Hello, new parents! Congratulations on your bundle of joy! If you’re reading this, you’re probably in the midst of adjusting to life with a newborn and trying to figure out how to get some good sleep. You’ve likely heard the advice “sleep when the baby sleeps,” but let’s be real, it’s not always that easy. Here’s a guide to help you navigate sleep hygiene with your new little one.

12 Tips for Sleep Hygiene with a Newborn

12 Tips for Sleep Hygiene with a Newborn

First things first, newborns have tiny tummies and need to eat frequently, so their sleep patterns are quite different from ours. They often sleep in short bursts and wake up every few hours. As a parent, this means your sleep schedule will be interrupted too. But don’t worry, there are ways to make it work.
Tips for Better Sleep Hygiene with a Newborn

1. Create a Calm Sleep Environment:

Make your bedroom a sleep sanctuary. Keep it cool, dark, and quiet. Use blackout curtains to block out street lights, and consider a white noise machine to drown out sudden noises that could wake you or the baby. The goal is to create an environment that promotes relaxation and sleep for both you and your little one.

2. Establish a Bedtime Routine for the Baby:

Babies respond well to routines. A consistent bedtime routine might include a warm bath, gentle baby massage, soft lullabies, and a quiet feeding. These activities signal to your baby that it’s time to wind down. The more relaxed your baby is, the easier it will be for them (and you) to fall asleep.

3. Take Turns with Your Partner:

If you have a partner, work out a schedule where you take turns caring for the baby during the night. This could mean alternating feedings or having one person be ‘on duty’ for a stretch while the other sleeps. Sharing the load can help both of you get more continuous sleep.

4. Daytime Naps for Parents:

When your baby naps during the day, try to take a nap yourself. Even a 20-30 minute nap can significantly reduce sleep deprivation and improve your mood and alertness.

5. Stay Active and Get Sunlight:

Engage in light exercise, like walking with your baby in a stroller. Exposure to natural light during the day helps regulate your own sleep-wake cycle and can boost your mood and energy levels.

6. Simplify Nighttime Feedings:

Organize a small station near your bed with essentials for nighttime feedings and changes. This might include bottles, burp cloths, diapers, and a change of clothes for the baby. For breastfeeding mothers, a comfortable nursing pillow and water bottle for hydration can be very helpful.

7. Avoid Over-Stimulation at Night:

Keep nighttime interactions calm and soothing. Use a soft light for feedings and changes. Avoid engaging in playful activities with the baby during the night, as this can signal to them that it’s time to be awake.

8. Accept Help:

If friends or family offer to help, say yes. Having someone else watch the baby even for a couple of hours so you can rest can be incredibly beneficial. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your support network.

9. Stay Hydrated and Eat Well:

Nutrition plays a key role in how you feel, including your sleep quality. Eat a balanced diet and drink plenty of fluids, especially if you are breastfeeding. Avoid heavy meals and caffeine close to bedtime.

10. Practice Relaxation Techniques:

Learn and practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or guided imagery. These techniques can help you unwind and make it easier to fall asleep when you have the chance.

11. Communicate with Your Partner:

Open communication with your partner about how you’re feeling and what you need can make a big difference. Working as a team and supporting each other can help both of you manage the new responsibilities and stressors.

12. Be Flexible and Patient:

Understand that some nights will be easier than others. Be flexible with your routines and patient with yourself and your baby. It’s okay if everything doesn’t go as planned. What’s important is finding what works best for your family.

The Reality of Sleep with a Newborn

  1. Sleep Comes in Short Bursts: With a newborn, you’re likely to get sleep in shorter intervals. It’s common to feel like you’re not getting enough continuous sleep, and that’s okay. This is a normal part of caring for a newborn.
  2. Every Baby is Different: Each baby has unique sleep habits. Some might start sleeping through the night earlier than others. Comparing your situation to others can be misleading and add unnecessary stress.
  3. Learning and Adapting: As a new parent, you’ll gradually learn what works best for your baby and your family. This learning process is natural and takes time. Be patient with yourself and your baby as you navigate this new terrain.
    It’s a Phase: Remember, this phase of frequent night wakings and irregular sleep patterns won’t last forever. As your baby grows, their sleep schedule will gradually become more regular, and you’ll find your way back to longer sleep periods.

The Importance of Self-Care

Taking care of a newborn is a 24/7 job, but it’s crucial to take care of yourself too. Remember, you’re not just a parent; you’re a person who needs rest and rejuvenation. Prioritizing your well-being is not selfish; it’s necessary for being the best parent you can be.


Navigating sleep with a newborn is a common challenge, but with some strategies and a bit of patience, it’s manageable. Create a calming sleep environment, establish routines, share nighttime duties if possible, and don’t hesitate to ask for help. Remember, taking care of yourself is part of taking care of your baby. Here’s to more restful nights and enjoying the beautiful journey of parenthood!