Congratulations on your new bundle of joy. As exciting and fulfilling as parenthood can be, it can also be challenging. As many parents with newborn babies may agree, it is often due to the lack of sleep. The good news is that with some tweaks to your lifestyle and daily habits, it is possible for parents with babies to have sufficient and better sleep, while ensuring that your baby is well taken care of.
The article is written with the kind support of Dr Moira Chia (Consultant, Department of Paediatrics, KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital)
Adequate sleep is important as it is what will allow you to have better concentration when taking care of your baby.
Sleep deprivation after birth is due to a combination of various factors. Parents may be struggling with adjusting to the anxieties and stress of caring for a baby1. During this period, the nights are disturbed as parents have to respond to the baby’s unpredictable feeding cues and needs at night. That is because babies have yet to develop their circadian rhythm, i.e. the internal clock that regulates sleep and wake cycles. For breastfeeding mothers, this can be especially trying, as they are solely involved in feeding the baby. Some mothers also have to wake up in the night to express milk for their babies. Fathers are often not spared as well, as they also find themselves waking up to tend to their children, or to support their partners.
Those who experience sleep deprivation may see reduced daytime functioning, increased stress, irritability and anxiety or more intense emotional changes associated with the postpartum period, such as postpartum blues or postpartum depression. Due to reduced alertness, caregiving parents may also risk safety issues for their children and themselves.
Sleep deprivation can also negatively impact positive parenting, being responsive and warm toward your child. This is because of the higher level of stress, which affects
With your baby who sleeps well, you will be able to have more rested sleep. Babies generally need about 14 to 17 hours of sleep a
day. Whilst their sleeping schedules are irregular, there are still ways that you can encourage them to develop a more routine and regular sleep pattern. Here are some tips:
Download your baby sleep log today!
For more tips and information on how to help your baby fall asleep, visit this
baby sleep page.
Safe sleep is of
utmost importance in preventing the occurrence of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)3. Below are some recommendations to keep your baby safe:
Now that you have your baby’s sleeping schedule well taken care of, take action to look after your own – this will help boost your energy and concentration levels when taking care of your little one.
Adults typically need about 7 to 9 hours of good quality sleep to function well2. However, there is often a gap between the amount of sleep they need, and the amount they get. Parents with babies typically experience frequent night awakenings which lead to fragmented sleep, and hence, poor sleep quality. Signs of inadequate sleep and sleep deprivation in the day include difficulty concentrating, memory issues, irritability and fatigue.
Here are some ways to help you sleep better.
Getting a good night’s sleep may seem impossible for parents with a baby but making some lifestyle adjustments – both for yourself and your baby – will come a long way in enhancing your well-being. Do seek advice from a healthcare professional if you feel like you or your baby’s sleeping habits are affecting your well-being.
Parent Hub for more useful tips and guides to give your child a healthy start.
MindSG for more tools to take care of your mental well-being.
The article has been endorsed by the following representatives, listed in alphabetical order by institutions: A/Prof Daisy Chan (Chairperson, Chapter of Neonatologists, College of Paediatrics and Child Health Singapore), A/Prof Tan Lay Kok (Obstetrics & Gynaecology, KK Women's and Children's Hospital), Ms Adeline Kooh Seok Koon (Asst Director, Nursing (Maternity), Mount Alvernia Hospital), Dr Angelia Chua (Family Physician Consultant, National Healthcare Group Polyclinics), Prof Lee Yung Seng (Group Director, Paediatrics, National University Hospital), Ms Susan Kok (Senior Asst Director, Nursing, Gleneagles Hospital, Parkway Pantai Group), Ms Helen Cruz Espina (Senior Lactation Consultant, Raffles Hospital Pte Ltd), A/Prof Yong Tze Tein (Head & Senior Consultant, O&G, Singapore General Hospital), Ms Fonnie Lo (Asst Director, ParentCraft Centre (Clinical) and Lactation Consultant, Thomson Medical Pte. Ltd).
This article was last reviewed on
22 Nov 2023
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