Sleep deprivation is often joked about if you are pregnant or have a baby. The typical comment of ‘oh, say goodbye to your sleep’ is tossed about with a laugh. Every parent can certainly relate. For some parents the sleep deprivation is far worse than for others. As some babies settle naturally into a nice, textbook four hourly routine with little fuss. Other babies it’s not so easy. I work with sleep deprived parents every single day in my clinic and I often reassure them that sleep deprivation is a form of torture. It is! Extreme sleep deprivation over a period of time, science tells us, has enormous affects on our body, health and mind.
Regardless of how quickly your baby settles into a good nights sleep, all parents face waking during the night several times or more to feed, comfort, settle their baby. Many hours of your nightly sleep is missing. All too soon the night time is over and the sun rises and mum’s struggle out of bed, sleep deprived to start a whole day of dealing with a baby and maybe a toddler too.
Here are tips, recommended by parents, to help you cope with the sleep deprivation: Never be too proud to accept offers of help, you will not get a gold award for struggling and trying to manage everything by yourself. As one parent says, “Don't sweat the small stuff like keeping your house spotless! If friends or family offer to help out, take up the offer as you'll be grateful for it in the long term.” Brigid
By day, sleep where you can when your baby sleeps, forget the house, the washing, the dishes they will still be there later, if you need to put a notice on the front door that baby and mum are sleeping please do, most will be considerate.
By night, try going to bed as early as you can, this may be at 8pm. Or have Dad help with night feeds by doing one and letting mum sleep “express one night feed so that someone else can do it while you rest. Stay up and feed around 9pm then go straight to bed and perhaps Dad can do the midnight feed with expressed milk to that mum can sleep till the 3am feed.” Dagmara
Difficult as it can be to get organized and get out of the house try and exercise each day, one mother says “It’s painful to think about getting to the gym or doing a walk on the limited sleep I've had but I have done it consistently after both of the births of my children and it gets me through the day and gives me more energy.” Sarah
Above all learn about and use sound logical advice on routines and baby settling advice, get yourself a copy of my book ‘BabyCare Caring for Your Baby’. Remember that it will get better. “Your baby won’t always wake for night feeds and will start to sleep for longer stretches. It’s such a short time in the big scheme of having a baby.” Sue-Ann. Take each day as is comes and if it’s not a good day then forget about it, get up tomorrow and just start again.