If you’ve just had a baby and are going through divorce you may find yourself facing many challenges and difficulties that many new parents rarely face. How will you navigate life as a new divorcee and single parent?
Taking care of a newborn after divorce is not easy. As a parent of a newborn, you may be wondering if your baby is getting too much or not enough sleep. And, you probably also want to know when you can get some sleep. Sleep is a huge component of the baby and parent experience. It can make or break those magical newborn moments we are meant to cherish for the rest of our lives. Therefore, you and your ex-spouse will want to become knowledgeable about the sleep habits of your baby in order to optimize your own sleep as well as your baby’s sleep times, and hopefully be able to enjoy the sweet memories that newborn bliss has to offer.
If you are wondering how to get a newborn to sleep, first you need to understand the sleep habits of newborns. A baby is generally considered a “newborn” from birth to 3 months old. During this stage, babies usually sleep anywhere from 14 to 17 hours in a 24-hour period. While some babies can sleep for longer stretches, normal waking can occur during this stage every 1-2 hours. Newborns wake for feeding, diaper changes, and sometimes just to receive emotional support. If an infant is sick, having digestive trouble, or colicky this can also lead to more wakefulness. In early life, there can also be confusion between daytime and nighttime that can impact the sleep you and your baby are getting.
Here’s Everything You Need to Know About Taking Care of a Newborn After Divorce
Feeding Routines and Sleep
While numbers point to bottle-fed infants needing to feed every three hours and breastfed infants needing to feed approximately every two hours, these numbers can definitely vary from baby to baby. If your breastmilk supply is very ample, for instance, it may knock your little one out for up to 5 or 6 hours. Some babies feed voraciously and can achieve longer stretches of sleep, others feed rather lightly and will wake more often. If you find your baby is a light feeder, you may want to delay one of his or her later evening feedings until just before bedtime in an attempt to get your baby to feed heavier just before bedtime. In theory, this could lead to a longer stretch of sleep at night.
Diaper Changing and Sleep
The nighttime diaper change can be tricky. For some babies, it can cause them to become too wakeful and make returning to sleep longer or more difficult than necessary. That’s why it’s important that you and your ex-spouse develop a diaper changing and sleep routine that is consistent.
Have a source of low light that you can switch on for nighttime diaper changes. Avoid turning on bright overhead lights as this can trigger a daytime response and lead to your baby feeling too wakeful during the night. Get in the habit of setting out the supplies you need for your nighttime diaper change beforehand, this way you can work more quickly and easily to get your babe cleaned up and ready to go back to sleep. Avoid touching your baby with cold wipes or cold hands, keep him comfortable and warm so as to maintain a sleepful state during quick nighttime diaper changes.
Emotional Support and Sleep
Babies need love, no doubt. You can hold and cuddle newborns all day long, but when it comes to nighttime, try to let them be a bit more independent in order for your baby to be able to establish a healthy sleep cycle of her own. Sleeping near your baby in a separate bed can help a baby feel your bond at bedtime, however, sleeping too close to your baby can be stimulating for him and may cause unnecessary waking.
Sleep success is one of the most critical parts of taking care of a newborn after divorce, and your sleep is important too. If your or your baby’s sleep seems more disturbed than necessary, be sure to consult with your doctor.