So you’ve been doing this parenting gig for a while now and so far it’s going ok. You’ve figured out what to do when they get hungry , and you can now change a nappy without too much poop ending up on your forehead, You haven’t murdered them yet and they’re growing thriving and gaining weight nicely… just that one thing that eludes you is sleep!!
Your little one sleeps ok but they’re not quite sleeping through the night yet and the multiple night wakings are starting to catch up with.
Sleep deprivation is part and parcel of early parenting but can be crippling after even just a few nights.
From my own experiences of sleep deprivation and from the words of the many mums I’ve helped over the years I’ve learnt and understood that being sleep deprived can cause you to.
* feel more grumpy, tearful or emotional than usual ( which is more than usual now that you’ve got a surge of post pregnancy & breastfeeding hormones flying around your body)
* Can cause you to feel resentment towards your baby and can inhibit the bonding process between you.
* Can make you feel groggy like your head is in a fog and “thinking straight” is now a thing of the past.
* Can cause forgetfulness, clumsiness and makes concentrating on simple tasks seem impossible (its lack of sleep for that causes baby brain not the baby?)
* Difficulty communicating clearly (because you just can’t think straight)
* And can seriously mess with your appetite (your either scoffing food like your life depends on it or you have zero appetite and are surviving on tea and coffee)
Everyone jokes about the lack of sleep when your pregnant but when you’re in the thick of sleep loss its really no joke. In extreme cases it can even lower your mood and exacerbate PPD or PPA symptoms and can even affect the bonding process between you and your baby.
Sleep deprivation can feel like torture
Well if you’re in the grip of those sleepless nights with your little one and you’re not quite ready to shape how your little one sleep just yet here are some survival tips for when to prevent sleep deprivation completely ruining your life!!!
1. Sleep/ rest when you can
If your little one is having a 30 mins nap go and get some rest yourself – now is not the time to wash the dishes or put a laundry load in The washing can wait besides there’ll always be more of it you have a child now. If you must do something around the house does something that literally takes 5 mins then go and rest. Even if you don’t sleep just do nothing
2. When someone offers to help take them up on their offer.
You always have a neighbour or friend who offers a helping hand and we mums always say thanks but never take them up on their offer. Stop being a martyr and take them up on their offer (they may never offer again lol). If some ones offers to cook you a meal or to take your little one to the park for an hour or to clean the fridge for you TAKE THEM UP ON THEIR OFFER!!! One thing they do for you is one less thing you’ll have to do yourself so take that time and do something for yourself like rest or get 40 winks.
3. Avoid too much caffeine
It’s tempting to OD on tea and coffee or gets some wings from red bull. I know in a total tea addict myself BUT imagine this…. You have a rare night when your little one falls asleep effortlessly and you have 3 hours of child free time so you can sleep……..but you’ve had so much coffee and red bull in the last 24 hours you lie there with your thoughts racing and before you know it 4 hours have passed when your little one has been asleep but you haven’t. After your first tea or coffee of the day limit how many you cups you have or switch to decaff
4. consider bed sharing or co sleeping in the short term.
Many mums who contact me say they feel far too tired to attempt any sleep training or shaping so I advise them to get as much sleep as possible in the short term and then tackle sleep issues with your little one once they feel a little more rested. Now don’t panic if you bring your little one to bed with you for a few nights its very unlikely you will create a rod for your back in fact you may find that your little one sleeps better when they’re are with you resulting in your all feeling more well rested. Many mums I work with often feel more confident about sleep training after a few nights of co- sleeping as it shows you the sleep potential your little one has.
Make sure you make the space where you will all sleep together as safe as possible for the age of your little one. If you have a toddler it’s easier to bed share and keep the space safer than for a new-born or younger baby here some tips for safe bed sharing.
- If you have a very small baby or a new-born considers a side car for your bed so you can sleep without worrying about rolling over onto them.
- Get rid of all the pillows they‘re a suffocation hazard.
- And make sure you have a fairly firm mattress with no gaps between the mattress and headboard that your baby or toddler could slip through or get caught in.
- If your worried about your little one dropping off the bed. Put your mattress on the floor so they have less height to fall from or put your pillows around your bed to cushion any potential falls.
- If you’ve had alcohol or drugs consider having your little one in your room with you but not in your bed. The drugs or alcohol can affect just how tired you are so id avoid bed sharing in this instance to ensure optimum safety
- Swap quilts for sheets and blankets to prevent your little one overheating during the night. They won’t get too cold as they’ll be close to you and will have the body heat of you to help keep them warm. Keep the room well ventilated too!
- Never co sleep on a sofa – with gaps the baby to slip through and the limited surface area for safe sleep its far too dangerous to even consider. Don’t do it!!
These tips can really help you to get more sleep in the short term. And it’s amazing what you can achieve and how much better you will both feel with a few more hours’ quality sleep under your eyelids. Once you feel more energised you’ll feel better able to cope and make changes to how your little one sleeps in the long term.
If you're little one isnt sleeping so well and you cant figure out why watch this amazing class i taught online in April it may help you find the cause of sleeplessness Click HERE to watch the class
If you’d like my help to solve your sleep issues click here!
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