How to get more sleep with a newborn

Everybody needs sleep, but especially moms! Are you pregnant or do you have a brand new baby? Wondering how to get more sleep with a newborn? We've got a few ideas up our sleeve. how to get more sleep with a newborn

Some solutions for how to get more sleep with a newborn are simple and require only small amounts of effort on your part, but can yield you precious minutes of the shut-eye you're craving.

Keep Mom Calm

The sound of a baby crying in the middle of the night isn't exactly what we could call relaxing. For new parents, the sound of a newborn's cry can be stressful, and when you're on a lather/rinse/repeat cycle all night long with a newborn, that stress can make it hard to fall asleep again. Staying as calm as possible during night wakings will help you get back to sleep more quickly, which turns into more rest for you.

One easy way to stay calm is to let go of any expectations you have about sleep for your newborn and adopt a more "roll with it" approach. You can certainly create routines and habits for your baby to encourage sleep, but it takes time for newborns to develop sleep patterns. Take deep breaths. Remind yourself that this is temporary. Have your partner take over if things feel like too much. It's small, but it adds up.

Minimize Movement

The more you and baby have to move around at night for feedings, diaper changes, and soothing back to sleep, the more you send the signal, "It's time to wake up!" You can combat this by consolidating all of your nighttime necessities into one place.

If your baby is still sleeping in your room, find a dim nightlight and make a space for middle-of-the-night diaper changes.

If you are breastfeeding, try nursing in the side lying position (more rest for you!) and then moving your baby back to the bassinet or crib. Consider making yourself a basket that has snacks and water for when nighttime hunger strikes.

If you are bottle feeding, you can move your bottle warmer and a small cooler with the night's bottles so that you can warm the bottle while you change your baby's diaper. Minimizing movement during night wakings will help you take care of business so you can get back to the business of sleeping soundly.

Call in Reinforcements: The Postpartum Doula

Sometimes, you need to call in reinforcements for nighttime sleep. Don't worry, we've got it covered! If you want to get some sleep knowing that someone is there to care for YOU as much they are to care for your baby, an overnight postpartum doula does just that. Our doulas are trained in normal postpartum recovery and are well-versed in baby care, so you can sleep more soundly knowing that your family is in expert hands. If you're breastfeeding, we'll bring the baby to you to nurse, then quickly take them away for everything else so you can go right back to sleep, or we can give a bottle of pumped milk if you prefer. Everything we do goes through the filter of, "What does mom need right now?" Bonus: You might even wake up to clean dishes, a folded load of laundry, and a hot cup of coffee!

When it comes to figuring out how to get more sleep with a newborn, there's no magic recipe that works for everyone. Let Doulas of Memphis help figure out what works for you so you can wake up feeling rested and ready to be the supermom we know you are!

Postpartum Doulas, Nannies, and Babysitters, Oh my!

I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “Where were you when my baby was little?! I wish I would have known!” in response to my description of what a postpartum doula does. Clearly there is a huge need, but the  term “postpartum doula” still has a way to go before it makes its way into the public consciousness.  If you want to read about Doulas of Memphis postpartum doulas, you can click here, but I’d like to take a moment to break down the differences between a postpartum doula and some of its alternatives. postpartum doulas

Babysitters vs. Postpartum Doulas

While postpartum doulas do occasionally step into a babysitting-type role, babysitting is not one of the primary duties of a postpartum doula. A babysitter is typically hired for temporary or short-term childcare where the parent is either absent, or at home and unavailable. The babysitter’s focus is solely on the care of children, not on household tasks or the well-being of the mother. A postpartum doula’s focus is on caring for and nurturing the mother. Sometimes that includes baby care or looking after older siblings, but not as a general rule and always in the context of the mother’s needs.

Housekeepers vs. Postpartum Doulas

Basic household tasks are well within the postpartum doula’s scope, but they are just that: basic. While a postpartum doula will do your dishes, cycle your laundry, give your counters and sinks a quick wipe-down, and help you deal with that one clutter spot that’s driving you crazy, we do those things because they provide relief for parents. Time normally spent on mundane daily tasks instead becomes time for self care, to connect as a family, and bond with their baby.

Nannies vs. Postpartum Doulas

The job description of a nanny overlaps the most with that of a postpartum doula.  Both a nanny and a postpartum doula assist with baby care, sibling care, and do simple tasks that keep a household running. A nanny might even stay overnight and assist with nighttime baby care, but that’s where the similarities stop.  Hiring a nanny is a long-term childcare and home management solution, and a nanny may or may not have any kind of certification or credentials.

Doulas of Memphis postpartum doulas are not only well-versed in infant care, but also in what families are going through physically and emotionally during the postpartum period. You can ask your doula questions about postpartum recovery, what’s normal, and what warrants a call to your doctor. Doulas of Memphis postpartum doulas are also trained birth doulas, which provides a framework in which a postpartum client can discuss her birth if she so chooses. Unless she has an outside certification or personal experience, a nanny does not provide breastfeeding assistance. Doulas of Memphis postpartum doulas are trained in assisting mothers with normal breastfeeding and are able to refer clients to additional lactation support if it is needed. Much like a postpartum doula, a  night nanny (aka “baby nurse”) takes care of your baby during the night so that you can get the sleep you’ve been craving. The biggest difference is that the nanny is there exclusively for the baby, while the postpartum doula is there for the whole family.  Your postpartum doula can take over night-time bottle feeding, or bring your baby to you if you are breastfeeding. She is available to listen, validate, and help if things feel hard, and to answer those new mom questions that may be keeping you up at night. Nannies do form relationships and care about the families they serve, a nanny’s primary concern is not the emotional well-being of the mother. For a postpartum doula, the physical and emotional well-being of the mother is top priority! Those mundane tasks aren’t mundane to us, and we do all of it with a desire to provide you with same the loving, attentive care that you give to your baby.