A number of friends and familiy have been having babies and one of the most common things I hear is about lack of sleep.
Now it's not uncommon for new mums to be a bit irate at husbands who seem to complain about being tired when the mothers are doing all the work. However, I also hear about the opposite where the dad is up feeding the baby at night but mum is still being woken up and they're not having a good rest.
I am a fortunate person that I don't need much sleep, but that doesn't mean I don't need ANY sleep. But even with a new baby there was a way where we could work something out so that we both weren't tired and cranky all the time.
1. Only one person needs to suffer from lack of sleep
I find it rather selfish that women who are staying at home looking after the baby expect husbands to work AND get a lousy night's sleep. After all, someone has to go out and earn money so we can buy all the things we need - maternity pay only gets you so far (that is, if you are eligible for it).
I breastfed my babies for 6 months, and if I was going to do the feeding, I would take the baby to another room and go sleep there so hubby could get some sleep and function during the day. However, I need a bit of quiet time too! So on Friday and Saturday nights, I would have my turn to get good night sleeps and hubby would do look after the baby from 11pm till 6am (and do that 2-3am feed).
If you truly want to sleep, then your baby will have to get used to the bottle. Men don't have boobs to feed babies, so express some milk that dad can use or have a baby formula feed for that one time so you can get some sleep. What if the baby doesn't take to the bottle? Well, get ready for no sleep then - if you really want this to work, you have to train your baby! Guys tend to be overwhelmed by a baby crying who is clearly hungry and so the easiest thing is to give the bub back to mum for some boob time, but I think persistence is key, and you as the mother have to be on board with that and encouraging.
2. Don't let them sleep too much during the day
Newborns sleep A LOT. Like, 16-18 hours a day! But it's not all in one go, but in spurts after feeds. One of the biggest mistakes, I think, is to let your baby sleep a lot during the day, thinking that you are getting lots of time to yourself.
That's probably ok if you are going to sleep during the day too. However, that's rarely the case. Usually you spend the day doing chores or relaxing, rather than sleeping or napping. Then you are complaining because the baby is up all night sleeping only 1 hour spurts at a time - which is what you want them to be doing during the day an having that 4 hour sleep at night.
It is tempting to just let a sleeping baby lie, but I think it's better to wake up your baby if they are sleeping too long in the day. Personally, 1.5 hours is when I would start to wake them up and then try to get them to sleep at night because they would be cranky as by the end of the day with interrupted sleep.
3. Power napping
I highly recommend napping when baby is napping. Even if you're not sleeping, just closing your eyes and resting can be quite beneficial. Don't worry if you don't sleep, because that anxiety actually leads you to even LESS sleep. Just close your eyes and meditate or think calm thoughts.
4. Don't drink caffeine
It sounds pretty obvious, but it is easy to forget when you are used to being able to drink whatever you wanted!
I was an absolute idiot because I was drinking diet coke when breastfeeding and wondering why baby never slept much. Once I stopped doing that, baby slept so much better! I felt very silly. So if you're breastfeeding, think about that coffee you're having. You might need it, but baby won't be thanking you for it! I found chocolate an acceptable alternative and cups of tea. Still need to keep those fluids up to keep the milk going!
Good luck with your baby and your sleep! You will be tired, but hopefully you'll find your routine, and hopefully some of these little tips have helped.