Today Caspian and I visited a friend and her newborn baby. We were chatting about sleep. I’m guessing it’s a frequent topic of conversation among mothers in general and new mothers in particular. My friend said that she had been warned all through her pregnancy by well-meaning relatives saying “Get lots of sleep now! When baby is here you’ll need it!” My friend, like myself just over a year ago, thought, how bad can it actually be? Well, anyone who’s added a small human to their family constellation probably knows that it’s one of the hardest things about becoming a parent, the lack of sleep! Because not only do you get less of it, what you do manage is taken in what feels like a constant state of alert.

“Did my baby just make a sound?”

“Is my baby still breathing?!”

“Why is my baby in the same position still?!” 

“Why is my baby moving so much?!”

And actually nature has a funny way of preparing you, because as you enter that third trimester it knows what lies ahead so instead of letting you catch up on as much sleep as possible, it instead allows insomnia to hold you hostage so that you’re presumably ready for the next and all important level, where said tiny human is 100 % dependent on you. I remember this so well, those last weeks before Caspian arrived, when you are tired from carrying the extra weight, but there’s no chance of you getting off to sleep. It led to a lots of impulse buys off ebay at 5 am.

I tried to give my friend some advice and it made me think about what I’ve learned over the past year when it comes to getting better sleep. Because yes, it has gotten better from those early days of waking up every two hours through out the whole night.

I was recently approached by Yorkshire Linen to help support their new initiative #PatchUpWithSleep. They are teaming up with parent bloggers to provide mums and dads with personal experiences from the front line on how to get a better night’s rest. I think it’s a great idea, because we must admit that those well-meaning friends and family member were right; long lie-ins are a thing of the past (though I shouldn’t really complain as Caspian generally sleeps until 8 am most days). But you can make the few hours you do get count more if you prepare a little. So here are my personal top tips for a good night when you are a (newish) parent.

  • Prepare your bedroom. Many expectant mothers, including myself, experience nesting going into overdrive at the end of pregnancy and a sudden urge to get tidy and organised. One room that will really benefit from this is your bedroom, as not only will you sleep there, you’ll probably find yourself in there for most of the day, too, in those first weeks after birth. Get rid of unnecessary clutter (kids or no kids, this is probably a good thing anyway), make sure you like your surroundings (a new beautiful bed throw, pretty pillows or a plant might cheer everything up).
  • Keep your little one close. We opted for a Snuzpod side cot, that I have now lent my friend in the hope it will ease her nights. I believe the baby feels a lot calmer if you are within reach and can give cuddles or provide food without having to get out of bed to pick them up. Another thing I found really helpful was having a box containing a fold-up changing mat, nappy cream, wet wipes, spare baby clothes, muslins plus snacks and water (if you are breastfeeding) to hand. You then don’t need to get up and leave the room in the middle of the night and can get back to sleep faster.
  • Invest in a good mattress, duvet and pillows. These days you can find great bargains in the sales, and quality will last you years and provide a better night’s sleep for sure. If you choose to co-sleep like we are doing it will also benefit your child, just make sure you follow the guide-lines for safety.
  • Good bedding. Is there anything better than freshly washed bedding? Being comfortable might also help you drift off to the land of nod more easily. Surround yourself with softness and maybe pick some that looks good, too, to brighten your room, whether it’s a crisp white set or one with a fun and funky print.
  • Black-out curtains. This is a must for me! And as babies generally don’t get scared of the dark until they reach age 2 or 3,  you don’t have to worry about your little bundle of joy complaining from not having a night lamp on.
  • Try and get to bed early. As a blogger I tend to get caught up in working late into the night, as I want as much done as possible while Caspian is (finally) sleeping. But I know that I’m much better off going to bed at a decent hour and catching up on some sleep, as our baby boy will not accept a lie in even if Daddy Long Legs and I would love one.

We’re are now at a stage where Caspian more or less sleeps through, but can still wake up 3 or 4 times a night. I know it’s normal so I try to take it in my stride. Plus with breastfeeding I tend to be able to get him (and myself) back to sleep quickly. And on that note I think I’ll take myself off to bed, luckily my little man is already in dreamland.

What are your top tips for a good night’s sleep with a young baby?

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  1. Blackout curtains are an essential for any parent I think, and I like your tipnto make sure you have a comftable mattress. I think also having a good bedtime routine for yourself as well as your little ones helps as well.
    Thanks for sharing with us, Tracey xx #abitofeverything

  2. These are great pointers! I had two ‘nappy caddys’ set as breastfeeding, nappy and general survival stations containing food, water, paracetamol etc. Great post x #abitofeverything

  3. Amazing. Being a new Mum myself (6 weeks in), I could use some help on the sleep front. The side cot is such a great idea, I think I am just going to buy it. We’re struggling so much getting him to sleep anywhere except for on me. I have a moses basket, a crib, a baby hammock, a baby swing, a baby bouncer, the car seat! So many things to put him in and he doesn’t like any of them! AAHH Thanks for sharing, really helpful. : ) #abitofeverything

  4. We have a household of early risers and the 15mo still frequently wakes at night so it’s a rarity for us to be up by 10! I have no idea how I manage to maintain my blog ha ha. Great tips, thanks for sharing with #coolmumclub

  5. Great post and actually very similar tips to those I’ve just written as well for the #Patchupyoursleep from Yorkshire Linen. A comfy room and bedding makes all the difference to a relaxing night #coolmumclub

  6. Definitely having less clutter around helps; just the essentials. I remember my hubby would get up and do the change whilst I fed and we could then go back to sleep. It’s so hard in those early days. Clean bedding is lush too! Thanks for sharing with #bestandworst

  7. Definitely have a change box! I remember hearing those tell tale “thhrrrppp” noises in the wee hours and it was such a slog having to drag myself out of bed & take him next door to change – especially when the other half had turned the light up (I would deliberately have it low for such midnight missions) and it would startle both of us being so bright! So that’s my tip – a dimmer switch in the nursery so you can see, but it’s not bright enough to wake baby up!

  8. What a brilliant list for new Mummies, I completely agree with having a good stock of essentials in your room. Makes for a much easier night. The only thing I would add is to invest in decent monitor for when bubba is moved into their own room, our first monitor just didn’t cut it and I couldn’t sleep worrying whether she was ok or not. I’m going to be telling my husband about this list in the hopes he might treat us to some nice new bedding 🙂 #abitofeverything x

    1. Yes! Excellent point – a good quality monitor makes life a lot easier. Thank you for adding that. And I hope your husband treats you both – have you checked out the great lines from Yorkshire Linen? I love all their fab prints.

      Nadia – ScandiMummy x

      1. Oh no I haven’t, definitely going to have a little look at them now though, I love printed bedding but I never know where to look. Thank you for the suggestions 🙂 x

  9. I like your idea of keeping everything including food and water near the bed if that’s where you’ll be spending most of your time, it makes life with a newborn so much easier if you’re not going to the other end of the house for things you use all the time. I spent most of my time in the living area, and had a little basket filled up with all the things I needed regularly, so I wasn’t always walking down to my room or baby’s room to get things.

    1. Thank you for stopping by Robyn. And such a good idea to have the things you need close by no matter what room you are in, makes life with a new baby just that little more easy.

      Nadia – ScandiMummy x

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