Surviving without sleep as a new parent

Surviving without sleep as a new parent

When you carried your newborn over the threshold, you waved goodbye to your Sunday morning lie-in. But a few weeks in and you’ve understood the real meaning of the word, “frazzled”. Now you’d settle for even 3 hours of uninterrupted sleep – any night of the week! You went to all the antenatal classes and yet the lack of sleep has still come as a shock.

Sleep deprivation can leave you feeling emotional and stressed. It’s hard to concentrate or even communicate. Most days, you feel like a zombie. You love your little bundle so much but just wish he or she would let you get some shut-eye.    

Our 5 top tips for better sleep

  1. Accept that waking up in the middle of the night is what babies are programmed to do. You’re unlikely to be doing anything wrong. Take each night as it comes and don’t put yourself under unnecessary pressure to get into a routine.
  1. Try to sleep whenever your baby does. Normal rules about napping during the day don’t apply. A 20-30 minute snooze should refresh you rather than make you feel more groggy.
  1. Be realistic about the chores that need doing. The washing up, hoovering and laundry can wait. If the opportunity arises, by all means clean the house, but don’t beat yourself up if the dust starts to settle.
  1. If you find it hard to nod off, wind down with a warm bath, a good book or a herbal tea. Try some deep breathing techniques. And ensure that your sleep environment is comfortable, quiet and sufficiently dark.
  1. Consider sharing the night-time feeds. If breastfeeding, express some milk so that your partner can help out. Knowing that someone else is listening out for your baby’s cries means you’re less likely to be roused when they wake.  

Few of us have the text book baby. Acknowledging that those first few months are going to be tough and accepting help when it’s offered is key. Blissful slumber will return… although perhaps not until the teething phase is over! 

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