Keeping your sanity with your newborn baby
Author: Heidi Holvoet, PhD
These special first weeks with your newborn never come back: maximize
your own sleep so you can truly enjoy this time. We also have a look at
which baby care products you really need, and which are just nice to
And I answer frequently asked real-life questions.
Sleep for YOU
You've just given birth and are ready for a good rest ... but your new
just might not allow you as
much sleep as you need. Especially in these first weeks, she needs you
nearby a lot and often also at night.
Even if she does sleep well, it
can still be difficult for you to rest and sleep well. Or to find the
energy to do all the things you want during the day.
putting to bed, hoping she'll sleep, arranging the
baby shower, looking after an older brother or sister, shopping,
working, ... but what about enjoying these newborn times and some
much-needed time for yourself? I know it's not easy.
And still, my best advice:
prioritize. Stand still and remember what's important. These first
weeks with your child are so precious but they will be gone in a flash.
Allow yourself the time to cherish this period. Chores
and social have-to's
that you do not enjoy should come second for a while.
What to do
- Rest and relax when you can. Simple relaxation
techniques such as belly
breathing & body scan will help you relax. This physical
relaxation also truly helps you sleep better, and settle more easily
after yet another nightly awakening.
- "Let go". Your baby is just born: she does not have to sleep
perfectly yet. Accept that this is how newborns sleep.
Yes do guide her with the key tasks as
described higher, for optimal sleep. But besides that, allow yourself
to relax about it: it's OK and the peace of mind you find will only
improve everyone's sleep quality.
- Sleeping when baby naps is a good idea but many moms don't like
idea or just can't. But you do not have
to sleep in order to rest ...
Whenever you can, squeeze in some me-time. During naps, don't rush
to get a chore done but do
something you enjoy. Listen to music, take a bath, do yoga,
dance, play with your older child, read a book, ... anything you enjoy
can refresh your energy.
- Don't hesitate to ask for help. Being a new mom is not easy and
you don't have to do it all alone. Your partner, a family member or
friend, or a babysitter can all help to take some of the load off you.
Basic newborn baby care
If you're still pregnant or have just given birth, my article about sleep during pregnancy is a good place to start and reinforce all the basics about sleep for you and your new baby.
For your tiny new addition to the family, crib
safety and SIDS
are the main priority when it comes to sleep. Not only will a healthy
and safe sleep environment protect her from injuries, it will also
improve her overall feeling of well-being which effectively improves
To get a good feel for how much sleep would be enough, how to put her
down, where to have baby sleep, ... browse my newborn
When it comes to bathing, Sonia Rochel's Thalasso Baby Bath is a wonderful inspiration: discover how in my video interview with Sonia Rochel.
As for products and gear that can help, don't get carried away - or let
baby product sellers overwhelm you: good sleep does not require much,
and it doesn't have to cost a fortune. That's why divide my recommended
newborn checklist in two parts:
- simple must -haves you shouldn't be without (a safe crib, a night
light, a sleeping bag and good books)
- comfort items which are great but you can do without if budget is
tight (wrap sling, room monitor, musical toy and humidifier).
As you may know, for me personally both as a mom and as a sleep
consultant, a wrap sling carrier is actually more of a must than a
comfort item ... so if you can get hold of one, I do highly recommend
it. It's superb for bonding, helpful for care-free walks and shopping
but also helps guide your little one with sleep when at home.
Frequently asked questions
I highly recommend to browse these real-life parent questions and my
personalized advice to them. You're sure to find inspiration or
recognition for your own situation ... or simply feel reassured that
not alone in your struggle.
If you cannot find the answer you are looking for, don't hesitate to
post your own question.
weeks old newborn sleep - night routine
My 1 week old newborn baby will easily settle on us but screams when
5 week old hardly sleeps and wakes constantly
five weeks old Miracle Baby wakes up every 45 minutes!
six week baby can not turn off from 8-11pm