Article | March 2018

New Baby, No Sleep

Coping with infant sleep patterns

The sleep deprivation that comes with new parenthood can be overwhelming. Getting used to life with a new baby is challenging. Exhaustion makes it even harder.

A few changes to your routine can make it easier to cope with your baby's sleeping patterns.

Nap time

You've heard it before: "sleep when the baby sleeps." Leave the dishes and the laundry, and avoid the temptation to make phone calls or watch TV. Baby's nap time is a precious time for you, too. Lie down and close your eyes. Even a 15 minute cat nap can help. If you can't sleep, do something relaxing. Take a hot bath, meditate, or listen to soothing music.

Nighttime feedings

Keep it calm, quiet, and comfortable for you and baby:

  • Make yourself as comfortable as possible for nighttime feedings.
  • Keep your socks or slippers nearby.
  • Keep a glass of water and a blanket within reach.
  • Add a dimmer or dim lamp so you can keep the light on low all night, or turn on a dim light that's less shocking to your eyes.

Take care of yourself

You're so busy caring for baby that you might forget to care for yourself. Keep your energy levels up with these tips:

  • Eat well, and drink plenty of water.
  • Try to take a walk at least every other day.
  • Pay attention to your emotions. Sleep deprivation can add to postpartum depression.
  • Ask for help. Bring someone in to help you care for the baby so you can sleep. If you're breast-feeding, have your partner get the baby, change her and bring her to you.

Help your baby sleep

The better baby sleeps, the better you'll sleep:

  • Wake your baby for a late feeding (or "dream feed") before you go to bed. This may help her sleep a little longer during the night, so you can, too.
  • When your baby wakes up, get to her as soon as possible, before she begins crying hard. This will make getting her back to sleep a little easier.

When all else fails, remember that this is a stage. You will get more sleep as baby gets older. Hang in there!

Woman with crying baby doing laundry at night

This material is provided by Cigna for informational/educational purposes only. It is not medical/clinical advice. Only a health care provider can make a diagnosis or recommend a treatment plan. For more information about your behavioral health benefits, you can call the member services or behavioral health telephone number listed on your health care ID card.