By Danielle Facey
I remember reading blogs, books & posts one after the other, desperately searching for a way to make my son sleep: a) independently & b) for longer stretches without compromising my beliefs. I hadn’t known in the early months that my parenting style was rooted in gentle & attachment parenting philosophies, but even after discovering this, I still couldn’t shake the feeling that I simply couldn’t cope on such little, broken sleep for much longer. Something had to change.
My number one tip is probably the most impactful but is likely to be the least popular…acceptance. Yup, I said it, acceptance is the single greatest and most positive thing that has changed in my life & that has helped me to cope with as little as 3-4 hours of (broken!?) sleep a night at times. I don’t simply mean that you should accept your child’s wakefulness and do nothing to help your circumstances. Do accept that your child may not be a solid sleeper right now, but there are things that you can do in the meantime to help your body & mind to get as much rest as possible. These include:
1. Never Clock Watch
Never. I repeat, never ever look at the clock when your little one wakes up overnight. It won’t benefit you in any way & if you’re anything like me, it will rob you of even more sleep as you clock watch, wondering if you will ever get back to sleep before your little one wakes up again.
2. Stay Hydrated
It makes a massive difference to your body and mind if you are properly hydrated, although you may be sleep deprived. I’ve gotten into the habit of having a pint of water beside my bed each night, ready to drink first thing in the morning before I get up. This small change makes a real difference to the brain fog that clouds my head the morning after a challenging night.
3. Forget the Household Chores
Forget anything non-essential that doesn’t facilitate you finding opportunities to rest & bond with your baby. If you live with someone, talk to them about how whilst you’re on night duty, you are going to need help to take care of everything else in the home. It won’t be this way forever, but right now it’s what you need.
If you live alone, ask your friends and family to help out. Be kind to yourself by putting the pile of laundry out of sight so that it isn’t a constant reminder of everything you think you should be doing. Repeat outfits before you wash them wherever possible and if cooking from scratch is exhausting, don’t do it. Ask loved ones to cook for you once a week and forgive yourself for eating more sandwiches and ready meals than you might choose otherwise. Take a breastfeeding multivitamin and add fresh veg and salad to take-aways to make them more nutritious.