This is something my mum has said to me so many times since I've had babies! At certain times it's about ensuring that the maximum amount of rest is being achieved by the maximum amount of people possible in the house.
Particularly in weeks of teething, sickness or sleep disturbance it is best to ensure that the most rest is being had by the most amount of people. This simply limits or at least minimises the collateral damage the next day or ensuing days. The more people who are well rested (even toddlers) or parents who have to get up and go to work the better.
Here are a few tips for getting max rest for as many people as possible.
- If an adult is sick in our house, it is bunker down and get them better. Close the door and let them sleep, all day if they have to. It's hard work letting another adult sleep when you have to look after the kids and keep them out of the bedroom in the process but it means recovery time is a lot quicker and things get back to normal sooner.
- If a baby is sick I usually hop into the guest bed with them and sleep (or attempt to sleep) the night where I can help them, feed them, keep an eye on them etc and make sure daddy still has a full nights sleep to either be at home full bottle the next day to help us all, or at least be fresh for work.
- We are blessed because both little ones have their own rooms, but this is something I remember reading fairly early on when I was pregnant with number 2-keep newborns as far away from other siblings during the night as possible at leas until they are stretching their night feeds and/or sleeping through (even if the bassinet has to be in the hallway outside mum and dads room!) Making sure the siblings get a full nights sleep will really help you out the next day.
- Prioritise nap time. I am big on this in our house, nap time is a prized time of rest for all of us so I do every thing I can to make sure the little ones are primed and ready for a good sleep. I slept during the day on and on for many months with both babies so having a non negotiable nap time especially for a toddler has been a life saver for me. When they are sick or quite young and may be unsettled, nap time takes place on me or next to me in bed so I can at least rest my body. If they don't want to sleep they simply stay in their cot until nap time is over. I don't sleep until babies are actually asleep but at least I can sit down or lie down and rest my body while they are chatting in their cot for the duration of nap time. It then is just an early dinner and bedtime that night (and usually a long afternoon too).
- Ensure bedrooms are sleep conducive. Bedrooms in our house have block out blinds and minimal things in them, currently our kiddies are very young so they don't need lots of toys in their bedrooms, but books and other things don't go in the beds with them, they are simply in bed to sleep with a water bottle & a teddyif they wake up and need help resettling. I haven't personally used night lights or music but that's a personal choice, another thing my mum always said to me was 'make night time as boring as possible and day time the exciting time' that way littlies see more inclined to just go off to sleep as there has not been a precedent set for night time fun and games.
- We purchased cots that were a more streamline design on wheels so we had the flexibility of moving them around the house if we needed to. This has been brilliant with sick babies so we can wheel them into our room and settle them easily from our own bed, and also for when visitors come to stay we are able to simply move them out of the area so all the kids get a good nights sleep and are not waking each other up.
- Do the car thing. This is easier when you just have the one baby but if sleep is evading your house for some reason, at nap time make yourself or stop and pick up a nice coffee, pack a book (or your laptop) and snuggle baby up nice and cosy in their car seat for a good sleep. There was a patch where we had a nasty virus our then 10 month was struggling to kick so I did this for a couple of days in a row to ensure she got that extra long day time sleep in to help her immune system bounce back. It didn't take much driving so I ended up working on the front seat while she slept in the back. We would just head home once she started to stir or wake properly. After a few days she was back to her normal nap routine.
- On those extra tiring weeks my husband and I will take in turns to have a slow wake up when possible. One of us will get up and do the breakfast thing and the other will stay asleep or just have some time out and rest in bed.
- We have also become ok with sleeping during the day too. Like I mentioned above, I have slept for a long time since having babies and it makes the world of difference listening to what your body needs and giving it that extra rest.
Some weeks it's certainly harder to ensure everyone in the house is well rested but being flexible and ok to do things a bit differently and take things a bit slower it can mean more people are getting more rest in the house. This is something we try and prioritise in our house so we can all be as healthy and as happy as possible to be able to keep up with the full life we have been given!