Disclosure: I partnered with Babywise.Life to write this post. Although, this post is sponsored all opinions and text are my own.
Is it possible to survive newborn sleep without feeling like you are losing your mind? Perhaps a better title may have been surviving lack of newborn sleep without losing your mind. I don’t think anything can prepare your body for sleepless nights, even lack of sleep at the end of pregnancy. So, how do you survive? I feel like I have a unique perspective on motherhood being that my children were born in 3 different decades of my life. I was 29 when my first baby was born, 31 with my second, 40 with my third, and 42 with the caboose. My children are 13, 10, 2, and 5 months old. As I think about each baby, we have parented them all differently according to their unique personalities, and our life experiences at that time. However, there are some commonalities that I believe have helped contribute to our babies sleeping through the night.
The number one sanity saver, in my opinion, is perspective. Perspective began to hit me with baby number two, then even stronger with each subsequent pregnancy. With our first baby, it truly felt like I would never have a full nights sleep again in my entire life. The nights evaporated into days until I didn’t know if I was coming or going. However, in my last three pregnancies, I’ve been able to look back and remember that sleepless night’s end. Instead of feeling like I’d never sleep again, those precious moments in the hush of the night when it was just my precious baby and me, became a sacred moment. I knew it would end soon, so I savored their sweet smell and enjoyed their tiny bodies melting into mine as they sleepily nursed.
2. Feeding Time
Although the schedules of my babies have varied from a very rigid, same thing same time every day, to a much more loose schedule based on baby’s hunger cues, there is value in feeding about the same time each day. For example, my 5-month-old wakes up around the same time every morning, and she eats roughly every three hours all day long.
3. Late Night Feeding
Typically, if we are home baby girl falls asleep around 8:30 or 9 pm. Instead of letting her sleep until she wakes, I wake her around 10 pm for her last feeding of the day. This allows me a greater stretch of sleep in the night since I don’t go to bed at 9 pm.
4. Set the Atmosphere
When baby wakes in the middle of the night keep the room dark. I bought a very low voltage light bulb for the lamp beside my bed for diaper changes. Middle of the night feedings are very chill and calm. I don’t use this time to make her smile or get her attention to set the tone of expectation that after night feedings, we sleep.
5. Rest & Refuel
Sleep when you can. I know this one is hard, especially if you have other children besides a newborn. But, if you can lay down for a few minutes it will give your exhausted body rest. Next, make sure to fuel your body properly. Getting enough water and proper nutrition makes a huge difference, and it’s one thing that can be controlled when everything else seems contrary.
At the end of the day, one thing is sure, every season changes. My 2-year old, 10 years old, and 13 years old, never wake me during the night to feed them anymore. In fact, we’re happy if my teenager wants to sit with us at church instead of her friends. Give yourself grace on top of grace. Accomplishing the same things in a day as you did before a newborn is next to impossible. Creating new expectations, which include more grace than a list of tasks, will be one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself.