How to sleep like a baby… when you have a baby

At 22 months, this should be the norm, textbooks say. In fact, judging by the French parenting advice, every baby should faire ses nuit since 4 months’ old.

But textbooks don’t account for cuddly moods, speedy digestions, and “Old Macdonald Had a Farm” serenades coming from the nursery at 3am!

So we’ve had to get resourceful…

Working in banking has taught me to optimise my time and energy to stay balanced despite the busyness. But having a baby has taken the work-life effectiveness challenge to a whole new level!

One of the biggest problems I hear most new mums complain about is sleep deprivation. And as we discussed in last week’s blog, sleep is essential for our well being for 4 key reasons at least.

In fact, consistent lack of sleep has been linked to the following frightening effects:

  • Diminished capacity for high-level cognitive functions like decision-making and reasoning
  • Psychiatric disorders, including depression, bipolar disorder and alcoholism
  • Increased risk  of cardiovascular disease
  • Hypertension
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Weight gain

So if you want to stay slim & sane, and set a healthy example for your children, start prioritising your rest and relaxation time!

How can you sleep like a baby when you have a baby? Here are 5 tried & tested tips that have worked for us – at least for a while!

1) Dream feeds

This technique comes straight from the Secrets of the Baby Whisperer, a brilliant book by Tracy Hogg.

Right before you go to bed, gently give your baby a bottle. Try not to wake her up. It will be just like a nice, nourishing dream for her!

2) Midnight nappy changes

Since you’re at it, check if your little one needs a nappy change before you head to bed. If he’s smelly, quietly change his diaper while he sleeps.

This will prevent him from waking-up outraged within a few hours, when he discovers that he’s soiled!

3) Super absorbent nappies

Carrying on with the topic of nappies, we’ve found that using ultra-absorbent diapers can contribute to everyone good night’s sleep, especially while your baby is very small and digests everything in no time.

This can avoid you having to change bedsheets in the middle of the night when you discover that there’s been a pee explosion.

4) Taking shifts

While the previous tips can help soothe your baby through the night, getting your beauty sleep can still be a challenge for the first few years.

To deal with this, we’ve designed our own system of shifts. Especially during more demanding periods like teething and growth spurts, my husband and I decide beforehand who is going to be on call that night.

If our little one wakes up crying, one of us immediately jumps off the bed and attends to her needs, thus minimising the fuss and leaving the other one to sleep.

If you have a partner, au pair or family member that can help, this can be a great technique to help you get some well deserved rest.

5) Power naps & early nights

Finally, when you’ve had a rough night, squeezing in a power nap during the day can be a good way to pay-off your sleep debt.

If you’re a business owner and have that flexibility, go for it without guilt! You’ll be way more productive when you wake-up.

If you have a corporate job and disappearing for a mid-day nap is not an option, try to call it a night earlier. If you go to bed shortly after your baby’s bedtime, you’ll get nearly as much sleep as he does.

Now, as you know, life is dynamic and kids are constantly changing. A certain strategy may work for a while, and then no longer. The key is to be creative and keep experimenting!