New parents: Getting the sleep you need
Being a new parent can be exhausting. Try these strategies to fit more sleep into your days and nights.By Mayo Clinic Staff
It's 2 a.m. and your newborn is crying. Will you ever get a good night's sleep again?
Although life with a newborn is a round-the-clock adventure, don't lose hope. By ages 3 to 4 months, many babies can sleep at least five hours at a time. At some point during your baby's first year, nighttime stretches of 10 hours are possible. In the meantime, a little creativity can help you sneak in as much sleep as possible.
Suggestions for the weary
While there's no magical formula for getting enough sleep, these strategies can help:
Oct. 12, 2017
- Sleep when your baby sleeps. Silence your phone, hide the laundry basket and ignore the dishes in the kitchen sink. Calls and chores can wait.
- Set aside social graces. When friends and loved ones visit, don't offer to be the host. Instead, ask if they could watch the baby while you take a nap.
- Don't 'bed share' during sleep. It's OK to bring your baby into your bed for nursing or comforting — but return your baby to the crib or bassinet when you're ready to go back to sleep.
- Split duties. If possible, work out a schedule with your partner that allows each of you alternately to rest and care for the baby.
- Give watchful waiting a try. Sometimes, you might need to let your baby cry himself or herself to sleep. Unless you suspect that your baby is hungry or uncomfortable, it's OK to encourage self-soothing. If the crying doesn't stop, check on your baby, offer comforting words and leave the room. Your reassuring presence might be all your baby needs to fall asleep.
See more In-depth
- Berkowitz CD. Sleep: Normal patterns and common disorders. In: Berkowitz's Pediatrics: A Primary Care Approach. 5th ed. Elk Grove Village, Ill.: American Academy of Pediatrics; 2014.
- Shelov SP, et al. Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5. 6th ed. New York, N.Y.: Bantam Books; 2014.
- Insomnia. Womenshealth.gov. https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/insomnia. Accessed Sept. 11, 2017.
- American Academy of Pediatrics Task Force on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. SIDS and other sleep-related infant deaths: Updated 2016 recommendations for a safe infant sleeping environment. Pediatrics. 2016;138:1.