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coping with sleep deprevation

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Friday, January 21, 2011

coping with sleep deprevation

I wrote this yesterday but this is the first chance I've had to publish it. Alexis did actually sleep well last night. Yay!

There seems to be times when my baby just doesn't want to sleep much, during the night or during the day. These periods can last up to a week at times and they can be exhausting.  I try as much as I can to get her to sleep, but sometimes when it all gets too much, I don't have the energy to argue with her and it seems easier to just let her play some more. She can't stay awake forever, right? Here are some ways I have discovered to help me deal with the days when I've had little or extremely broken sleep the night before and am not feeling so crash hot.

  • call for backup (parents, grandparents, siblings, friends). Either ask them to  come over or just to talk to baby on the phone for awhile while I catch my breath. I don't drive if I'm tired, its just not worth the risk. If that is not an option:
  • stay away from caffeine unless absolutely necessary. Caffeine passes through breastmilk making bub more irritable. It also only lasts a little while, causing me to crash harder when it wears off. The same can be said for lollies. 
  •  if I do need an immediate pick me up fruit is a much better idea than lollies. 
  • tv. I don't like to rely on tv, but if it keeps alexis occupied so I can make a sandwich or grab some fruit its easier than trying to carry her around with me (or listening to her cry! When I'm tired I get bad headaches). 
  • Sometimes I put educational shows or music on for an easy activity. Rather than just leaving Alexis there I cuddle her and sing along or do the actions 
  • lie on the floor while she climbs me
  • cuddles on the big bed. If she gets restless keep her busy by tickling her or moving her limbs etc. the aim is to keep baby active without me having to do much. I found this is a  good one for us because Alexis often doesn't sleep well when is constipated and for some reason moving around helps her get the poop out
  • Bring out new toys or toys that she hasn't played with for awhile. New ' toys' don't need to be expensive, she can get a good half an hour's fun playing with toilet paper or a box of tissues or a sealed container of nuts or rice.
  • pile her toys or safe household objects into big plastic tubs or containers or cardboard boxes and watch her pull them out. Nappy boxes work well as she loves the  bright colours and characters on the box 
  • books, books, and more books. Sit and cuddle her
  • just watch her as she explores. This works best if the area is already baby-proofed, because over-tired babies are  stubborn and don't like having things taken off them. 
  • extra breastfeeds. Let's face it, sometimes it's the only way to keep her still and let me rest for a  few minutes.
  • forget the housework. Focus on Alexis and give her lots of attention, kisses and cuddles as much as possible incase she is staying awake  to separation anxiety.
  • when the baby does finally fall asleep, rest! Take the phone off the hook. Try to nap but if bub won't let me put her down (keeps waking) I just cuddle her as she sleeps. At least I can get a break. I like to close my eyes to give my brain a rest from visual input.
  • ride it out and suck it up. Remember that its only a phase. Try to not get stressed. Babies pick up on stress, making it harder to get them to sleep.
  • Try not to pounce on hubby as soon as he gets home, because if he's been woken up a few times the night before he's likely to be tired (and cranky) too 
  • but do explain that I need a break so ask  whenever possible can he deal with her for awhile?
  • Keep bedtime routine normal and try again. She will hopefully sleep better tonight. If not, let hubby sleep and try calling for back up again in the morning.

Days like these are easier to manage if the house is baby proofed and tidy ish because then I can let her crawl around exploring and know she is safe. She is old enough and smart enough to  come to me when she needs me. I also try to always have  some have pre-made meals in the freezer especially for days like this.

Am I alone? Does anyone else have  a baby that just doesn't stop? How do you cope? I'd love to hear your story and any tips you might have.

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