For most people parenthood comes with many things in one package. Part of it is the exhaustion that comes from sleep deprivation. Some babies can sleep the whole day and spend the night awake and or crying. While some might not stay awake or cry through the night, they wake up every 2 to 3 hours to feed. This period can be stressful for both mother and father. People often forget that the father undergoes sleep deprivation like the mother. Here are tips to help both father and mother cope with sleep deprivation.
Take turns in the night:
If you are bottle-feeding your baby, you both should take turns to feed the baby and if you are breastfeeding, the mother can express milk into the bottle for the father to feed the baby while she gets some rest and she breastfeeds when it’s her turn so that the father can get some rest. The father can also help soothe and pacify the baby to enable the mother to grab more rest.
Sleep when the baby is sleeping:
This is one of the underrated advice. You ask, “who will do my house chores, wash the baby’s clothes?” My work is easier to do while the baby is asleep and the father is at work. Mother dearest, close your eyes to those chores because there is no end to house chores. Your baby sleeps several times in the early days of birth. Take some of those sleep times and get some sleep. Your partner and yourself can do the little some of the chores when he or she is around.
Don’t be ashamed to ask for help:
Ask for help from family members or friends who come visiting. Ask them to help hold your baby while you take a nap, to help you with some house chores or grocery shopping so you and baby can sleep at the same time.
Understand your baby:
Your baby might not be sleeping through the night due to certain discomfort which if you discover would allow you and your baby sleep through the night. I discovered my daughter didn’t sleep comfortably in diapers when she was between 4 weeks to 6 months. When I remove the diapers, she slept longer and she preferred sleeping with standing fan to ceiling fan or air condition. We became parents that slept almost all through the night. Some babies don’t like to be wrapped or covered from head to toe, many are sensitive to heat and these could make them fuzzy all night.
Avoid sharing a bed:
This might look like a good solution at the moment when the need to frequently breastfeed your baby arises but it will become a long term problem. Your baby will learn to fall asleep on his or her when they sleep alone. As they grow accustomed to sleeping with you, it becomes difficult to learn to fall asleep by themselves.
Music could help:
Most times babies love music. Playing soft music or lullaby could help your baby sleep longer and enable you to get good sleep.
The exhaustion or fatigue that comes from sleep deprivation as new parents is not something to be joked with. It limits your function and could take a toll on your health especially for first-time parents who are inexperienced. Good news is that this phase will soon pass.