Brighter Days: 6 Top Tips to Sleep
Whoever coined the phrase "sleeping like a baby" had a really good sense of humor. Maybe she didn't have kids!
A newborn might sleep up to 16 hours each day, but that's probably only for a few hours at a time. Breastfed babies tend to get hungry more frequently than bottle-fed babies, and it's not uncommon for them to nurse every two hours for their first few weeks of life.
Sleep safety is very important. The only thing that should be in your baby's crib or bassinet is the baby, the mattress and a tight-fitting crib sheet. That means no toys, pillows, blankets or bumpers. Be sure there's nothing nearby with a cord or string such as window blinds.
The American Academy of Pediatrics, or the AAP, recommends that babies be placed on their backs to sleep, not on their stomachs or even their sides because from this position, they can roll over onto their stomachs.
Here's what our Mommy M.D.s -- doctors who are also mothers -- do to get their own babies to sleep.
"Don't underestimate the power of swaddling," says Jeannette Gonzalez Simon, M.D., a mom of two daughters, a pediatric gastroenterologist in private practice and founder and CEO of Dr. Simon's Remedy in Essex County, New Jersey. "New moms need to know how to do this! Ask the nurses in the hospital to give you a crash course. Then get those babies snug as a bug in a rug."
"For my older daughter, the book 'The Happiest Baby on the Block' was indispensable," says Robyn Liu, M.D., a mom of three daughters and a family medicine physician with Northwest Permanente in Portland, Oregon. "The five S's technique worked wonders: swaddling, side position, shushing, swinging and sucking. It was magic."
"One thing that surprised me about my baby and my lack of sleep was that I didn't mind losing sleep," says Liu. "When something else wakes me in the middle of the night, I get resentful. But when my baby woke me up, I didn't mind getting up for her."
"The first month is terribly difficult," says Silvana Ribaudo, M.D., a mom of a son and a daughter and an assistant clinical professor at the Columbia University Medical Center and Columbia Doctors Eastside, both in New York City. "Embrace the fact that you will not sleep through the night for a LOOOOOOONNNGG time."
"When my son was first born, my husband wrote 'It gets better' on Post-it notes and placed them all around our house," Ribaudo continues. "They reminded me that there was a light at the end of the tunnel. The first month was the hardest for me because it was such an adjustment. After that, I think it gets easier -- or at least you get used to the exhaustion!"
"The fatigue with a new baby is like nothing I had ever experienced," says Heather Orman-Lubell, M.D., a mom of two sons and a pediatrician in private practice at Yardley Pediatrics of St. Christopher's Hospital for Children in Pennsylvania. "I went into parenting thinking: 'I've been an intern. I can do this!' But it's different when you're not getting good sleep every single night. After the first few sleepless weeks, my husband and I worked out a schedule. I'd breastfeed the baby each night around 8 p.m. and then go to sleep. My husband would stay up to give the baby a bottle at 11 p.m., and then he'd go to sleep. Then I'd wake up the next morning with the baby. That way, we'd each get a nice stretch of sleep."
"I have four children, and I can tell you that every single kid is different as far as sleep goes," says Kristie McNealy, M.D., a mom of four and a health care consultant in Salt Lake City. "I think if there were a single sleep solution that worked for every baby, someone would have written the book on it, and she would be a trillionaire. If what you are doing to get your baby to sleep isn't working, it doesn't mean you're doing it wrong. It just means it doesn't work for your kid. Simply try something else."
Jennifer Bright is a mom of four sons, co-founder and CEO of family- and veteran- owned custom publisher Momosa Publishing, co-founder of the Mommy MD Guides team of 150+ mommy M.D.s, and co-author of "The Mommy MD Guide to the Toddler Years." She lives in Hellertown, Pennsylvania. To find out more about Jennifer Bright and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.Copyright 2021 Creators Syndicate Inc.