Having a baby is so exciting and yes, you will sleep again!
By the time my first son was born, I had a chip on my shoulder. Every single knowing parent had paved my road to fatherhood with low expectations. Every time I mentioned that we were pregnant, the standard reaction was a knowing smile - a glint in the eye - and the promise that our lives were about to CHANGE, but not for the better. Most of the people we met along the way while my wife was pregnant told us to get some sleep, and that we would never sleep again.
While all those people might have been right, I have since and continue to refuse to give new parents the same treatment. I always tell them that being a parent and having a family will be their biggest adventure (aside from their marriage of course), and that I am so excited for them.
That is the same message I have for you today, and I’m here to tell you that yes, even though there is going to be some serious adjustment in the sleep department it is all worth it and you will not only survive, you will thrive.
Here are our strategies for getting enough sleep, when baby is new to house:
Create a family culture where sleep is important. You are a parent now, and it is a sudden change but you just have to go with it. You will need to sit down and talk about how this change is affecting all three of you. Some ideas you can use in this conversation:
Don’t wake each other up - any time the other person is sleeping agree to let them sleep as much as they can.
Get into your pajamas from 6:30-7:00. The earlier you get ready for bed, the earlier you will be in bed.
Keep all devices out of the bedroom. The phones and tablets are made to rob us of sleep.
Make less plans. In the first six months of a new baby’s life, it might be better to just not make any plans. You have to track this back and set this expectation in pregnancy, which is not easy. Many people will tell you you need to take care of yourself and go out and do stuff. But really your nails don't need to be done. You just have a baby, sleeping and resting is really taking care of yourself.
Keep getting regular workouts. (of course after the doctor gives you green light on this) As long as you get your workout in, you will sleep better, and feel better.
Let the baby sleep and take advantage of naps. Thankfully babies are programmed to need a lot of sleep.
Create an environment, both physical and habitual that promotes sleep opportunities. While closely related to your culture, your physical environment and schedule will help you create a culture of sleep in your family. Try some of these ideas:
Tone down the lights and colors, making sure what when you need to buy new light bulbs you trend towards warm light.
Start listening to softer music close to bed time.
Get both a “No Soliciting” sticker and a “Baby is Sleeping” sign and put them on the front door so that you don’t have any unwanted interruptions.
Silence your phones and other devices after 7:00pm.
Good luck! Lots more to come on the importance of sleep. You know it is important. Make sleep a priority!