A Guide for Sleep Deprived Parents: How to Get Better Rest (By Helping Your Little One Sleep Better Too)

You don’t need statistics to back up the fact that getting a full night’s sleep with a new baby can be hard (heck, you just need to look in the mirror to see the black rings under your eyes and that spell “I need some coffee or wake-me-up tea…stat!”) But if you’re feeling like one of the many sleep deprived parents out there who need some relief, just know that you’re not alone.

Adults tend to need 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night. But with frequent feedings and cries for comforting as the new normal, getting that much shut-eye can feel near-impossible to do. In fact, scientists have discovered that new dads tend to lose an average of 13 minutes of sleep a night, while new moms lose over an hour of sleep on average.

And while chugging caffeine might seem like a solid short-term solution at first, the truth is that it might take years (or, at least, up until your child is around 6 years old) before your sleep schedule returns to its pre-kid patterns.

But that shouldn’t be cause for concern. Because while studies are pretty clear on the fact that long-term sleep deprivation comes with some pretty not-fun negatives (like increased anxiety, irritability, reduced cognitive functioning, and postpartum depression onset), there are ways to take back control of your sleep — while still making sure your little one is getting high-quality shut-eye of their own. A parent and smiling child after finding solutions to deal with sleep deprivation with a baby | babybay bedside co sleepers

In this complete guide for sleep deprived parents (who are finally ready to wake up feeling rested and ready to take on the day), you’ll discover:

  • Why following your baby’s lead is the key to getting dream-filled nights that leave you refreshed in the morning
  • The key ways you can rely on your support network to ease the pressures of nighttime stress and sleeplessness
  • Why sleep hygiene might be the most-important (and rest-giving) part of your nighttime prep routine
  • How postpartum doulas and after-care specialists make nighttime sleep magic happen (just by supporting you in the right, should have thought of that! ways)
  • The sleep setup that has been scientifically proven to help you sleep longer and spend more time in REM — while your baby gets peaceful and bonding-filled rest right beside you

How to Deal with Sleep Deprivation with a Baby: Follow Their Lead

When your baby sleeps, that’s your cue to sleep too. Simple enough, right? But hold up — it doesn’t always feel that easy.

It’s tempting to spend the first year fighting against their baby’s natural rhythm and needs, or ignoring clear baby sleep cues when they start showing. Because when there is a schedule to keep or visiting grandparents to pay attention to, it can be easy to ignore the yawning and eye-rubbing or assure your baby “just a few more minutes!” while keeping them wide-awake and surrounded by love and attention.

And while being surrounded with loving people sounds like a good thing (and it is most of the time!), ignoring those baby sleep cues when they come on sets you and your baby on the fast-track to tumultuous sleep.

You can try to get your baby on your clock, but this will only add to your exhaustion. The time will come when your baby can wait a bit before being put to sleep (without any over-exhaustion symptoms coming on), but don’t expect it right away.

Instead, follow the #1 trick for how to deal with sleep deprivation with a baby: let your baby take the lead, and commit to getting rest-time in when you can. 

When Possible, Share Responsibilities with Your Partner or Loved Ones

Listen to your body when it says you need to rest. And no matter how independent you are, talk to your partner or other nearby friends/family/neighbors/people close to you about how they can help you during those rest-needing moments.A baby sleeping peacefully after their parents have figured out how to deal with sleep deprivation as a parent | babybay co-sleepers

Working with your support network to rotate responsibilities will make it possible for you to sleep, heal, and be at your best. (Remember, child birth takes a lot out of your body, and if you had a cesarean section you might be having an even harder time finding ways to get comfortable and get quality sleep after c-section.) 

The American Academy of Family Physicians echoes the importance of letting others help during your postpartum recovery:

“During the first six weeks, pay attention to your body…resist the temptation to do more. Overdoing things at this point can set you back in your recovery. Concentrate on nourishing your body with good foods, drinking plenty of water (especially if you are breastfeeding), and getting enough rest.”

Your baby, body, and relationship will all benefit from practicing good communication. So think of asking for help as the natural thing to do after child birth — and get the support you need to finally sleep.

Practice Proper Sleep Hygiene as a Sleep Deprived Parent (Yep, That’s Really a Thing)

The concept of proper sleep hygiene is all about setting up your sleep environment and making choices during the day to not interfere with your body’s ability to sleep. And unsurprisingly, the same tips that help you get more shut-eye during other times of your life offer much-needed advice that take some of the difficulty out of how to deal with sleep deprivation as a parent. 

