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Sorry, but “sleep when the baby sleeps” isn’t realistic advice.

When I was pregnant, I thought I knew sleep deprivation. I would toss and turn to try to get comfortable – physically using my hands to lift up my belly and lug it back and forth from one side to the other. I even bought one of those massive pregnancy pillows that wraps around your entire body in an attempt to ward off sleepless nights. And the kicking? Non-stop. Let’s just say I savored every last drip of the tiny cup of coffee allowed each day. 

“Oh, if you think this is bad, just wait,” my sister who had kids told me. “It’s about to get a whole lot worse.”

I knew that newborns slept poorly in theory. But I still had a hard time believing that I could be more tired than I already was while pregnant.

Boy, was I wrong.

The truth is, you can never truly comprehend how difficult life with a newborn is until you’re in the thick of it. Yes, it’s wonderful in many ways. But I’m going to be honest – those first six weeks in particular were really hard for me.

It felt like my son would sleep all day and then wanted to party all night. So the advice “sleep while the baby sleeps,” turned out to be not actually helpful. At all. Turns out, that kind of “day/night reversal” is super-common – after all, babies are used to being bounced to sleep in a moving womb during the day. 

Oh, and you can’t put newborns on a schedule for a few months. It’s their world, and you’re just living in it.

I’m not telling you this to scare you.

I’m telling you this because, while the newborn stage is hard no matter how much you learn about babies ahead of time, I wish that I’d known more about what my son’s sleep habits would be like – more than the unhelpful cliche “if you think you’re tired now, just wait.” More specifics, along with guidance for how to cope with what I was about to go through, would have helped me be much more physically and mentally prepared.

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If you, too, want to know more details that can help you prepare for your little one’s arrival, then Baby Sleep 101 from BabyCenter Courses is for you. It’s the on-demand, virtual course about all things baby sleep that I co-host with Olufunke Afolabi-Brown, M.D., a pediatric sleep medicine physician.

It’s the course that I wish had been around to help me when I was a new mom.

There’s a lot of great advice on how to help newborns sleep as well as possible, and there are tips for how to cope with the inevitable sleep deprivation when you’re still feeding your baby every couple of hours around the clock (my favorite one: if you have a partner, institute a shift system overnight so you can both get some sleep).

There are also plans and guidance for later in your baby’s first year, when you have to use a different approach because your baby will be at a different developmental stage.

And since all of the information comes from Dr. Brown, you can rest assured that it’s all safe and research-backed (a.k.a. proven to work).

Join me in Baby Sleep 101 for only $75 – a great value, considering comparable courses start at $99. You’ll thank yourself later.

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