This is a collaborative post and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of this author of this blog.
Every forum, every article, and every new Mom talks about how hard it is to have a baby and deal with sleep deprivation. No matter where you look, there are guides for a new Mom and how she can catch up with sleep during the day because, at night time, she’s breastfeeding and not sleeping very much at all. Here’s the thing: everyone forgets about Dad. If you are the sort of man who believes that you’ve experienced fatigue because of the latest stag do, you are very sorely mistaken.
Dad’s may have ineffectual nipples that the baby doesn’t want, and Dad may have a job to get to the next day, but that doesn’t mean he is getting any sleep. When the baby is crying, Dad can hear him, too. Despite the jokes and the ribbing, a Dad who is stepping up is getting little sleep with a new baby in the house, and he can’t catch up with his sleep in the day in the same way Mom can – well, maybe she doesn’t catch up, but at least she has the option! Not every Dad gets up in the night to help Mom with the baby, but those that do know that the night time diaper changes when the latest poop explosion hits happen more than once, making sleep very broken through the night. The thing is, babies just don’t sleep for long periods until much later in their little lives. Trying to keep up with a baby who doesn’t sleep through the night isn’t the easiest thing to cope with, and despite the multitude of baby swings that are recommended on theburpcloth.com, you may not find anything that works for you.
Sleep deprivation has historically been used as a form of torture in wartime, and as a new parent, you’ll be forgiven for believing that this brand new pink bundle in your life is a miniature dictator putting you through your paces. To be a good parent, though, means that you need to take care of yourself and that requires you getting a good night of sleep. There isn’t much that you can do about the baby waking up through the night, that’s just what babies do. But there are things that you can do so that when you do finally head to bed, you sleep well.
Ditch The Caffeine.
Okay, so this is the most counterproductive thing for a parent to do. Caffeine is mainlined when you have a baby in the house, because of the sheer lack of sleep. It’s tempting to look through your diet and substitute pretty much…everything for coffee when you’re in the middle of a diaper change at 2 am. But that’s a bad idea. Think of caffeine like a loan; if you throw back cups of coffee one night, the absence of caffeine the next night means your body will crash and you will be dropping that next night of sleep. Try to enjoy your coffee before lunchtime but after mid-morning, so that it gets you through the day but is out of your system before the night shift with the baby.
Go Natural For The Night
Getting a good sleep means that you have to substitute caffeine for other things. Caffeine keeps you up, but valerian tea bags can help to keep you rested. Getting a natural remedy down you before bed can mean that between those waking moments, your body is resting properly. Warm milk and natural honey is a
wonderful way to unwind and relax your body, as milk contains sleep-inducing acids. Serotonin tablets like these can help to encourage your body to relax into sleep, as well.
Avoid Carbs Before Bed
One of the best things that you can do for your physique as well as your health is to avoid stodgy food before bedtime. Avoiding carb-loaded foods and comfort food at night can help you to avoid that unnatural sugar high that comes with it and also helps you avoid the Dad-bod.
Unplug In The Bedroom
It can be tempting to stare at your phone when you can’t sleep at night, but if you do that, you are going to fall victim to blue-light technology and find it harder to get back to sleep. If there was ever a good time to stop staring at your phone or tablet at bedtime, it’s when you have a baby in the house. Your sleep is important, and you need to leave the tech outside the bedroom if you hope to fall asleep easily. The blue light from your phone can slow down the way your body produces melatonin. Melatonin tells your brain that it’s time for bed; so you need that stuff!
Routine: It Ain’t Just For Babies
It’s hard to have a routine as an adult. Work hours can overrun, the game you’ve been dying to watch runs over the finishing time, and sometimes your downtime takes longer than you imagine it will. The last thing that you’ll be thinking about at 3 am is that if you had a better routine, perhaps you’d get a semblance of sleep at night. Making an effort to head to bed at the same time each night is important, especially if your baby is waking at similar times throughout the night. You need to create good habits for yourself, and sleep should be a habit that you can stick to.
Deal With It
Okay, so that reads a little harsh, but honestly if you’re not making the most of the chances that you DO get to go to sleep, then you have to kind of deal with the times you’re struggling without it. Insomnia is hard, but foregoing overtime to get in a little bit of sleep is going to change your life! If you can’t get back to sleep once you’ve woken up, make a warm drink and try again.
Dad, you deserve a solid sleep just as much as Mom, and you need to take the opportunity to do it while you can. And try not to complain – she’s tired, too!