For example: not drinking caffeine after 2pm, fighting late-night cravings, and removing technology from the bedroom can all set your mind at ease and leave you geared up (or geared down) to cozy into bed and fall into dreamland as soon as your head hits the pillow.

With a newborn added to the nighttime equation, it’s hard for your body to make sense of the nightly schedule you’re keeping up. With feedings waking you up every few hours, sending mixed messages to your body in the form of late-night caffeine or social media scrolls can make it hard to go back to sleep on command. 

But if it’s nighttime and “struggling to sleep” feels firmly where you are (while popping things like “How to deal with sleep deprivation as a parent” into Google’s search bar), here are some quick tips that will help you calm your racing mind and make drifting into nighttime slumber easier:

      • Doing 5-10 minutes of yoga or peaceful meditation
      • Sipping a cup of herbal tea (herbal teams like chamomile and peppermint are naturally decaffeinated)
      • Closing the blinds, or using blackout window treatments to help cut through your body’s circadian rhythm and let your system know it’s time for rest

A mother watching her sleeping baby after figuring out how to get sleep with a newborn | babybay bedside co-sleepers

Services to Help with Slumber: Postpartum Doulas and After-Birth Care Specialists

Postpartum Doulas and After-Birth Care Specialists are specially trained to help moms in the first weeks or months after giving birth. They work with you — often in your home — to help you feel comfortable adapting to all things parenthood. (They’re also covered by state health care and independent insurance coverages in many cases.)

If your lack of recent sleep is partly a result of all the recent changes in your life or concern about whether you’re “doing things right,” postpartum doulas or after-birth care specialists can help set your mind at ease by giving well-researched answers to all of your most keep me up at night questions about parenthood.

Struggling with getting baby to latch on? Worried you’ve swaddled your baby too tightly? Experiencing anxiety about how your body is healing? Don’t know why your baby won’t stop crying?

With compassion, understanding, and a helpful attitude, professionals like these will help with all of it. And bonus: they’ll also listen to the specifics of your situations and give some relevant-to-you tips and tricks for easing the exhaustion pressures of the nighttime hours.

Although this uncharted territory of parenthood can be frightening, don’t forget about the resources available to help you. If you’ve got a question, ask it. If you’re unsure of something or something feels off, trust your gut and find help. There’s nothing like peace of mind when it comes to a good night’s sleep.

Try Out a Bedside Co-Sleeper (Your Sleep Cycles Will Thank You)

This might just be the quickest and easiest to new parent sleep deprivation on this list: switching to using a bedside co-sleeper can make all the difference in terms of a good night’s sleep by taking all the “getting up to breastfeed or care for your little one” sleep disrupting out of your nightly regimen. Parent and baby with co-sleeper baby bed | babybay bedside bassinet

Co-sleeping has long been the generations-loved and around-the-world-respected sleep solution for helping both parents and baby sleep better — and longer — at night. When done safely (like with the help of a safety-certified bedside co-sleeper), co-sleeping promotes physiological syncing between parent and baby (which sets breathing, heartbeat, etc. into a balanced and calming pattern that affects the peacefulness of both), and leads to increased time in REM sleep and rest in longer intervals.

If you think about it, the proven benefits of staying extra-close to your little one at night make sense.

Your baby has spent upwards of 9 months in the womb, getting used to the feeling of having their mother’s heartbeat nearby and the natural body rhythm of a loved one surrounding them. Safe co-sleeping replicates this closeness, making the transition from womb to the real world less jarring (which leads to easier ease during the moments when drifting into dreamland is on the agenda).

Want to try the bedside co-sleeper thing out?

Consider the leading attachable bedside co-sleeper by babybay. Not only is babybay the only eco-friendly sleeper on the market, but they’re also committed to sustainable manufacturing and are created by parents, for parents — showing a true understanding of your everyday struggles and needs. That puts them on the front line of your mission to end end your status as sleep deprived parents, while making every night of sleep one that is filled with plenty of peaceful dreams and beautiful bonding.

3 Revitalizing Benefits of Co-sleeping with your Newborn

When was the last time you actually felt rested? 

Can’t remember?

