8 helpful tips on how to cope with sleep deprivation for new parents
Here are eight techniques to help you function with little to no sleep and survive the first few weeks of being a new parent
All parents know this. Once you welcome your little one, a good night's sleep will become a precious, distant memory.
But there are ways to overcome (or at least simply live with) this universal parental struggle.
Here are eight helpful tips to help you survive the first few weeks as a new mummy or daddy.
1. Change your sleep pattern constantly.
New parents need to adapt to their newborn's changing needs. Get sleep in between feedings, and changings by embracing the fact that the sleep pattern you were used to is now non-existent.
2. Ask for help when needed; there's no shame in it!
Another parent can be a treasure trove of wisdom. If you need a couple of hours to yourself, ask your parents or in-laws if they can watch over your precious one so you can just regroup.
3. Your partner is your ally; divide and conquer.
Throughout the night and daytime, you will need to feed, burp, bathe, and change diapers. Not to mention calm your crying newborn for a variety of reasons.
This is too much for one person. So make your partner your team mate and strategise your best plays. If you're a solo parent, number 2 also applies.
4. Build yourselves a "Sleep Zone"
He says that you and your partner should take advantage of every window of opportunity for sleep throughout the day (within reason, of course. You don't want to be caught snoozing at an important meeting!).
Invest in a good eye mask to catch some Zs during the day. It also helps to have plenty of water, earplugs, comfy pillows and blankets at the ready.
Avoid using your smartphone or laptop in bed because the screen's blue light messes with your precious sleep cycle.
5. Just say no to drugs and alcohol
Alcohol intake makes it more challenging for you to fall asleep. It doesn't really help you 'wind down', but it keeps you wired.
Try substituting this with water or tea. Stay hydrated; it's very important!
6. The dirt on diapers
Even if you decide to stock up, it seems it'll never be enough. Don't get frustrated. You're not alone.
You should learn how to change diapers in less than 20 seconds. Practice won't be a problem. You'll probably have to do it 99,000 times.
It also helps to have a checklist near the changing table in case you miss anything!
7. Do not operate heavy machinery
Sleep deprivation becomes dangerous when it interferes with your response times, judgment, and depth perception.
So be careful when driving a car or when chopping vegetables. Losing fingers is not an option!
8. Above all, stay positive
As your baby grows, things will get better. But, as a parent, there will always be bouts of sleep deprivation. When your kid becomes a teen, then you'll wait up for them.
Or when you wait for them to call and tell you they're okay.
The struggles may be many but the rewards far outweigh them all. So try your best not only to stay awake but to cherish every moment.