Parent sleep deprivation is a given during the first few weeks of your baby’s life, as it is normal that they will be waking several times throughout the night, and this can become understandably tiring for new parents. Here are some tips to cope with the new parent sleep deprivation:
Sleep when your baby sleeps
We all know that looking after a newborn is incredibly hard work, and when they are asleep it can be tempting to get through some of the jobs around the house whilst you have a quiet few moments.
However, if you are feeling tired, getting in some well-deserved rest is far more important than folding the washing. If you are worried about over-sleeping and missing your little one wake up, set an alarm on your phone to wake you after a quick nap.
Get an early night
Sometimes, a week of going to bed early can help with parent sleep deprivation to re-charge your body and give you a boost of energy for the following week. If you find getting to sleep earlier tricky or your body clock doesn’t agree, try taking a soothing bath an hour before bed can help with before you plan to get an early night.
Share the duties
We know that this is not always possible, but when you can make sure you are sharing the duties as much as possible as this can help you get a little extra time to rest. If you have moved on to formula feeding, take it in turns to get up when your little one wakes during the night. Or, if you are still breastfeeding, which requires you to get up during the night when your little one wakes, ask your partner to take the early morning shift and get your baby up and dressed before they need their first feed.
Ask for help
As a new parent sleep deprivation can be incredibly hard to deal with, especially if you are looking after your little one on your own. If you are alone with your little one during the day and starting to feel tired, why not ask a family member or friend to come over and look after your baby whilst you get a couple of hours sleep?
As well as getting you some much-needed rest, it also gives your family and friends the chance to spend some time bonding with little one!
Believe it or not, regular exercise can actually help with parent sleep deprivation as it will give you an energy boost if you are feeling tired. This doesn’t have to be anything too strenuous, something as simple as walking to the local shop with your little one can help to relieve stress and make you less tired. If you’re not feeling up to exercise, perhaps try a simple breathing relaxation exercise.
Parent sleep deprivation can also be caused by an unhealthy diet. When things get busy, it can be tempting to grab food that requires no prep and can be consumed quickly on the go. But, trying to stick to a healthy diet can help boost your mood and energy. Eating regular meals and snacking on high-energy foods will such as bananas, nuts and wholemeal toast will give you much more energy in the long run than high-sugar foods, which only provide a fleeting boost.
Monitor your mood
If you are beginning to feel a change in your mood – such as feeling down, unhappy or struggling to sleep when your baby is – it is important to recognise these as signs. If you are struggling to cope, make sure to speak to your GP or health visitor, or visit the NHS website for information about resources that are available.