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On Motherhood Pregnancy and Your Newborn

Tips for Surviving Nights with a Newborn

Sleep is for the weak, and your newborn will test every ounce of mental strength you have.

Getting Real with Kira Hazledine

Those first few weeks after bringing the baby home are brutal. Everyone is trying to settle into a new routine, and your precious baby is adjusting to the outside world. Whether your new addition is bottle fed or breastfeed, nights are about to be rough. Most newborns are biologically programmed to not go to bed before 9am (because nature hates us) so what do we do to survive the night when an early bedtime isn’t an option?

  1. Have low expectations

Seriously. Don’t go into this thinking you’re about to get some beauty sleep after 9 long months of pregnancy. Being realistic about your life for the next few weeks will prevent heartbreak over those lost minutes and hours of sleep. Consider two consecutive hours a win and go from there, because it can only improve from here, right?

  1. Have a plan to fight sleep.

I know this sounds counter-intuitive, but the last thing you want to do is fall asleep with baby in hand. You are going to know the meaning of tired and until that baby is laid back down, you need a plan of action. Keep your favorite tv series loaded on Netflix or tap a friend who’s on the night shift to keep you going with some good conversation.

  1. Keep snacks on hand.

This is especially important if you’re breastfeeding. There’s a good chance that you’ll be starving at 3am and it’s hard to snag a snack from the kitchen when the baby won’t lay down in the crib. Having food that is easily accessible and unwrappable with one hand is a win.

  1. Stock diapers and wipes.

The last thing you want to be doing is fumbling around in the dark for every diaper change. Keep a dim lamp or nightlight in the room if necessary and have diapers and wipes right where you need them. Within a few days you’ll be able to do those diaper changes with your eyes closed and you’ll know exactly where to reach.

  1. Enlist reinforcements.

If you have a few rough nights, you’re going to need to replenish your energy somehow. Your baby needs you to be functioning on a few cylinders, if not all of them. Talk to family, a friend, or a significant other about spending a couple hours with the baby so that you can get some undisturbed rest.

The first weeks that your baby is home are rough, and that’s putting it lightly. Luckily, it’s all temporary. Eventually, your baby will start sleeping better and sleep will sort of reappear in your life. At least they’re cute, right?

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