First Time Parent Tips: Sleep Tips For New Parents

Parents with kids of any age seem to love sharing their experiences with other parents. Often times, parents want validation, to know they’re not the only ones having that experience, and to laugh (or cry!) over their missteps, as well as their successes. If you’re looking for some advice for first time parents, tips for expecting parents, and general advice for parents, check out some pointers below:

What are good tips for new parents?

When it comes to general advice for new parents, one of the important things to remember is to breathe. Sounds simple enough, but parenting can be challenging – in those first few days and weeks, in particular. Taking a deep breath can reduce stress and increase feelings of calm. So when baby seems fussy and you can’t seem to figure out why, take a few inhales and exhales, you’ll feel clearer and more present to help soothe your little one.

Which brings up another tip: be present. This will help to engage in exactly what is happening and to help you feel more connected with your baby. Staying present also helps to develop intuition so that you can trust yourself as baby gets older and other challenges present themselves.

Another thing to keep in mind is that all of these challenges will be temporary. What may be a struggle right now probably won’t be at the same time next week, next month, and next year. If however, you find that everything feels difficult, consult with your pediatrician or health care provider. There is a lot of help out there, don’t hesitate to ask for some.

What is essential to survive as a new parent?

Patience may not come easy but it’s an essential tool to cultivate when baby is fussy or crying or can’t seem to sleep or latch-on or, or, or… the challenges can be real! So see above: take a deep breath (or three) and try to stay present, both can help to increase patience… all of which can make baby bonding easier. If however you’re at a loss and having some difficulties with everything, please talk to a health care practitioner to get the proper help you may need.

What do new parents struggle with the most?

Sleep seems to be one of the greatest struggles that new parents face the most. Everyone from well-meaning friends and family offer the advice that parents should sleep when baby sleeps, but if baby has a hard time sleeping, everyone does! That’s why it’s a good idea to find a sleep routine that works and be consistent with it. Keep in mind, as baby grows and develops, their sleep routine will change, and change again, and again. It’s a good idea to have a system in place: dress your baby for bed, darken the room, play soft music, (bath, books, bed when older) if you can get into a rhythm with it, chances are sleep will become easier to manage overall.

You know what they say, celebrities are “just like us!” So let’s hear from a few when it comes to “normalizing” new parent life:

What advice would you give a new mom?

"You just have to go to sleep. There's a strong desire to get stuff done and be an adult, but just go to bed. Blow off sending your family birthday cards or setting the table for Thanksgiving – just go to sleep whenever you can. I just go to bed all the time," Tina Fey told Parents.

What advice would you give a new dad?

"Just do the dirty work, man. You gotta do the diapers. You gotta do the middle of the night thing...A human being will exit your wife, so she's done enough. Just change the diapers and do all that stuff,” Ryan Reynolds said on “Late Night With Seth Meyers.”  

What should first time parents never do?

Something a lot of parents have difficulty with is asking for help. Whether it’s a friend, a grandparent, or even your partner, people want to help, so let them! Ask your bestie to stop at the market on the way over, let the grandparents play with baby so you can take a nice, long shower (or nap!), have your partner make dinner or do the laundry. Parenting is hard and it can take a minute to get used to things… be kind to yourself and trust that you are doing the best that you can.

What are some sleep tips for new parents?

The importance of a good night's sleep is essential to everyone, especially babies as they grow and develop. While it may seem counterintuitive, some parents swear by playing soft music to help baby sleep because of its soothing qualities. Other parents like to use a white noise machine as it blocks out other noises (like traffic, neighbors, other kids in the house, etc.). Experts of all kinds also advise that parents should try to sleep when their newborn does. Sleep schedule may seem erratic in the beginning, but slowly and surely, routine and consistency will emerge and a good night’s sleep will be had by all.

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