A good mom friend of mine described parenthood as “the never ending journey for more sleep.” Of course with a hint of sarcasm, those poetic words couldn’t be more true. There is always some reason why nap or bedtime is a challenge. Whether it’s a growth spurt, a sleep regression, or a discomfort like teething and tummy troubles, the first year of baby’s life is almost destined to leave you at least a little sleep deprived. I do long for more sleep, but these simple strategies have really gone a long way in easing the longing for better Z.
1) Don’t think about it— I’m serious! Just don’t think about it. Knowing your baby needs you provides some kind of adrenal boost, be it an animal instinct, a God given gift, or even a curse. When that baby cries or seems to have a need for you, you are there and you are ready. So many times I’ve woken up to my little guy, feeling completely alert, only to become overwhelmed with exhaustion when I realize just how much sleep I’ve missed. Don’t think about it. What you don’t know can’t hurt you and it really won’t be forever.
2) Give yourself 15 minuets a day and a nap day— For a lot of us moms, “sleep when the baby sleeps” is such a joke! We often ask things like, “well should I work when the baby works?”, “clean when the baby cleans?” etc. There is always so much to do and baby’s nap time really is the best time to do it. If you can, just take 10-15 minuets of one of baby’s naps to rest. You will at least feel like you’ve given yourself that little boost to rejuvenate. Then, pick a day when you really can be devoted to a nap. This is often Sunday’s for my family….. ah the Sunday afternoon nap is probably my favorite part of the week. Sigh!
3) Use white noise… for yourself!— If you’re anything like me, you’re probably army level alert the second baby makes the tinniest noise. Consider a sound machine, like this one even in your own room. It will help drown out those little noises baby is bound to make, but leave you able to hear if any real crying starts.
4) Try to take complete turns with your partner— Usually my husband and I alternate shifts. He’s more of the night owl and I’m more of the morning person so that’s exactly when we are on baby duty. However, once in a while we try to take complete turns. This means one person wakes up with the baby during the night and in the morning to let the other have a solid night’s rest and a chance to sleep in. We aren’t as consistent as we’d like, but getting into a routine of this can be so refreshing. It’s easier to be sleep deprived when there is at least an end in sight- that one day when you know you’re turn is coming and you can look forward to that snugly, uninterrupted time in your sheets! Day dreaming yet?