We totally get it. Those late-night feedings are exhausting, especially during the initial weeks after giving birth.

Imagine how rested you’d feel if you didn’t have to get out of bed every 2-3 hours to feed or soothe your newborn.

No more tip-toeing your way back to the crib, praying not to wake your baby. 

No more frustration when, you finally find a comfortable position, only to be woken up moments later. 

…sounds too good to be true, right? Not anymore. 

Parents all over the world have started getting the sleep they desperately need by switching over to babybay’s Baby Bedside Sleeper.

Uniquely engineered to lock into beds of all sizes and heights, this co-sleeper is changing the game. 

Now, you can enjoy all the benefits of co-sleeping, and the closeness of bedsharing, without compromising safety. 

 


CO-SLEEPING ENCOURAGES DEVELOPMENT

James J. Mckenna, Director emeritus of the Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Laboratory at the University of Notre Dame, found that,

“Parents serve as a kind of biological “jumper cable,” or outsourced regulator, to a newborn baby when she is completing her gestation outside her mother’s body. When parents and babies sleep together, their heart rates, brain waves, sleep states, oxygen levels, temperature, and breathing influence one another.”

In basic lingo, this means, your baby’s development relies on being close to you. Even outside of the womb, our bodies sync together for prime developmental functioning. The separation that comes from a stand-alone crib can get in the way of this. 

Does this mean you have to stay joined at the hip? No. But, it shows that simply sleeping nearby makes it possible for them to grow big and strong. Amazing, right? 


THE CLOSER YOU ARE THE LESS ANXIETY FOR EVERYONE

Hearing the beating of your heart and the in and out of your breath can be incredibly soothing to your baby. Depriving them of this for 6-8 hours at night means babies cry more often, needing your closeness to soothe their anxiety. 

Babies who co-sleep generally cry less, wake less often, and allow you to sleep for longer periods of time.

Added Bonus: You get to wake up next to a smiley baby!

 


YOU CAN BETTER RESPOND TO A CRISIS WHILE CO-SLEEPING

Parenting guru Dr. Sears  found during his studies that:

“Babies who sleep close to their mothers enjoy ‘protective arousal,’ a state of sleep that enables them to more easily awaken if their health is in danger, such as breathing difficulties…Infants who sleep near their parents have more stable temperatures, regular heart rhythms, and fewer long pauses in breathing compared to babies who sleep alone. This means the baby sleeps physiologically safer.”

When it comes to defending against dangers to your baby, there is no substitute for your care. Co-sleeping makes it possible to familiarize with all the sounds your baby makes.

As part of your natural-momma-bear instinct, (part of the physiological syncing mentioned above,) your body stays alert even while sleeping. If something is off, you can count on your body to sense it — and, in the event of an emergency, this can make all the difference for the safety of your baby.   


The babybay Baby Bedside Sleeper is a leader in safety for co-sleeping with newborns. All of our sleepers undergo rigorous safety inspections, and must receive domestic and international safety certifications before ever going out to you.  

If you’re ready to start getting a better night’s sleep, with less stress, and more opportunity to connect with your baby then, it’s time you meet our bedside cribs. 90% of the world’s families are already co-sleeping their way to better nights. Isn’t it time you expected more for your family?

Meet the babybay co sleeper cribs

Sleeping with a Newborn: Top Safety Tips and Comfort Tricks

Babies sleep a lot. By “a lot” we mean that you can expect your baby to sleep 16-18 hours a day throughout the first year of their life, waking in 2-3 hour intervals to feed, get changed, and be coddled back into peaceful slumber. (No wonder it’s so hard for parents who are sleeping with a newborn to wake up in the morning feeling rested and recharged!)

Adapting to your baby’s schedule is hard enough. But add confusion or concerns about the correct newborn sleep position into the mix and you’ve got a recipe for wakeful nights.

That’s why we’re about to break down everything you need to know about sleeping with a newborn, starting with the “where” of safe baby sleep and ending with the “how” of getting the best new-parent nights of rest possible.

Where Should Baby Sleep During the First Few Months?

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), babies should sleep in the same room as their parents for at least the first six months of life, and ideally through the first year. This is a practice called room sharing, which refers to any sleep set-up where parents and baby sleep in the same room together, thought not on the same sleep surface. Parent holding the feet of baby while sleeping with a newborn | babybay bedside co sleepers

There’s a reason why room sharing is so well-loved by the AAP: not only is it a more convenient choice (making nighttime nursing and responding to any cry easy-as-can-be), but it also puts you in the best location to respond to your baby’s needs in the event of an emergency.

