Birthing and chestfeeding parents are often the target audience when it comes to parenting advice and blogs. But not this one! This one is for the non-birthing and/or non-chestfeeding parent (partner). Read on to see how you can support your baby’s sleep.
Your Partner Can Support the Sleep Schedule
Our baby’s sleep needs are very different than our own. By learning your baby’s sleepy cues and ideal sleep times, you will help sleep become easy and predictable for them. Newborns can often only handle 45-minutes to 1-hour of awake time before it is time to sleep again. As your infant gets older, those times stretch a bit longer—up to 2- to 3-hours. Once you find what works for your baby, make their sleep a priority so that it continues to be successful.
Be a Part of the Bedtime Routine
Bedtime routines help cue our babies that sleep comes next. Bedtime routines should be soothing and calming, and most of all, consistent. By doing the same actions in the same order over and over again, our babies learn what comes next. And in this case, it’s sleep! Any partner can be a part of the bedtime routine. Bedtime routines can be a perfect time for bonding for the non-birthing and non-chestfeeding parent.
Help with Nightfeedings
Whether your baby is chestfed, bottle-fed, or a combination of both—you can help with nightfeedings! If your baby is:
- Chestfed: You can help bring your baby to your partner for the nightfeed and return them to their crib once the feeding is finished. This is especially helpful when the birthing parent is recovering from labor and delivery. But it will be appreciated well after that, too! If your partner is incorporating pumping, you can offer to feed pumped milk for the feed instead of direct chestfeeding at night.
- Bottle-fed: Do the feed yourself! You and your partner can work out a schedule or take turns depending on the frequency of your baby’s nightfeeding needs.
Respond to Nightwakings
Non-birthing and non-chestfeeding parents are terrific at soothing their babies! Having the non-birthing or non-chestfeeding parent respond to a nightwaking can help change the routine and elicit a different reaction from our baby. This is especially true if your baby has been used to the birthing or chestfeeding parent responding at night. If the time comes for your family to engage in formal sleep training, partners can plan an integral role implementing the sleep training method.
Support Healthy Circadian Rhythms
There are many ways you can support your baby’s circadian rhythms. Help your baby’s sleep by taking them outside and exposing them to natural sunlight. Exposure to natural sunlight increases sleep pressure and helps set their internal clock. Walks in the stroller, baby carrier, or even just being outside in your arms works well.
Be a United Front with your Partner
The key to any sleep training or sleep plan is consistency. Open communication between you and your partner about your sleep goals for your family is important. When both parents agree of how to handle bedtime, nightwakings, or any other sleep challenges, success is achieved quickly and easily.
Having a new baby changes roles and responsibilities for every parent. If you are the non-birthing or non-chestfeeding partner, you can be involved of all aspects of your baby’s life. The opportunities to support their sleep is included!