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Sleep advice for new parents

9th May 2024 • 3 min read

When sleep becomes an Olympic sport…

Parenthood is full of surprises, and nothing can quite prepare you for the sheer number of nappy changes that come along with it. But perhaps one of the most challenging aspects of becoming a parent is adjusting to your newborn’s routine. 

It’s no secret that newborns sleep a lot. And by a lot, we mean around 14-17 hours a day. The trouble is, it’s usually only in short two or three-hour bursts, as they have tiny tummies and require constant feeding. 

Waking up multiple times throughout the night is no picnic, and it’s normal for new parents to feel tired, bleary-eyed and a bit sleep deprived during this time. But at Forty Winks, we believe good sleep is essential for everyone – which is why we’ve compiled some practical tips for new parents to help you and your baby sleep better.

Sleep when your baby sleeps 

Many newborns have short wake windows of around 1-1.5 hours before they get tired and want to nap again (though some will stay awake for longer). You might be tempted to use their nap time to catch up on life admin, but in the long run, this can lead to burnout. 

It might sound counter-intuitive, but one of the most productive things you can do is sleep when your baby sleeps. According to the Sleep Health Foundation, broken sleep is better than no sleep at all, and even a short daytime nap can help you feel more rested and alert.

Of course, it can be harder to doze off during the day, so make sure your bedroom is set up for sleep: shut the blinds, minimise any noise, and maintain a comfortably cool temperature.

Learn to recognise when your child is tired

Over time, your baby’s sleep patterns will change; their wake windows will get longer, and their nap times will get shorter. Adjusting to their sleep patterns can be tricky, so give yourself permission to figure it out as you go. 

Learning to recognise when your baby is tired is key. Tell-tale signs include eye-rubbing, ear-pulling, yawning, fluttering eyelids, arching backwards and staring into space. When you see your baby doing these things, they’re probably drowsy, and it’s a good idea to put them to bed.

Establish a consistent baby bedtime routine

A bedtime routine is a series of repetitive, calming activities that happen in the same order before your baby goes to sleep. 

Before daytime naps, try swaddling your baby, dimming the lights, and putting on white noise. At night-time, you might want to throw a relaxing bath or a bedtime story into the mix. 

Establishing a consistent routine early on will teach your baby to recognise when it’s time for them to sleep. They’ll be easier to settle, which will create more opportunities for you to sleep, too. You’ll be especially thankful for this after those middle-of-the-night feeds! 

Another part of establishing a consistent bedtime routine is creating a familiar sleep space, and the Forty Winks Boori Corindi Cot Bed is the perfect way to do this. With its modern, minimal design, adjustable guard rail and durable construction, it provides a cute, cosy and safe sleep space for your growing child.

Look after yourself, too

Remember: your sleep is just as important as your child’s, and a crucial component of your health.

Beyond sleeping when your baby sleeps, make sure you’re eating enough nutritious foods and staying hydrated. Carve out time for self-care practices too, such as going for a walk or indulging in a warm bath before bed. Not only are these activities good for your physical and mental wellbeing, they can also promote better sleep quality.

Lean on your support system 

We won’t sugar-coat it – taking care of a baby is round-the-clock work, and it’s even harder if you’re running on fumes. Having a support network to lean on will help ease the load. 

Whether it’s a partner, family member or friend, having someone to help you with things like household chores, grocery shopping or meal preparation will free up your time and allow you to get more of the restorative sleep you need. 

Seek help

Parenthood is both rewarding and exhausting, and doing it on little sleep can be extremely difficult. Remember, there’s always someone who can help. If you or your baby are experiencing sleep-related concerns, be sure to reach out to your healthcare provider or contact a parent helpline.

Ready to design your child’s bedroom? Explore our range of kids furniture.

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