I don’t remember the first time I used the phrase, I’m gonna sleep like a baby, but I know it meant something different that time than it did after I became a mom. Sleeping like a baby means, to the non-parent, that you’ll fall asleep before your head hits the pillow, but is that really how baby’s sleep. In my experience, my baby never slept more than a few hours at a time. They woke up with a start and wanted attention 10 minutes ago. As I’ve aged and my children have grown into their own I realize the statement sleep like a baby is actually true if you have a baby.
Patterns, Pillows and Papi’s Help
New mothers shouldn’t fret about getting little to no sleep when baby is born. There are a few things they can do to get better sleep and more of it. First, start a daily pattern and stick with it. The pattern should include an evening ritual of nightly feedings and bath times followed by soothing music and the same bedtime each night. While baby will fight at first, eventually the pattern becomes comforting and comfortable.
Second, keep pillows available at all times. I remember vividly the first time I got a chance to take a nap when I was home by myself for the first time with baby number 1. I put her down and I was ready to nap. I looked at the couch and there was no pillow. I went into the bedroom to get a pillow and realized I didn’t make the bed. I made the bed, but I didn’t remember the pillow. To make things easier, or so I thought, I looked for a pillow in the hall closet. The closet was a wreck, so I refolded all of the sheets and pillow cases. Just as I was closing the door, I noticed an extra pillow on the top shelf. I grabbed the pillow and the comforter underneath fell to the floor. I could not reach the shelf to put it back so I got a step stool and put the comforter back. I finally grabbed the pillow and headed to the couch. The clock told me I was too late – more than two hours had passed. I put the pillow on the couch and just as soon as my head hit the pillow, baby woke up ready for attention.
Finally, the last piece of advice – when dad is home leave the house for a few hours and spend some time on a friends couch, in the guest room or wherever you need to be to get in a little sleep where you are all alone in the quiet.