If you are anything like me, you knew you were going to be tired when you had a baby. So why does it hit us so hard when we feel the sleep deprivation in our bone marrow like no college all-nighter you have every felt?
What no one can prepare us for is the 90 all-nighters in a row and the only after-hours dance party that is happening is the one that it takes to get your little party animal to sleep.
Hang tight mamma, here are some tips to keep you going until you call me to get you some REAL sleep XO.
Forget About Sleeping When the Baby Sleeps
Well-intentioned friends will tell you to sleep when the baby sleeps, but we know better. Fresh babies take little cat naps ALL DAY (and night) and will wake you up just as you drift off. In fact, nap time may be the first time you have had two free hands that day and a moment to yourself.
Instead, use one of baby’s daytime snoozes to do something that makes you feel human again. Take a hot shower. Brush your teeth. Change into clean clothes, even if it’s just a fresh pair of yoga pants and a your fav t-shirt. Eat a hot (what?) meal using both of your hands. If you have older children, spend some one-on-one time with them.
Resist the Sugar Trap
It’s tempting to use sugary treats for an energy lift, but it’s a short-lived boost, and you’re just going to feel worse when it wears off.
Instead, choose nutritious, high-protein snacks that will leave you feeling full longer. This is especially true for nursing mothers who have high caloric needs, and even higher nutritional needs. Try some Greek yogurt with a little fresh fruit, or a (small) handful of raw almonds and fresh veggies. I had snack stations in my home so that while I was an open bar for my daughter I could at least have a snack in arms reach.
Remember that fatigue is a natural side-effect of sleep deprivation, but it’s also a common sign of dehydration. Leave full, reusable water bottles in all the places you normally sit, or where you stand and sway if yours is a baby who just won’t tolerate being put down.
Infuse Your Home With Essential Oils
It’s OK to indulge in the occasional cup of coffee, but essential oils can be just as effective. Cinnamon, cardamom, lemon, fennel and clove give you a boost, without keeping you awake when you finally are able to get some rest.
If you don’t have a diffuser, you can try adding a couple of drops of essential oil to a bath, or simmering along with some water in a pot in the kitchen.
Like all phases in parenting, this too shall pass. If you are out of the first few weeks of parenthood and nobody is sleeping, call me, will ya? There is no need to struggle alone.
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Sabrina Banadyga -