How long does it take for you to get good sleep after a baby is born?
Even as you get past the early days of your child’s life when you feel like you’re awake around the clock, you still might not be getting the sleep you enjoyed pre-baby.
In fact, research out of Germany shows what many parents may have felt for years: It can be up to six years before moms and dads start getting a consistent good night’s rest again.
Researchers surveyed 2,541 women and 2,118 men between 2008 and 2015. While sleep satisfaction hit a low point in the first three months postpartum, it takes up to six years — regardless of age, income or other factors — for parents to recover to pre-pregnancy levels of sleep satisfaction and duration.
How well an individual child is sleeping (or not sleeping) obviously plays a role in this. Dr. Aaron Traeger, pediatrician with Advocate Children’s Medical Group in Bloomington, Ill., has some tips about early sleep training.
“Even though it is unrealistic to expect your baby will sleep through the night before they are four months old, there are some things you can do to help them be ready,” Dr. Traeger says. “If it is nighttime, you should not encourage your baby to stay awake. Leave the lights off for nighttime feedings. Don’t make a lot of noise or sing to them. Just change them, feed them and put them back down.”
“Once your baby is four months old (and their nutritional needs aren’t as high overnight), you can follow your same changing and feeding routine and then put them down and let them cry for up to an hour,” Dr. Traeger says. “If they do not fall asleep, then go back in, go through the routine again and put them back down.”
About the Author
Lynn Hutley, health enews contributor, is coordinator of public affairs and marketing at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center and Advocate Eureka Hospital in central Illinois. Having grown up in a family-owned drug store, it is no surprise that Lynn has spent almost 18 years working in the health care industry. She has a degree in human resources management from Illinois State University and is always ready to tackle Trivia Night.