Baby Sleep: four ways to cope with lack of sleep
You can’t truly understand the impact of sleep deprivation until you’re living through it, and man-to-man: it can be brutal. Here are some tips to help.
You can’t truly understand the impact of sleep deprivation until you’re living through it, and man-to-man: it can be brutal.
For dad, mum, baby, the neighbours – for everyone involved, lack of sleep can cause issues that ripple through your household.
It’s little wonder that in a study called First 1,000 Days by the NTC
, the UK’s largest charity for parents, many new dads admitted that lack of sleep and increased tiredness had impacted on their quality of life.
In fact, around one in five fathers said that getting less sleep and becoming more tired affected their moods and behaviour, with one 35-year-old dad commenting, “[Lack of] sleep has made it difficult to cope sometimes, as it becomes more stressful to manage everything as a result.”
There’s no doubt that sleep deprivation can have an impact your overall ability to cope with taking care of your baby, supporting your wife or partner, and getting on with daily life.
But for dads who are struggling to sleep, or whose partners are grappling with a broken sleep regime, what can you do to help get everyone back on an even keel?
1. Acknowledge that life has changed
Many new parents try to maintain their old lifestyle once their little bundle arrives, which is rarely achievable.
Some parents may be able to keep up with a few of their old routines – tennis on Thursday night, or regular trivia games at the pub, for instance. But overall, your routine is going to have to change to accommodate more downtime, or you risk running yourself ragged.
2. Just say no
Not to your partner, but to any added responsibility outside of the home. Has your best mate asked you to help them move house or asked you to go away on a boys weekend? Does your boss want to rope you into to an exciting but time-consuming project that will have you working lots of overtime?
Trust me, these things can wait – especially when your adorable but demanding baby is still a newborn.
3. Accept help
A new baby can take you to staggering new heights of fatigue – heights you didn’t even know could exist!
So if your parents, in-laws, friends, workmates, neighbours or in fact anyone in your life who you vaguely trust offers to help you - take them up on that offer!
Having a hand with preparing meals, keeping the house clean or even walking your dog while you’re in the ‘newborn fog’ might just help save your sanity. At the very least, it’ll give you and/or your partner a chance to rest and if you’re lucky, grab a nap.
4. Create a plan of attack
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If your wife or partner bears the full brunt of sleepless nights by tending to the baby all night long, you’ll likely (and understandably) bear the full brunt of her tiredness the next day.
So, come up with a plan of attack to share baby duties. It might mean mum could handle the night feeds while you volunteer to look after bub for the first hour or two of the morning, giving her a precious regular window of guaranteed snooze time. Whatever it is, work out a system that has you two sharing the sleep fog.
And remember, it will clear eventually!