As a parent with a newborn, getting enough sleep can be a challenge. The Sleep Center at Barrow Regional Medical Center would like to share some tips to help you get proper rest, and offer recommendations to help keep your baby safe while he or she is sleeping.
Getting the sleep you need
Most parents have trouble getting enough sleep with a new baby at home. Newborns sleep close to 16 hours a day, but it’s only for a few hours at a time. Although there may be no set pattern at first, your baby will develop a more consistent sleep schedule as he or she matures and can go longer between feedings. In the meantime, you have to sleep whenever you can — which can be challenging. Try these tips to get the rest you need:
- Make sleep a priority. Sleep is much more important than clean dishes and floors, or returning that call. When your baby is sleeping, take that time to get some sleep yourself. At the very least, get off your feet or do something relaxing.
- Take turns with your spouse for nighttime feeding or changing if possible. If you’re breastfeeding, use a breast pump so there are bottles on hand, or simply have your spouse share nighttime changing duties.
- Ask a trusted friend or family member to watch the baby so you can rest, or to help with other things such as preparing meals, running errands or doing household chores. Make it a “trade,” and offer to return the favor. If you’re not comfortable asking someone, consider hiring someone to help with the cleaning to lighten your load.
- Keep visits with others short. When friends or family members want to visit, don’t feel obligated to entertain — now isn’t the time to be the gracious hostess. Let them know beforehand how much time you have so they’ll know what to expect.
- Acknowledge that this is only temporary. Rest assured, getting a good night’s sleep is just around the corner. At 3-4 months of age, many babies sleep five hours at a time, and at 6 months it’s possible for babies to sleep through the night. Every baby is different, but know that things will improve soon.
Ensuring your baby sleeps safely
Knowing your baby is safe while he or she sleeps can help you rest a little easier as well. You can lower the risk of sleep-related injuries and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) by creating a safe sleeping environment for your baby. The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development recommends the following:
- Always place your baby on his or her back for sleep — both during naps or at night. This is the No. 1 way to reduce the risk of SIDS.
- Place your baby on a firm sleep surface, never on a pillow, quilt, sheepskin or other soft surface. Use a safety-approved crib mattress covered with a fitted sheet.
- Keep soft objects, toys and loose bedding out of your baby’s sleep area — that includes pillows, blankets, quilts, sheepskins, infant sleep positioners, or pillow-like bumpers. Dress your baby in a one-piece sleeper instead of using a blanket.
- Keep your baby’s sleep area separate from where you or others sleep, such as a crib, bassinet or bedside co-sleeper. It may be tempting to allow your baby to sleep with you, but it’s not safe.
- Don’t let your baby get too hot during sleep. Use light sleep clothing and keep the room at a temperature that’s comfortable for an adult.
- Make sure your baby has a smoke-free environment — don’t allow anyone to smoke around your baby.
“Make sure anyone who’s involved in the care of your baby is aware of these guidelines as well,” said Richard Harrison, Director of Cardiopulmonary Services at Barrow Regional Medical Center. “If you have other children, make sure they know not to put anything in the baby’s crib. The more aware everyone is, the safer it is for your baby.”
Remember, getting proper rest and taking care of yourself is important — you need to stay healthy to be there for your baby. By taking care of yourself and creating a safe sleeping environment for your baby, everyone will rest easier.
About Barrow Regional Medical Center
Barrow Regional Medical Center has been serving Northeast Georgia since 1951. Our integrated medical campus includes a medical office building housing physicians, the Hospital, a Women’s Pavilion, as well as specialty services. Our medical staff includes more than 100 physicians representing multiple medical specialties. Barrow Regional’s service lines include Orthopedic & Spine Surgery, General & Vascular Surgery, Bariatric Surgery, Critical Care & Pulmonology, Interventional Radiology & Diagnostic Imaging, Women’s Pavilion, Sleep Center, Wound Care Center, Occupational & Physical Therapy, Emergency Department, ICU, Labor & Delivery, Laboratory Services, Medical & Surgery Unit, and Speech Therapy.
Barrow Regional Medical Center is fully accredited by The Joint Commission and has been recognized as one of the nation’s top performers in critical quality and accountability measures. The facility is also recognized by The American College of Radiology and The College of American Pathologists. Barrow Regional also tops the Georgia Hospital Association’s Quality Honor Roll in the Chairman’s Category.