When I had my first baby at the age of 26, the sleep deprivation was something, somehow I was NOT prepared for! Despite all the advise I’d been given. ( The photo above was from 15 weeks ago when I had my third baby )
From the moment my little girl was born, Breastfeeding was quite tricky and frustrating as what ever I did I couldn’t get her to stay attached! I had lots of help from various staff on the maternity ward yet it was so tricky to get going, these difficulties I think added to the pure exhaustion early on. What I would come to realise is that it was a skill that I needed to learn as I hadn’t been a Mum before and she hadn’t been a baby before and I think that’s a great way to look at.
I finished work just two days before I was induced because of Pre-Eclampsia so barely had time to get my head around going from work mode to being a Mum. Once my little girl arrived I started noting every time she fed and everytime I woke up! The latter I wouldn’t advise.
I even kept the record of that sleep schedule on my phone to remind me in the future.
I remember feeling so tired that I could barely function, I don’t think I slept at all until she was about 14 days old. It was hard going and something that I wasn’t prepared for, For some reason I just thought I’d go home and go to sleep for 7 hours. Hilarious looking back now!
So what I learn’t by the second/third time round, was the following:
- Don’t record your awake times ( Record feeds if it helps, but if feeding is going well I wouldn’t worry )
- Use a swaddle with a zip up the middle like the ‘Love to Dream’ ones.
- Understand that newborns feed little and often because of their tiny tummy’s even more so with breast milk as it digests very quickly.
- Only change their nappy if full or a poo
- Put them to sleep in a crib next to you as soon as they are asleep sleep yourself even if you only get an hour it all add’s up and will help you the following day
- Get out and about in the fresh air
- Have a low dimmed light on all night ( I found this to help as could see what I was doing in the middle of the night )
- A little tip I saw on the internet was to place a warm hot water bottle in their cot, then remove allow to cool a little ( test with your own hand/ elbow ) when you feel it’s not hot lay the baby after a feed and I found this really helped my baby feel able to sleep.
- Rest/ sleep in the day if you can ( annoyingly I never could!)
- In advance of your baby’s arrival do a good food shop if you can and freeze meals or buy ready meals for when you are just too tired, if all else fails get a takeaway – you deserve it!
- Drink lots of fluid, water if you can it really helps with milk supply
- Eat regular meals and lots of snacks
- For me having a shower every morning really helped, especially as I found you sweat more post birth and if breastfeeding it’s nice to not smell of it ( again a personal thing ) Having a shower really made me feel better and far more awake.
- Another useful idea for night feeds is having a little area in your room with all the supplies you need for the night for me it was ( glass of water, cereal bar, changing mat, nappies, wipes or cotton wool and a change of clothes in case of a poo explosion )
Last of all, Remember this too shall pass and before you know it your little baby will start sleeping longer stretches.