Tips for New Parents on How to Survive the Lack of Sleep During the First Year
In partnership with Owlet Care
If there is one thing that no amount of researching can prepare you for in the lead-up to bringing your new baby home, it’s the lack of sleep. Having to wake during the night, sometimes several times, to care for your newborn is a huge adjustment, especially for first time parents. Aside from the fact that it is exhausting, consistent sleep deprivation can impact negatively on both your physical and mental health, so it is important to ensure you make time to care for yourself as well as your baby.
“To me, the importance of sleep can never be underestimated especially in the early years of life,” explains Kelly Martin, a certified sleep consultant and mum of 3, based in Adelaide. “We place such emphasis on our little one’s eating, drinking and sleeping patterns, that everything can become a little too overwhelming and self-doubt, along with sleep deprivation can set in.”
Martin, who has been working with new parents for over 4 years, has kindly shared some expert tips with us on how to introduce best practice sleep routines for you and your bub.
“The first step is always the hardest, especially when there is an overwhelming amount of information and advice readily available,” explains Martin. “Parents are given ample insight into different birth choices but the information they receive regarding newborn care is often quite limited. It doesn’t matter whether it’s your first bub or your fourth, being armed with different approaches to improving your own, and your baby’s sleep, is key.
Martin recommends keeping your expectations realistic, as your new baby adjusts to their new environment. Nobody expects you to know everything, and you and your newborn need time to get to know each other and there are many methods that you can learn to soothe them.
“Take a deep breath, use trusted sources and begin building your knowledge.”
Create a Network
Another thing that new parents often struggle with, is being bombarded with well-intentioned advice and opinions from friends, family and sometimes even strangers, on how best to care for their newborn.
“New parents have a lot of anxiety and questions running through their head. People will be wanting to help you and share their experiences but keep in mind that all babies are different and what works for you and your bub needs to take priority,” advises Martin.
“How well your baby sleeps is not a competition. Sleep doesn’t come easily and naturally to all; some babies struggle, especially for the first three months as they adjust from ‘womb to room life.’”
Rather than taking on board all of the often-conflicting advice, and feeling confused and overwhelmed, Martin recommends new parents develop a close-knit network that they can turn to for support when needed. Whether this be family, friends or even your doctor, never be afraid to ask for help.
Invest in Support Tools
“Many parents are turning to certified sleep consultants for additional support in creating healthy and sustainable sleeping habits for themselves and their babies,” explains Martin. “Sleep experts can provide practical tips and advice based on the science behind sleep, which can play a positive role in how your little one sleeps.”
“Another tool which can provide parents with peace of mind are baby monitors. The brand new Owlet Smart Sock 3 tracks your baby’s heart rate, oxygen levels and sleep patterns only notifying parents when the metrics leave preset levels.
Becoming a parent for the first time comes with many challenges. Remember you are going through what is likely to be the most significant transition, of your life. Be kind to yourself and equip yourself with the right resources and tools to support you during the next phase.