CONGRATULATIONS!! After all of those months (or years) of dreaming, praying, and anxiously waiting, YOU get the grand prize! An adorable little person to call your own! For the first few days you may be living on cloud 9. You bond, you cuddle, you stare, you play. It all seems like a dream.
Then those days turn into weeks, then possibly months and you find yourself once again dreaming, praying, and anxiously awaiting the night you win the 2nd grand prize: a FULL night’s rest. Oh yeah, you love your child with all your heart can handle… but truth is, you’re beyond EXHAUSTED!!
We all know new baby = little to no sleep. Yet, unless you’ve experienced it first hand, no one can understand the depth, the pain, the evil (yes, I think it’s evil) of sleep deprivation.
Sleep Deprivation (especially when it’s chronic) can be so hard on a person, physically, mentally and emotionally. The simplest tasks can feel like the biggest chore. You say and think things you wouldn’t have said or thought before. Frustrations and arguments with your spouse, and loved ones are heightened. You’re over sensitive, over emotional, and just plain over IT. You just want and desperately need some good ol’ fashioned sleep!
Through it all, of course you would never want to trade your child; just their sleep patterns. You’re not over them, you love them! You’re just over being tired all.of.the.time.
5 Tips for Surviving Sleep Deprivation
I did a poll with friends, to give me their BEST advice for surviving sleep deprivation. Here are the 5 most common tips!
Eat healthy and take your multivitamins: When you eat well, your body responds even better. Energy boosting meals and snacks will help revive your body AND your mind. With the lack of sleep, fueling your body with good nutrition will help to support your system.
Ask for help! Family and friends are more than likely excited to help. Let them come over and watch the baby. If you have an older baby or a toddler let that trusted person take them out for a few hours so you can get sleep. And do just that…sleep!
Take turns with your partner: Depending on your work schedules, you can treat it like shift work. If you’re a night owl, then it may be easier for you to be up and function in the evening hours. If your partner is an early riser, chances are it’s easier to do the same during those early hours. If you’re breastfeeding, try saving a bottle or two of pumped milk, so your partner can do a nighttime feed. Work out your own schedule. Keep at it until you find a fit that works. One of the best parts of co-parenting, is helping each other get sleep. Team work makes the dream work…literally.
Sleep when baby sleeps, or at least pause: There are always a million and one things that you “need” to do or could get done while baby is sleeping. Set realistic goals for the day and don’t over stretch yourself.
My friend Ileana (mom of 2) gave this example: “…a realistic goal is to brush your teeth and take a 10 min shower. Not vacuum the house, do the dishes, fold the laundry and learn how to crochet (lol) and later be stressed because you didnt achieve any of your goals because the baby just wanted to be held. Be realistic and give yourself some grace.”
It’s okay if you don’t go into a full dream cycle. At least you can stop long enough to shut your eyes, let your body pause and recharge for the length of the nap.
Co-sleep: Sometimes your presence or your scent helps the baby to sleep better and longer. Co-sleeping isn’t for everyone, yet a lot of parents find it helpful. Especially, when your little one just doesn’t want to be away from you. If you choose to co-sleep, make sure to take all the necessary safety precautions. You can place the baby in a co-sleeping bassinet, or co-sleeping bed attached to your bed. If you’re interested in co-sleeping, my friend Tiffany shared this link Safe Co-Sleeping Guidelines. Thanks Tiffany!
Just a Reminder
Remember this is just a relatively short season in your child’s entire life. When it comes to choosing how to help your child sleep through the night, do what works for your child and your home. When baby sleeps, you sleep, and the whole house will be happier in the morning. We’re better versions of ourselves when we’re well rested. Mom and Dad, you can do this and you’re stronger than you may realize in this very moment. You’re doing awesome! You WILL get through this.
I hope that the tips above will help you to survive and thrive during this very sleepy and tired season! And moreso I hope you get the rest you need, soon and often! Do you have any tips on how to survive sleep deprivation? Share your favorites in the comment section below. I’d love to read them!
Sincerely, Mrs. Mommy