Sleep, remember that?

 
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Newborns don’t have any idea whether it’s night or day, much less that their parents need to sleep longer than one or two hours at a stretch. A newborn baby gets the sleep they need – but not necessarily when it suits their parents.

 

Lack of sleep is one of the most common complaints for parents with babies. Being sleep deprived frazzles minds, can make parents feel crabby and miserable, and makes life feel more difficult.

One up-side about sleeplessness, it is that you can be assured that it won’t go on forever. Your baby will eventually learn to sleep for long enough at a time for you to get rested, too.

There’ll be plenty of times when you’ll have to be “on” when you’re knackered and don’t feel like you can possibly be ”on”. Sleep deprivation can be the hardest part of a new baby.

 

Tip: try to sleep whenever you can

 

  • Catch up on sleep every opportunity you get

  • Cat-nap whenever

  • Earplugs may help

  • Catch a few zzz’s with the baby lying on your chest on the couch – you might put each other to sleep

Everybody's tired but nobody's sleeping

 
 
 

Don’t think that because your partner has been home all day with the baby, that she is going to be more rested than you are after your day at work. Babies are hard work. Whoever is looking after them must stay alert and ready every moment.

 

People may assume that a at-home parent can sleep when the baby is sleeping. The person looking after a baby often finds that they they spend the whole time getting ready for the baby to wake up! That's not bad management, that's just how it is.

Most full-time dads agree that being at home with the baby is harder than going off to work. If you are the one leaving the house and going to paid work, expecting your partner to look after the baby plus keep the house tidy and put dinner on the table is just unrealistic.

 

Your sleep and your partner’s sleep

 

Not getting enough sleep impairs our judgment and can affect our mental health, our relationships and even our ability to like our baby. Both parents getting enough sleep (even though that may be less than you would like) so the family can function, is critical for the baby’s well being.

  • Dads and mums need to make sacrifices so that each gets enough sleep

  • Dads need to do their share of the night time caring, even if they are in paid work

 

Keeping things sweet

 

Sleep deprivation is hard on people and parents may find it difficult to be nice to each other when you are exhausted. Apologising and being forgiving of each other after you’ve been snappy or grumpy can go a long way in helping you feel like you’re in this together and keep resentment from building up.

The good news is that babies are always changing. What is difficult and seems unmanageable now will be history in a week or a month. What may have seemed intolerable will become a stage you’ll hardly remember. Nothing about a baby stays the same for long, even not sleeping difficulties. You’ll get through this: billions of parents have. One day the miracle happens: the baby who "never slept," does sleep.