Occasional sleepless nights are nothing compared to the lack of sleep that comes with having a newborn. It’s more than a case of grogginess. It’s full-on exhaustion because during the first few weeks when a baby’s tiny tummy needs to be topped up every three hours. This sleep-wake-eat cycle is best for your babe but unforgiving for you, especially while you’re recovering from labour and delivery.

This is when to drop the guilt and trim your to-do list. Allow yourself to carve out time and space for nourishing your little human and your own well-being, which includes sneaking in ways to get the winks you need. Begin with introducing a bottle so your partner can take over a night shift and nap whenever you can even if it means setting the PVR because the truth is Game of Thrones can wait especially when your sleep hygiene is out of whack.

Around the two-month mark, you’ll finally feel some relief. Your baby will begin sleeping longer at night and you might be able to skip the middle of the night feeding. By three months, they may be sleeping up to 8 hours straight. Don’t get too excited though because sometimes they’ll regress and start waking you up again. Babies are seriously cute but they also like to switch gears while they grow and develop. Simply take their changes in stride and try to keep healthy sleep habits in place.

Baby Sleep Tips

To help your little one sleep longer at night, limit daytime naps to no more than three hours and get into a cozy routine with loving cues that signal bedtime. Begin with a bath and a feeding followed by a lullaby while the lights are low. Wrap them up in a swaddle blanket and if your baby likes the sound of a rhythmic hum, play soft music or white noise to help them fall asleep. Most of all, try to keep interruptions to a minimum, especially after you’ve put so much work into soothing their little bodies into much needed slumber. During night feedings, keep your interaction low key—don’t turn on the lights, change them quietly before they eat, then put them back to bed without any playtime.

Sleep Health 411

Taking precautions to reduce the risk of SIDS, or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, is a must for your sleep routine too, even during naps. Always have baby sleep on their back and avoid sleep positioners or rolled up blankets to help keep them in place. If they’ve moved onto their tummy, gently turn them over to their back again. Once they are able to roll from their backs to their sides or their stomach independently, they’re big enough to sleep without your help anymore. And here’s good news: It’s okay to have a baby sleep in a crib, cradle or bassinet in your room. According to the Canadian Pediatric Society, infants who share a room with a parent or caregiver have a lower risk of SIDS, which is welcome relief for your baby and for you because having them close makes night feedings easier. [1]

Sleep, or rather the lack of sleep, is a big topic for new parents. Share your thoughts here!

How do you fit more sleep into your day?

What helps you feel energized after a long night with baby?

If you have a hard time sleeping when baby is sleeping, how do you wind down?