The lack of sleep was probably the thing I found hardest when my first and then second baby came along. I thought I wouldn’t find it too bad as I’ve always been a bit of a insomniac but I was wrong!! However, with my kids now ages 2 and 5, I seem to survived relatively unscathed and these are things that worked for me whilst trying to cope with sleep deprivation.
Sleeping during the day: I found it did help to get some sleep during the day as and when I
could. This was much easier with my first child than my second child as most of the time I still had my first born to look after and entertain. However, on the rare occasions that I was at home alone with my second child as a baby and she slept – I slept!
Keep busy: I found if I was busy I didn’t feel as tired. Do things that you and your children will enjoy and will keep you busy during the day and not thinking about how tired you are! Examples of things I liked to do to keep busy included meeting friends, toddler groups, baby groups, visiting the library etc.
Occasional handover of night feeds: This could be an option for some. I breastfed so it was difficult for my husband to help with the night feeds. My first child would take a bottle of expressed breastmilk but it seemed like such a hassle to go and get the bottle and warm it up in the middle of the night when I could just get up and feed him instantly myself. But for a bottle fed baby, this could be an option if you think you could sleep through the baby waking and if you have someone willing to do it!
Time for yourself: People always say “sleep when your baby sleeps” and whilst as I have stated above, I think this is important, it is also important to make time for yourself. Don’t feel guilty about taking some time out when my baby sleeps to do something I enjoy or just to relax. Once my first born got into a bit or a routine and I knew he would probably sleep for a couple of hours at once in the day, I would split that time between some sleeping and some time doing something I enjoyed and couldn’t do when he was awake – read, watch some television etc.
Remember - It’s not forever!: As a first time mum I used to think that my baby was never going to sleep, second time round, I knew I would get through it and out the other side, at some point. Second time round, I regularly said to myself “it’s not forever”. There is nothing like a bit of positive thinking!