TIP 5 – Keep on Communicating With Your Partner
- Living long term with sleep deprivation can be a serious strain on your relationship and we were no exception. Tempers were often short as well as patience, with so much of our energy put into looking after baby and just trying to make the most of the day that it was easy to get into bad patterns of not really talking and not bothering to connect. Thing is, I couldn’t have gotten through all of this without my husband. At times, he felt completely useless and sometimes he was simply spent but I knew he was there for me, my biggest support and the love of my life. The single biggest thing that kept us going was to keep our lines of communication open. Even if it was the briefest of interactions, we tried to make sure the other knew we still loved them and at the end of this all, we’d get some more time for us. We also started walking in the evening after bub’s bath. This got me out of a darkened room settling the baby and it got him off the couch. We got to talk. I finally knew what was going on in his world again. He knew when I was nearing the end of my tether or if I was coasting long well.
- Also keep communicating if your parenting styles don’t seem to match up. We all come from different backgrounds with different temperaments at play. Listen to each other and share your reasons for wanting to try or not try certain parenting choices with your kids. We have to work at this constantly. It’s not always easy to agree but at least by talking openly we know where we are both coming from.
TIP 6 – Venting
- Oh yes, venting is essential. A good cry in the shower, to your partner, your mum or a friend can be all that you need to get going again. I would never ever do Cry It Out with my babies but sometimes for me, this is exactly what I need (although a cuddle and a bit of understanding from someone else helps too).
- Big part of this tip though is to pick your target or else you are bound to get inundated with bad advice or made to feel as though it is what you have been doing that is the reason you have a wakeful baby. From very early on, put your feelers out and find those you can trust to support, encourage and listen to you. They are your venting buddies. For the rest, I suggest if your baby’s sleep comes up, change the topic after saying he/ she is sleeping like a baby. If no one in your real life can offer a safe space to vent, look for like minded groups online for support.
From very early on, put your feelers out and find those you can trust to support, encourage and listen to you. They are your venting buddies.
TIP 7 – Bedsharing
- Bedsharing actually changed my whole mothering experience. After 6 months of getting up multiple times a night for ridiculous amounts of time I was so bone tired I’d often have to call to my husband to lift the baby to the cot because my arms simply wouldn’t lift. Simply carrying my baby to the spare bed, popping out a boob and settling back while he did his thing with very little else needed from me, I was sooooo much more rested. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t always comfortable and some nights he was still awfully hard to settle but I could stay drowsy. I didn’t need to wake right up. I just went through the motions.
- Bedsharing for us isn’t always pretty. Some nights, my husband and I cop feet to the head and get pushed to the very edge or a toddler lying on our chest. It is not always peaceful but for us it is by far the best option for meeting our needs and our motto, ‘Whatever gets the most people in our house the most sleep tonight’ (Sweet Sleep, La Leche League).
- A King sized mattress on the floor is great for space and peace of mind knowing that no one can fall and hurt themselves.
- And of course please, investigate safe bedsharing arrangements if you intend to start. The Safe Sleep 7 is a great place to begin.