First-time Parents Struggle to Get Enough Sleep

· September 10, 2017

The main struggle for first-time parents is to get enough sleep, or to sleep at all. The first few days can be difficult and exhausting, especially due to a fear of not knowing if everything is okay.

Everyone knows that newborns sleep for many hours a day, but they must also be fed. Babies’ habits remain the same throughout the day and night, which makes adapting to their schedule difficult during the first few weeks.

The important thing is for both parents and the baby to get enough rest. Although it may seem complicated, sleeping with a newborn is possible. 

For both first-time and more experienced parents, everything is new because a baby is full of surprises. The main thing to understand is that a newborn is a new individual, with their own personality, needs and peculiarities.

The problem is clearly not the baby’s ability to sleep, but rather our ability to adapt to their sleeping schedule and take advantage of opportunities to rest. As we have said, babies will sleep a lot, so let’s try to rest at the same time as they do. But it can sometimes be hard for first-time parents to fall asleep at all.

Do mothers sleep more than fathers?

According to some surveys, it has been found that mothers sleep more hours than fathers. Mothers tend to sleep for a few hours at night and have a nap during the day while the baby sleeps. However, fathers often have to work during the day after getting little rest at night.

It is well-known that babies sleep at all times of day, only waking up to breastfeed or due to discomfort. So mothers may sleep more, but in fragmented times. Resting this way can cause them to feel more tired.

Tips for getting enough sleep as a new parent

  • Take advantage of opportunities to rest. It is important for you to take advantage of any opportunity to sleep, even if only for very short time periods. It is great to be able to rest while the baby sleeps, which will soon change. Lack of sleep can lead to increased tiredness, moodiness and irritability. Therefore, we should not waste the opportunity to rest as much as possible.
  • Have patience. After the third month since birth, babies can already establish a daily rhythm for sleep. In some cases they can sleep through the night or for several hours in a row. Over time they don’t need to be fed as often as before. You have to be patient; the first few months can be difficult, but they are not impossible. Keep in mind that things will eventually become more relaxed. When the newborn can find his or her 24-hour rhythm, there will be more opportunity to regain lost sleep. 
  • Work as a team. One of the advantages of living as a couple is the opportunity to work as a team. Sharing tasks between the two of you would be a good option at this stage. One of the most common strategies is that each night you take turns getting up to care for the baby. Meaning one night it’s the mother’s turn and the next night the father’s, so the fatigue will be less. However, it’s often impossible for both to sleep if the baby cries a lot.

  • Help the baby rest. There are two types of babies: those who sleep well and those who cry at night. Continuing to calm a newborn’s crying can be difficult, but techniques exist to help him or her feel calmer. It is advisable to sing, listen to music together, or rock in a chair. Babies who sleep well will only wake up when hungry or when their diaper needs changing. In this case, parents will have more time to get to sleep.
  • Improve your diet. It is important to feed ourselves as best we can in order to contribute to our rest and well-being. Some things to avoid include coffee, soda and even chocolate, as they have substances like theobromine caffeine. Sometimes inappropriate food can prevent regular sleep.