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How do I cope with caring for a newborn when I'm sleep deprived?
Sleep deprivation is common for parents of young children—especially newborns. Inadequate sleep can leave you feeling constantly tired and overwhelmed. These tips may help you cope:

  • Try to nap whenever your baby does. Or take a hot bath to relax.
  • Go to bed as early as you need to, even if it's 8:00 p.m.
  • Don't worry about housework or chores. Focus instead on caring for yourself and your baby. Ask your spouse or another relative to help out, or hire a cleaning service during the early months.
  • Limit visits from friends and relatives during the first few months. Ask people to call before they visit.
  • When you're resting, let your answering machine pick up phone calls. Or take the phone off the hook.
  • Make life easier for yourself. Use paper plates and take-out meals for a few weeks. Have a babysitter or friend come in so you can take a long nap.
  • Try energizing yourself with physical exercise. Walking, stretching, bicycling, and aerobics can invigorate you when you're dragging.
Dr. Bettye M. Caldwell Ph.D. Professor of Pediatrics in Child Development and Education