Newborns wake frequently and require regular feeding so it is inevitable that parents will endure broken sleep for a few months. The advice of ‘sleep when your baby sleeps’ is well intended but easier said than done, especially if you have other young children to take care of.
Here are my 5 top tips for parents coping with new baby sleep deprivation:
1. When you do have the opportunity to rest, take it. It may not be sleep but rest is the next best thing. Perhaps when baby sleeps, you can have a quiet time with your other child/children rather than vigorous activity. Taking deep, intentional breaths (meditating) will also help. Don’t under estimate the value of resting your body and mind.
2. Your mind will believe what you tell it, especially in the night or when you are tired because that’s when you are less rational and your limbic brain is firing. So be sure to keep telling yourself that you will be just fine in the morning and you wil get just as much sleep as you need.
3. Consider your nutrition. We crave foods that give us a quick energy boost or foods that are quick to grab when we are tired. These foods add to the problem. Be sure to eat regularly and fuel your body with the macronutrients it needs to give you more sustainable energy and clarity. Slow release carbohydrates, plenty of vegetables and protein will really help.
4. Getting fresh air and gentle exercise will help to sustain you. With Spring in the air, a daily stroll with the pram and the little ones will do wonders for mum and dad too.
5. Ask for help. If you are desperately sleep deprived and finding it hard to function, you must ask fro help. Yours and your children’s safety and well being could be at risk if you try to carry on in a terribly sleep deprived state. If you are getting less than 5 hours (even broken) sleep in any 24 hour period, this is dangerous. Allow others to help you out so that you can be the best parent for your child.