1. Give Sleep the Respect it Deserves

New parents didn’t have the energy or clarity to deal with sleep once they were in the eye of the storm. This means you need to respect the issue enough to make a plan before your baby arrives.

2. Help Mom Overcome Her Prehistoric Drive

If the baby is fed, Mom should go to sleep, but new moms say this is harder than you'd imagine. Driven to do everything possible for their baby, with their mind full of worries, their last concern is taking care of themselves. So you’ll need to remind her sleep is a priority, and consistently insist she rests — if not for her own health, then for the baby’s benefit. If she stays awake when you tag team, take the baby into another room.


3. Tag Team a New Baby

You’ll need to work out a system for nights to optimize the sleep you’re both getting. With bottle feedings, you can take shifts. With breastfeeding, you can get the baby when he cries, change him, lay him down next to drowsy mom and go back to sleep, which works well if you’re a light sleeper and easily go back to sleep. If not, try the first evening or last morning shift, and when mom’s done, burp your baby and put him back to bed. You can also help her get naps in during the day. It’s not one-size-fits-all, so just work it out as best you can.


“A big part of being able to sleep is not having logistics or tasks to take care of when the baby is actually sleeping. Take care of as much as possible before Mom even goes into labor. Have all the diapers and wipes stocked in the changing table. Have all the necessities already purchased and put where they belong and organized. Have a couple casseroles in the fridge ready to bake or a few meals in the freezer that just need to be heated up. The less you need to unpack, cook, and shop for means the more time you have to relax and catch some Zs. Think like you’re prepping the house for a zombie apocalypse…only it’s for a baby! Have your family and friends bring meals or do chores if they want to visit and see the new addition.”  


Basic guidelines:

  • Your baby is unique and figuring out what works may involve some trial and error based on the cues he’s giving you. 
  • Stay flexible in finding an approach that works best for your baby. Both parents must buy into the strategy you use and be consistent in applying it. 
  • Be mindful of your baby's need for sleep. Droopy eyelids, yawning, or turning their head away from you is baby's way of saying, "I'm tired," or "I've had enough." 
  • Your baby’s sleep education will periodically regress into fussy periods when his brain is growing. The good news is these stages often result in him developing new self-soothing skills.
  • Experts and advocates tend to agree that sleep training does not work until your baby is 4 to 6 months old.
  • “Cry It Out” was never proposed by anyone; it’s a great sound bite made up by those who oppose sleep training.
  • Invite Mom to check on your sleeping baby with you, and marvel together at your angelic little bundle. 
  • If he looks a little too quiet, go ahead and make sure he’s breathing (very lightly touch his chest). We all did! 

    The Bed Time Routine:

    Creating a nightly routine for putting your baby to sleep is universally recommended. It calms them down, tells them it’s time to sleep, and makes them feel secure and safe. Here are bedtime practices parents found to be effective:

    • An earlier bedtime, around 7:30 p.m., is better than a late one. Babies sleep more because being overly tired makes it more difficult for babies to fall asleep.
    • Your routine may go something like this: feeding, bathing, diapering, pajamas, swaddling, dim the room, a simple lullaby, turn on white noise, then down to sleep in their bed.
    • Be consistent. As bedtime approaches, help her wind down by ditching the TV and other sources of stimulation and light. Use the same routine in the same order every night. 


    Other Ideas:

    • Warm their cold bed with a heating pad on low, then remove it.
    • Give your baby a massage.
    • Tape a used breast pad to crib, as babies have a great sense of smell. 

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