It is common practice for new parents using new mother nursing products to take turns sleeping with their newborns during the first several weeks. Overnight, parents take turns doing things like feeding, changing diapers, burping, and putting the baby back to sleep.
Not all families, especially those with children and in which at least one parent works overnight, can benefit from night shift systems. Sharing the nighttime responsibilities in a two-parent household where both parents work full-time can make everyone more rested and offer the non-birthing parent more time to bond with the infant. In addition, parents at risk for or experiencing postpartum depression may benefit from the additional sleep that comes with working shifts.
Nighttime responsibilities don’t have to rest solely with parents, though. You can invite other family members or friends to be on call overnight — a step that can be especially useful for single parents or households where one parent works at night. If the budget allows it, another choice is to hire a night nurse.
Planned Routines for the Night When Babies Are Newborn
There is no universally accepted evening routine for infants, just as there is no “correct” way to feed your baby. Others choose to pump and bottle-feed entirely, while still others choose to supplement with formula or formula-feed exclusively from the start. A baby can get the nutrients he or she needs for healthy development and growth from any of these feeding methods.
Feeding schedules have an impact on shift times. (Mothers who choose to breastfeed exclusively will have to get up more frequently than those who choose to take formula.) Your needs and those of your partner will be taken into account.
Your baby’s age, the frequency with which she sleeps and eats at night, and any other factors that affect her routine will affect these schedules (how long it takes her to fall back asleep, for example). However, the schedule examples provided below might serve as a springboard for you to develop a routine that works for your household.
How To Navigate a Night Shift Schedule With a Newborn
It can take some adjustment to work shifts. These suggestions can pave the way for a more restful night’s sleep for you and your companion:
Organize the timetable in advance
Determine who will be on duty at what times by discussing shift responsibilities. That way, there won’t be any midnight arguments about who should change the baby’s diaper.
You should prepare to head to bed as soon as the baby does
Turning off the lights immediately after the baby eats will allow you to get the maximum amount of sleep, which is especially important for breastfeeding mothers. Maintaining healthy sleep routines, such as putting down the phone an hour or more before bed and avoiding coffee after 2 p.m., can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer if you’re having difficulties drifting off.
Give room for some movement
Instead of treating your strategy like a rigid timetable, think of it as a series of general principles to follow. Since newborns are not on any sort of schedule, there will be certain evenings when you have to deviate off course.
Consider sleeping in separate rooms
A peaceful place to sleep is ideal for the non-working parent.