My one and only little sister will soon be joining the wonderful world of motherhood (or as I like to call it, lack-of-sleep-hood). As can be expected with any new and slightly nervous mom-to-be, my sister has been asking me a ton of questions and seeking my advice in preparation for the arrival of her baby.
Throughout the last few months, we’ve talked about everything from what brand of diapers she should get to tips on getting through labor and even thoughts on transitioning back to work. One piece of advice I made sure to give my sister was something we’ve all heard: “When the baby sleeps, you should get some sleep.”
At first, this suggestion sounded so nice and easy to accomplish. What could possibly be hard about sleeping when the baby sleeps? But as I’ve learned, it’s not as easy as it seems.
But it can be done—at least sometimes! Here, based on my experience as the mom of three, are some guidelines to follow. If you take this advice, you’ll be in much better shape than I was my first time around!
- First, if you have a dog, be sure it’s trained not to bark—ever (or at least for the baby’s first year). Or else the baby will wake up from her nap. And then you won’t like your dog too much anymore!
- Lock your door and hang a huge sign on it that says “Sleeping Baby Inside” so no one knocks on the door or rings the bell. You might even have a permanent sign created so it’s on the front door forever (or at least for the baby’s first year).
- Purchase a sound machine or download a sound machine app in case your neighbor starts mowing the lawn during the middle of the day or a group of kids strikes up a rowdy game of kickball.
- Don’t forget to turn your phone on silent just in case someone calls you. If you still have an old-fashioned land line, make sure you unplug it completely.
- After you’ve done everything in your power to ensure you can actually lie down and fall asleep while the baby is sleeping, try really hard to actually fall asleep. Of course, that might not be so easy because you might suddenly remember that you forgot to put the dinner in the crockpot so you’ll need to get up and do that really quick because otherwise you won’t be able to fall asleep. And before you fall asleep, you might also want to check the baby one last time to make sure she really is asleep and she’s still breathing. That way, you will be completely at ease when you lie down and try to get some rest yourself.
- Once you’re finally drifting off to a sweet slumber, the baby might decide it’s play time. So you’ll have to get up and wipe away your tears and then send a text to your husband to ask him to come home ASAP! And then also ask your best friend or mom or sister or a next-door neighbor…or anyone within a 10-mile radius to please, please come over and watch the baby so you can get a 20-minute power nap.
So, moms-to-be, that’s how you can (NOT) get some sleep while your baby sleeps.
Good luck, new mom. And may the odds ever be in your favor.