Being a parent feels like nothing else. The highs are almost indescribably high – watching your babies grow into fun, friendly and loving people. However, the lows are similarly extreme, and a lack of sleep certainly falls into that camp. If you have baby sleep issues, it colours your whole life, but there are ways to cope with the disrupted nights.
Whether they are a newborn, going through a sleep regression, teething or they’ve just decided they would quite like a twilight cuddle with mum or dad, children that give you disrupted nights make the next day difficult to navigate as a parent. It feels like you are wading through mud when you try to perform the simplest tasks and all you can focus on is the next opportunity to slip under your duvet. But there are jobs to do, so here’s how to parent when you’ve been up all night with baby sleep issues.
Okay, drinking copious cups of coffee isn’t a long-term solution, but it can give you that boost to see you through till nap time. Whether it is psychological or not, if you feel more awake and energised, that can only be a good thing.
If you live near a Waitrose, you can get a MyWaitrose card that entitles you to a free coffee with every purchase, which can save you a good deal of money on coffee shop prices. Alternatively, all of the big names like Costa, Starbucks and Caffe Nero run loyalty schemes that provide you with free drinks after you buy so many.
A good present for parents of newborns is a coffee maker. The baby gets more clothes and toys that it will ever need from various friends and relatives, so it’s nice to treat the parents instead sometimes.
Another good way to energise yourself is to exercise. If you can get out for a run or walk on your own, it is great for both your physical and mental health. If there is no one to watch baby for you, you can still pound a few miles with the pram. The fresh air will certainly perk you up and you can even rope in other new parents to make it a fun, regular social occasion.
You may be sick of people telling you to ‘sleep when baby sleeps’. It’s not always that easy and, actually, having some awake time to yourself to do grown-up things is good for you. But you should definitely take advantage of nap time.
Don’t feel pressure to clean and cook. No one is going to judge you and stressing about these things won’t help your tired state. If you can’t sleep, at least try to relax some other way. Make your way through a boxset on Netflix, browse Facebook, conserve your energy for when baby wakes and you have to leap into action again.
When you have baby sleep issues, screen time can be a blessing. Whether it keeps an older sibling entertained during the baby’s feed, or you have a sleepless child old enough to fall under the spell of Mr Tumble and friends, this can give you a break from the chaos of sleep-deprived parenthood and allow you time to sit down with a cup of tea.
There is a huge debate about the amount of screen time that is healthy for a child but using it to give you a break from the exhaustion is certainly justified.
Parents of newborns and sleepless children have it tough. Most people understand that and are more than willing to help. If you’re struggling with a lack of sleep, don’t be afraid to ask for assistance. If a neighbour can push your baby around in the pram for an hour while you catch forty winks, that will make the rest of the day so much easier.
Parenting doesn’t need to be a test of endurance and anyway you can make it easier on yourself is worth exploring.
Of course, no one wants to miss out on sleep; there’s no surprise that sleep deprivation is used as a torture technique. But if you are suffering baby sleep issues, here are some potential advantages that you might not have considered.
Spending time up with a baby in the night gives you time to solve all those issues you don’t have time to consider in the day. Logistics for holidays, decorating plans, even sorting out work-related situations.
If baby will only sleep on you, you can also catch up on books you have been meaning to read or TV series you’ve not yet started.
These might not be worth going without sleep for, but this is another important aspect of parenting without sleep – trying to find the positives in every situation.
Do you have any tips for parenting on no sleep? Contact us today and let us know!