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On of the most challenging parts of early parenthood is lost sleep. The demands of parenting during the daytime are hard enough, but to do it during the night is extra challenging.
Both my kids would wake up frequently during the night for feeding and cuddles. I never wanted to deny them these things but I did want more sleep.
Looking back now, there were a few strategies that help me to survive the roughest patches. These are my top tips:
Share the responsibility
If you have a partner, then get them to do some of the work too. It doesn’t matter whether they have work the next day, it won’t hurt them to spend a few minute each night helping you out.
You could split shifts or split tasks. Sometimes my husband and I would take it in turns to get out of bed and provide comfort. But when they wanted feeding he would take responsibility for nappy changes and bringing the kids to me. Those few extra minutes sleep would make all the difference.
Go to bed early
This is my favourite tip. Sometimes it can feel as though you want to stay up after baby has gone to sleep because that is your “me time”, but when you are really sleep deprived go to bed early.
During the roughest patches, I would go to bed when the kids went to bed at 6:30. Most times that would be what it took to get me refreshed and ready to go again.
Talk to friends going through it too
They say it takes a village, well we have WhatsApp for that now. I used to find it reassuring talking to fellow mummies going through the same thing with their kids.
Just knowing that my kid wasn’t being extra ridiculous when it came to sleep helped me to understand that I would probably survive this.
Scale back your commitments
Don’t over-commit during the day. When you are running low on energy, it is OK to not go to swimming lessons or baby signing classes.
You can even say no to the fancy dinner and just shove a pizza in the oven instead. You need to make the little energy you do have last all day and night, so ditch anything in your life that takes up too much.
Despite the odd lazy pizza, try to eat well. This will help with the energy and put you in a good position to get restful sleep when you get the opportunity.
Avoid caffeine and sugar, particularly in the evenings. Drink warm naturally caffeine free drinks like herbal teas to help you nod off.
And a few snacks during the day to keep your energy levels up won’t hurt either. Particularly if you are breastfeeding.
Do what it takes
There aren’t really any rules around this. Basically, you’ve got to do what you need to to get through this. It does end. I promise.
Disclaimer: Remember the information you read here does not represent advice. Any ideas or suggestions are just that and may not work for you. Read the full disclaimer here.