So since I’m against Cry It Out methods and I have a baby that really doesn’t like to sleep I have spent the last 8 nearly 9 months on very little sleep.
Not only have I adjusted to it, I’m actually functioning pretty well. This is a surprise because pre-Sidekick I had to have my eight hours otherwise I was a grumpy monster. Motherhood changes ya!
One thing I quickly learnt was how to live on the sleep I was getting.
Here are some things I have learnt about surviving and living on very little sleep.
Improve the sleep you do get
Until a couple of months ago, I can’t remember exactly, I would try everything to keep Sidekick asleep in her crib. Her designated space. The result? Me spending a lot of the night getting up to rock her back to sleep or try to sleep through the ongoing kicking which was seriously loud.
Then one night I put her in bed with me, I didn’t sleep but she did and it was the start of me being a reluctant bed sharer.
The thing is now, when she wakes up after her first sleep she just comes into bed with me and Hubby goes into the spare room. The result is we all get better sleep. Yes mine is still very broken but because she’s in bed with me I can feed her easier, she has more room for her night time crawling (can’t wait for that to stop) and I sleep.
So do what you need to do to improve your sleep. If that’s bed sharing, great, if its spending a couple hours in another room whilst your partner takes a shift, fine. Just improve in the sleep you are getting.
Mind over Matter
Try not to think about the sleep you haven’t had. Stop looking at the clock in the night and just go with it. If you focus on the little sleep you have had you are straight away putting yourself in a negative frame of mind.
If you’ve got other mums saying how great their baby is sleeping, good for them. It is completely normal for your baby to wake up, there is nothing wrong with your baby or your parenting skills. Your baby just needs more at this stage in their life.
I know this is hard to do. I still have nights when I think ‘seriously’ but then I take a breath and I look down on my sleepy one and I think how magical the moment is. In that moment it’s like we are the only ones awake in the whole world. Sidekick is warm and soft and I am their loving her with everything I am. It’s magic. Exhausting yes but still magic.
Body movin’, body groovin’
So you feel like death, all you want to do is curl up into a ball and sleep. It’s not possible though so what you need to do is get the blood pumping and the energy going. The best way is to move the body.
Don’t linger in bed, yes I know its warm and comfy but you’ll feel worse for it. You need to throw off the covers and move. I’m not saying go for a run (but you can if you want to), I simply mean do something to get the heart beating a little bit. So stretch, do a couple of start jumps. Just move.
Jump in the shower, not too warm and be quick, use it as a wake up all. Get some citrus smelling shower gels, something fresh and zingy.
Stay hydrated. Drink lots and lots of water. Add some lemon to give it a bit of zest.
If you do drink caffeine you are better drinking tea than coffee as its a slower release of caffeine
You generally want to comfort eat when tired, carbohydrates give you that nice full feeling.
You need energy boosters and I don’t mean lots of sugar, I mean things high in protein, meat, fish, beans, cheese etc. Eat fruit and veggies.
All these will help you get going. Also eat little and often where possible.
Prioritise your day
Figure out what really needs to happen on a given day.
Identify the things that need to be done, not should be done to would be nice to but things that really need to happen
It could just be something as put a load of laundry in because you have run out of knickers.
Then do them in the morning when you have the most energy.
I don’t say sleep as I think that whole sleep when baby sleeps is near darn impossible especially when you have a firecracker baby! So rest.
This means just slowing down and being still.
Pretty often Hubby will come home to find me lying on the floor as Sidekick happily climbs over me, on me, sits on me. I’m resting but I’m still there enough to look after Sidekick.
If your baby is asleep on you, listen to a podcast or an audiobook. Just be still recharge a little.
So how do you cope with little sleep? Have you got a wakeup routine?