There’s this really sexy look I’ve been sporting lately: It’s called “I’ve-Just-Had-a-Baby-And-Am-Not-Sleeping-For-Sh*t.” Maybe you’ve heard of it? Yes, many painstaking hours go into achieving this hot-off-the-maternity-ward look.
Dark circles: check.
Glazed eyes: check.
(Unintentional) Dread head: check.
Sexed-up ghostly pallor: a very crucial check.
With a newborn in the house, anything over two hours of sleep is the equivalent of finding the Holy Grail (or a magnum of Champagne and a really stellar babysitter). It takes having a boatload of weapons in your arsenal to pry a few hours of sleep from the hands of your cute bundle of joy/sleep terrorist. Indeed, every baby is different—but here are a couple of tried-and-tested tips to help you and your kiddo sleep through the night.
1. Gripe Water
Plenty of brands sell this stuff (Mommy’s Bliss and Colic Calm are popular ones), so you’ll find a couple of variations when it comes to the ingredients. But essentially, it’s water mixed with sodium bicarbonate (an antacid) and a blend of herbs. I can always count on a couple of gripe water drops to eliminate hiccups instantly and on occasion, send my little one into the Land of Nod.
2. Colic Tablets
If you have a lil’ gas bucket on your hands, using colic tablets to help with that trapped air might bring some much needed relief (and sleep) to your bebe. I have friends that rave about the Hyland’s brand, but my kiddo pretty much laughed in the face of these things and continued with her “no sleep for mommy EVER” campaign.
3. The ‘5 S’ System.
This one’s cribbed from Harvey Karp’s “The Happiest Baby on the Block.” He claims that recreating the environment of the womb is the quickest way to get your infant snoozing. How to go about that? Swaddle them (you can do this one-handed by now, right?), lay them on their Side/Stomach, Swing ‘em, provide a couple of Shushes and give them something to Suck on. This method’s proven itself a useful ally time
4. Your significant other/mother/cousin/best friend, etc.
Playing tag team with a partner-in-arms is probably the only guaranteed way to garner a solid couple hours of sleep. The key here is go to a room/space where the baby WILL NOT be heard. Seems obvious, right? Yeah, I thought so too. Feeding, rocking and shushing a screaming baby in bed (and right next to my ear drums) probably isn’t going to add much to my sleep bank, but thanks for playing, hubby.
5. Sleep Routine
Cue the royal trumpeters. Like, right now. Having a sleep routine is no joke. Two days after instituting one, our two month-old started sleeping six to seven hour stretches at night. (I KNOW!) The key is to not deviate from the routine—especially in the beginning. Here’s mine: 1) Bath 2) Infant massage 3) Pajamas 4) Bottle/breastfeed 5) Story 6) Bed. I started this while she was still sleeping in a bassinet in my room and used it when I transitioned her into a crib at three months of age. I credit the routine for helping my kiddo adjust to sleeping in a crib and for bringing sanity back into my life.
And when all else fails, there’s always concealer.