5 ways working mums with new babies can get more sleep when you return to work
The joy of a new baby is certainly special and something that all new parents experience. However, not getting enough sleep is also part of having a new baby and new parents notoriously get very little sleep, if any at all.
For new mums on maternity leave, it can be gruelling enough, but if you’re self-employed or have to go back to work before your child is sleeping through the night it can be tough.
Fortunately, there are some strategies and tips to help new parents get some sleep when the new baby comes. Of course, with a baby you will never get an abundance of sleep (well not while you’re sharing the same home, anyway!), but these tips will help you at least get enough sleep to keep your sanity.
- Tip no. 1 Take turns
When the baby starts crying both parents generally wake up, even if only one parent (mum!) attends to the baby. However, this will lead to a lack of sleep for both parents, when only one of you really needs to be up. The best plan is for you and your spouse or partner to make a plan or rota to decide who will get up when to comfort or feed your crying baby. Generally, taking turns is really the best option and will help everyone get just a little more sleep. Even if you breastfeed, you can express your milk so that your other half gets to bond with the baby as well.
- Tip no. 2 Nap with your baby
If you’re caring for the baby and are tired when baby goes to sleep, you should take a nap as well. Being a mumpreneur can mean that you’ll be tempted to use all your baby’s nap time to get those tasks that require quietness or undisturbed concentration, but taking at least one nap during the day with your baby will help you to get some much needed sleep and you’ll be a lot more productive in the long run.
- Tip no. 3 Accept help
Frequently when you have a new baby there are plenty of people willing to help, but when you just want to get some quiet time and get on with bonding with your new baby, it can be all too easy to rebuff offers of help. But, when you really need to get some sleep just accept some of the help that is being offered. Having your mum, sister or friend care for the baby just a couple of hours will allow you to get some much needed sleep, and it will get your baby used to being around other people as well.
- Tip no. 4 keep your baby in his own bed in his nursery
The baby should sleep in the nursery and not with the parents. Many times it is tempting to allow the baby to sleep in your bed – especially if you’re breastfeeding, but this is not healthy for the child or the parents. So, put the baby to sleep in his crib in his room (where possible). Then, when the baby cries one parent can easily go attend to the baby without disturbing the other parent, meaning one of you always gets to catch up on your sleep.
- Tip no. 5 feed your baby before you go to sleep
If your baby has been asleep for several hours and it is around 11 pm when you’re getting ready for bed try towake baby for a feed. Most babies wake during the night because they are hungry, so if you feed baby late before you go to bed it is likely they will sleep until early morning meaning (with a bit of luck) that you’ll get some continuous sleep, even if it’s not as much as you want.
Founder and editor of www.motherswhowork.co.uk, a mother of two wonderful children, wife, entrepreneur (check out www.geekschool.co.uk) and journalist.