Parenthood Under the Influence – Sleep Deprivation


You think I didn’t notice, that I’m totally oblivious to what I’ve done. Well, I’m not. It took me awhile, but I caught on. Yes, in the month of February I wrote two blog entries on the exact same topic. I did notice. After I wrote and published the second one. For those of you who read regularly, you may have realized that on February 6th, I did an entry called Veggin’ Out with Baby Food. Then on February 21st I wrote Beating the Baby Food Doldrums. Same topic, different words. But I didn’t even notice until I was looking at previous posts to make some adjustments. I reread the first entry, but I barely remembered writing it. Why? Sleep deprivation.

Parents of babies very rarely escape being denied a full eight hours of sleep. Some parents can’t get a full night’s sleep even up to baby’s second year! So what the heck do we do, sleepy moms and dads? Hang up our sleeping caps until Junior graduates? Possibly so. But at least there are a few tips to get us through the first stages of babyhood.

Sleep when baby sleeps. A load of diaper doo, right? We’ve all heard that one, and if you’re a working mom, that one is virtually impossible. But it can at least be done on the weekends. Saturdays are a great time to nap in shifts. Take turns with your husband and hole up in the bedroom, without the (gasp) baby monitor! Let the other parent sit with baby while you get some much-needed rest. When you’re done, switch off. Now everyone’s rested, at least for an afternoon.

If you’re up a lot with baby in the wee hours, make sure you’ve got a very comfortable setup. In my baby’s room is a rocking chair with a Boppy pillow and a footstool, a side table with some books, a lamp on a dimmer switch, and a glass of water. If my son wakes up in the night and I have to nurse him, I at least have comfortable surroundings. I still don’t get sleep, but since I keep comfortable, it’s easier for me to doze back off once I get back to bed.

If you nurse, drink some chamomile tea about an hour before baby’s last feeding for the day. You’ll calm down, and the effects of the tea will pass to baby, aiding in a deeper sleep for him or her.

There’s no magic solution to getting a full-night’s sleep when baby doesn’t want to, but at least there are little ideas here and there to help out. In the meantime, think of all the great stories you’re saving up. You can tell people how you diapered the wrong end or how you (oops) burned a pot of beans that stunk up the neighborhood when you had to leave them on the deck to cool. Or how you wrote nearly the same blog entry twice (sorry). And when your little one grows up, has a baby, and becomes sleep deprived, you can have a nice laugh.

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