Postpartum care

How to get extra hours of sleep the first week with your newborn

Practical time-saving tips to survive those first bleary-eyed days and nights.

How to get extra hours of sleep the first week with your newborn

Photo: iStockPhoto

The first week home with a new baby is all about survival. Normal sleeping hours, regular eating habits and even personal hygiene often fall by the wayside for whatever your newborn needs. Short of giving up on meals and showers altogether, here’s how to not only get through that first week but also sneak in an extra 8½ hours of sleep (or more).

No visitors, please + 2 hours Put off baby visits until the second week you’re home, or double up on visitors and host a short brunch where everyone can get their oohs and ahhs all at once. Drop-ins can make it difficult to catch some shut-eye. Your closest family and friends will probably come to the hospital, and everyone else can wait a week in the name of mama getting some rest.

Say yes to rest + 1 hour If your mother-in-law comes to visit and is going to sit there fussing over the baby for an hour and she tells you to go lie down for a bit, do it! Don’t pass up on a single offer to rest. Seize every opportunity for a little quiet time—you’ll thank us (and her) later.

Meal prep + 2 hours You’ve heard it before, but do parents really do it—that is, prepare dinners and snacks ahead of time to save precious hours in the kitchen? Yes! Again, trust us. Try making and freezing muffins and breads for middle-of-the-night noshing, easy-to-cook meals like lasagna, soups and stews and even pre-made sandwiches, pizza kits and hummus and pita for lunches. This is especially helpful if you have other school-age children at home with daily lunchboxes to fill.

Budget plan + 30 minutes Check your calendar for what will be due around the time that your baby is expected, such as school fees and bills. Pay ahead to avoid bookkeeping duties—you’ll have enough to preoccupy your time.

Stockpile + 1 hour Stock up on household necessities, such as toilet paper, paper towels, personal hygiene products and diapers—these are the things you’re most likely to run out of once you get home from the hospital. You can also have a grocery order prepped and ready to send to a delivery service site like for milk, bread and other goods. This means you won’t have any errands to run between feedings (and naps).

Night-time laundry duties + 1 hour Do one load of laundry overnight, each night. You’ll get six loads done a week while you’re sleeping (er, it’s dark out). That way, the laundry will never get out of control.

Playdates for siblings + 1 hour You know those one or two friends who will always agree to a playdate? Make sure to have their kids over before the baby comes so that they’re happy to return the favour when you line up a playdate for your own child the week you get home with their new brother or sister. Then you’ll be able to actually sleep when baby sleeps!


This article was originally published on Sep 25, 2018

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