sleep a priority. By creating a calendar and changing your own sleep habits, rather than your babies, is bound to free up all those hours on the internet; hours that you can now spend sleeping.

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