To prevent incidents of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome,) timing is everything. The faster you can respond in the event of an emergency, the better.

By sleeping so close with your little one, you’ll also familiarize yourself with the sound of their breathing over time. This will make you well-prepared to recognize any blockages or other concerns that might need to be taken care of for them to sleep peacefully and safely. 

I’ve Heard About Bed Sharing. Is That Safe?

It is completely natural to want to be as close to your baby as possible. It’s also completely natural to not love the feeling of reaching over crib bars multiple times per night (especially if you’re still healing from a c-section). And it’s totally natural to not want to risk waking up your hard-to-put-to-sleep baby by having to constantly take them out and put them back in their crib. A cute, wide-eyed baby comfortable in safe newborn sleep positions | babybay bedside sleepers

While it may feel like the best option is to let your newborn sleep on your chest or tuck them into your own cozy comforter for a night of sleeping on your own mattress, the AAP clearly states that parents should never share a mattress with a newborn. This also includes putting your baby to sleep on a breastfeeding pillow or placing them in-between you and your partner.

To understand the “why” behind this recommendation, you need to understand that modern means of comfort are not ideally suited for infant safety. To maximize infant safety, your baby needs a flat and firm surface without extra cushioning that could accidentally cover their nose or make it hard for them to move.

(Reminder: your baby just came into this world, they’re still learning how to roll out of unsafe situations or untangle themselves when their breathing is obstructed.)

The sad reality is, accidents from bed sharing account for 50% of SIDS cases. Most of these cases come about from babies becoming tangled into sheets, rolling off the bed, or accidentally getting covered by pillows. 

Luckily, there are now options on the market that allow you to get all the convenience of this close sleeping without having to worry about those risks.

Sleeping with a Newborn Without Risk: What to Know About Bedside Bassinets

When bedside bassinets and bedside co-sleepers first came on the market, they seemed like the answer to many parents’ prayers. Safe sleep tools like the babybay bedside sleeper keep newborns in close proximity to their parents all through the night (in fact, they get to sleep right by their parents’ side!), while still giving them a sleep space that’s perfectly designed to suit their safety needs. A child looking over a bedside co sleeper where a newborn baby sleeps | babybay bedside bassinet

Parents who choose to sleep with a bedside sleeper can still experience the nighttime ease of nursing and comforting without getting out of bed, while knowing that their little one is sleeping on a mattress that meets all crib safety standards. In this way, your baby can be nurtured through close-as-can-be room sharing, without you having to worry about any of the risks that come from bed sharing.

The Best Newborn Sleep Position: Sleeping on the Back

Back sleeping will always be the safest option for your newborn baby. This position keeps your baby’s airflow clear and open, which prevents chocking and leads to easy nights of catching Zs for both you and them. Unlike sleeping on one’s side or stomach, laying on the back allows for your baby’s natural gag reflexes to take over, which will prevent any obstruction of airflow from occurring. 

Though it’s not totally uncommon to see a baby sleeping on side, this isn’t the newborn sleep position most recommended by the AAP. That’s for one very simple reason: when you have a baby sleeping on side, it’s too easy for them to roll on to their stomach.

Experts have long warned against stomach sleeping, in part because it can lead to overheating or lowered oxygen levels. It will take a few months (normally 4-6) for your little one to learn how to roll to their stomach on their own. When this time comes, you should still continue to put your child to sleep on their back. If they naturally happen to roll onto their stomach during the night, don’t fret.

As long as you continue to put them to sleep back-down, you don’t have to worry about this kind of mid-night rolling.

How to Guarantee a Safe Sleep Surface

Though getting your baby a safe and made-just-for-them baby bed is a good start, you can help your baby stay safe and secure all night long by sticking with a few best practices for sleep accessories.

We completely understand the desire to make your baby’s crib as cozy as possible, but, the AAP recommends keeping cribs clutter-free. For the first year, your crib should only contain a firm mattress and a fitted sheet. Extra pillows, blankets, and toys can all quickly become dangerous if your baby rolls or if something gets pushed over their airways in the middle of the night. 

So keep it simple and remember: when it comes to sleeping with a newborn, less is more.