Strategies for sleep deprived parents
- Have baby sleep in your room from the first day home. Remember noise is not an issue for baby - nor is soft bedside lighting. Getting used to the snuffles and noises of a newborn baby may be more difficult for you, but persevere - it's worth it.
- Experts disagree on whether you should wake baby for a feed before you go to bed, or leave him to wake for a feed when he is ready, in the hope that he will sleep for longer. You will have to decide for yourself which works best.
- Have a set of change clothes (including a bottom sheet) ready - ideally on a foldaway change table - just in case.
- Take it in turns with your partner to get up to baby.
- It is better if you don't have to get out of bed when baby wakes. Reaching over to the bassinette to give him a gentle pat or to rock the bassinette may be enough to help him return to sleep.
- When you need to feed baby, do it in bed. Breastfeeding makes this so much easier as you can place baby in the crook of your arm and nod off as he feeds.
- If baby needs changing, change him after he has emptied the first breast and before he starts the second breast. If he is bottle-fed, stop feeding halfway through the bottle, gently burp him, then change his nappy before giving him the rest.
- When he falls asleep put him back in his cot. If you and baby fall asleep together that's fine - unless you have a waterbed or there is some other possible risk factor for SIDS.
- When you are feeding baby during the day, make the atmosphere interesting and different. Talk to baby, sing, play. Make sure the room is light and bright. At night, confine your interaction to feeding and soothing - don't talk or play if you want him to take night-time seriously.