Knackered? Moms' Honest Advice On Sleep Deprivation
There's no tiredness like the exhaustion of a new parent; so when one of our Mom's Queries on Facebook asked about sleep deprivation, there was plenty of understanding and honest advice offered.
We've put together some of the best replies, for all you moms who are going through it right now:
"Hi Moms. I’d just like to know how mothers manage with sleep deprivation? I'm four months in now and although it has improved I'm still only getting a few broken hours of sleep a night. My partner has a full time job and two other side jobs he does every week so his help at night is non-existent. He barely gets enough sleep to keep himself going.
I'm really just wondering how do others manage it? Believe me I know I'm blessed with my beautiful boy and I'd do anything for him, I'm just finding it hard to carry on every day with so little sleep.Thanks."
Claire: I went, and still go for the morning nap, after the 7/8am feed: It's an extra 30/45 minutes sleep, but every little bit helps. Fingers crossed that as soon baby is on solids, sleep will become more regular. We found that our little girl slept a lot better in her own room: My sister has 3, and recommended it to me.
Valerie: Try taking a nap in the afternoon, when your baby sleeps after a feed. Make up your bottle for the next feed, and put it in fridge so you have it ready to go: Even a half hour will help.
Ciara: Get magnesium oil spray, and use it on the soles of your boy's feet. He'll relax and fall asleep, and should sleep the night.
Lisa: Make sure you let him sleep in a bright room for naps during the day; then darkness at night, so he knows the difference. Never put baby down asleep, always awake...best advice I ever got 😊
Jennifer: I found giving a dream-feed around 11pm every night helped. I used take him out of the cot, feed and wind him; and he would go down for the night, as his belly was full.
Michelle: The only way is to go to bed when he goes down; so you're getting as much sleep as possible. When my baby was still waking every hour and a half; I expressed, and myself and husband took turns feeding (he could give the breast milk in the bottle.) It's not good if ye are both sleep deprived, try taking turns each night so one of you can sleep: It might help you both in the long run.
Lynda: At 4 months you could try stretching out night feeds: It's tough going, but after a week it's worth it. Start by leaving feeds an extra 20min for the first 2 nights, then add another 20min for another 2 nights, and so on (if bottle feeding you might need to increase the night-time bottles by an oz on nights 2-3 and again on nights 5-6.) I did that with 2 babies: It's hard listening to them cry for the few minutes, but they adjusted over a few nights, and within a week they were both sleeping a solid 6 hours minimum.
Ask The Professionals
Chat to eumom sleep expert, Fiona O'Farrell for expert sleep advice!
Edel: If baby is waking constantly then there's an issue. They don't wake for no reason. Would it be possible that your baby has silent reflux?
Evelyn: If you find you are way too exhausted, it could be you are lacking in iron. Gets bloods done first to eliminate it. I used to laugh when people used to say "sleep when baby sleeps", but it's true. If he naps during the morning go for a sleep as well: Everything else can wait. And if he goes down early in the evening, do the same; even if its 6 o clock.
Aoifa: Sounds simple but are you taking a good vitamin, eating right, drinking enough water? Also, I know your time when baby is asleep is probably spent cleaning etc, but try to nap when baby does: It will get easier, Mama.
It's ok to ask for help
Sarah: Accept any help offered and don't feel bad: People want to help, and are glad to help; so take naps and you time. It will get easier...
Helen: Naps saved my sanity! I slept when my baby slept: I also locked the door and drew blinds when I felt really tired, so I didn't have to entertain anyone who called. You have to put yourself and baby first. Even if you can't sleep, rest on sofa or bed. I used to go to bed at about 9pm with baby ... If you have other kids, maybe a friend or family member can take them out for a few hours, so you can rest.
Siobhan: You just get used to it and adjust ... I slept in on a Saturday morning, and my husband on Sunday: It's just enough to recharge your batteries for the week. Back to no sleep again now, as we have an 11 week old; but wouldn't change it for the world. They are only small for such a short period, so just enjoy every cuddle: It's all worth it in the end.
This too shall pass
Ciara: It's so hard, I know. The only thing I can really say is it passes. They will start sleeping for longer stretches and eventually for a whole night. It's exhausting but worth it. Co-sleeping helps me a lot, I get more sleep that way and so does the baby, it's the only way I can cope (single mom of three) ... Rest as much as you can, try to eat healthily, drink coffee when you need to. I go to bed early too, when the kids go to sleep, I go to sleep: If I tried to stay up for a while, then I wouldn't get enough.
Etaoine: I'm coming up on 14 months with broken sleep every night. I have a 6yo too great sleeper from 9 months the other one likes to wake at least twice a night. Your body adapts ... this too shall pass. 😉
Keep things simple
Grace: I found walking a lot (morning, afternoon and evening) with my now 6 month old helps a lot. When I finally do sleep it's good quality sleep that's a little bit deeper than it was before, and fresh air helps my baby sleep a little bit longer (sometimes!)
Hazel: When I had my second I took the advice to nap when she napped: I completely gave up on non-essential housework; and when I say non essential, I mean it: I just did what it took to keep us alive! I was often morto when neighbours would call in, but it had to be done. Guess what: I get sleep now, the house is clean and nobody passes any remarks either way.
Pick me ups...
Sabrina: Try some Bachs Rescue Remedy. It helps to relax your mind; which we know is great for coming up with crazy thoughts at night!
Lara: I made my own turmeric capsules: That 'hit by a bus' feeling of sleep deprivation disappeared. I make them 15 parts Turmeric to one part fresh black pepper: They're safe while breastfeeding too.
Tracey: I took pharmaton tablets for fatigue: Worked well for me!