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Baby

      Parental sleep deprivation

      newborn-cardigan-sleep

      Parental sleep deprivation

       

       

      I'm Leanne Fraser, a certified Sleep Consultant for babies and young children. 

      Every day I coach and support families to get better sleep for their child, and for themselves. Sleep is a basic human need, we can't function without it- I'm a Mum myself I know exactly how it feels to be exhausted! 

      My approach is completely non-judgmental- if what you are doing is working then there's no need to change it, but please know that if your sleep situation is un-manageable then there is help available. 

      Leanne Fraser

       

      Support for sleep deprived parents

      The 4th trimester

      The first few months following birth can be a huge adjustment for both baby and parent. Your baby has been inside the womb for 9 months and now has to get used to a sensory overload and as a new parent you have been eagerly awaiting meeting your little one on the outside world.

      If you are a first time parent it may feel especially daunting and hard to comprehend how on earth you are going to manage and how to overcome tiredness, but every day you will be learning more and more about each other and things will eventually fall into place- including sleep.

      This sounds all very logical, but as a new parent it can understandably turn your world upside down and the sleep deprivation may be very difficult to cope with. Emotionally, it can be a rollercoaster and that’s ok and normal. If these feelings persist and feel beyond your control, then know there is help out there, starting with your GP, Health Visitor or via helplines and charities.

      Self-care

      Self- care is so important, not just in the early days but throughout parenthood too. Can you honestly say you look after yourself as well as your child?

      Rest when you can- it’s very easy to say sleep when baby sleeps, but you may not want to spend your only alone time sleeping! At least try to rest in some way, watch a bit of T.V or reading a book. Try to avoid blitzing the house every time baby naps, it’s not top of the priority list just now, and that’s ok -cleaning is not self- care!

      Fresh air. Eat well, but eat the ‘bad’ stuff too when you need to. Exercise when ready but without feeling pressured, listen to your body.

      Self-care is about giving your baby the best of you, instead of what is left of you. Remember to be kind to yourself.

      Connect with others

      Sharing your experiences with others can help you to feel you are not alone and to normalise what you are experiencing. It’s very likely other families are going through the same things and more, coping with sleep deprivation will likely be top of the list!

      Going to a baby class helps but some routine and structure to your day and to meet others. There are plenty of online support groups available too if getting out the house feels too difficult.

      If you didn’t attend any antenatal classes, there are apps available that can help you connect to other local parents.

      Ask for help

      Don’t be ashamed to ask for help. You have not failed. Be brave enough to reach out and you will find plenty of people willing. Family, friends, GP, for example or experts such as Sleep consultant or a Lactation consultant will be able to help you with how to get a better night sleep.

      Share the load. Your partner may be tired too from broken sleep and working during the day, so make sure you communicate with each other so you can be aware of each other’s feelings.

      Difficulties with sleep in children can go beyond the baby stage, but please know it doesn’t have to be this way and it’s never late to find out how to get more sleep. Help is out there!

      Acceptance

      Accept that not every day will be perfect and that tomorrow is a new one. You are new at this job whether it’s your first child or third!

      Your baby crying is normal. Your tears are also normal. Mum guilt is normal. Not feeling like getting dressed today? Normal!

      Stay in your lane

      When sleep deprived it can be hard to find the headspace to make decisions and your judgment may be clouded by lots of information and opinion.

      Make informed decisions that are right for your family by talking them through with your partner or friend.

      There’s a view and a decision to be made on almost every aspect of parenting-sleeping, feeding, discipline. You are an individual and so is your baby. You are also the only expert/s of your child.

      Know it will pass

      Sleep deprivation because of baby is no mean feat, but know it will pass, and it will all be ok. People may say, ‘enjoy these moments they don’t last, but it’s ok to feel like you can’t wait for them to be over.

      Being a parent is never easy and it sure is a rollercoaster.

      To the world you may just be a parent, but to your child you are the world.

       

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      Ready to stop worrying about what other people think and do what feels right to you? We’ll give you the support you need to follow your instincts and enjoy parenthood to the max:

      *Weaning is recommended at around 6 months. Please speak with a healthcare professional before introducing solid foods.

      Join the club

      Ready to stop worrying about what other people think and do what feels right to you? We’ll give you the support you need to follow your instincts and enjoy parenthood to the max:

      Helpful emails
      Non-judgemental support
      Free weaning plan*
      Tips from real parents

      *Weaning is recommended at around 6 months. Please speak with a healthcare professional before introducing solid foods.

       

      More from baby

      Important notice:

      Breastfeeding is best for babies and provides many benefits. It is important that, in preparation for and during breastfeeding, you eat a varied, balanced diet. Combined breast and bottle feeding in the first weeks of life may reduce the supply of your own breastmilk, and reversing the decision not to breastfeed is difficult. The social and financial implications of using an infant formula should be considered. Improper use of an infant formula or inappropriate foods or feeding methods may present a health hazard. If you use an infant formula, you should follow manufacturer’s instructions for use carefully – failure to follow the instructions may make your baby ill. Always consult your doctor, midwife or health visitor for advice about feeding your baby.