How I Survived the Night Feedsby Emma Longden
One of the hardest things I found when the children were newborn was coping with the sleep deprivation that is pretty much inevitable for the first few months of being a parent. I combination fed my eldest, but breastfed my younger two, and this definitely made it feel like I was shouldering the burden single-handedly a lot when it came to the night feeds. These are my tips for surviving those red-eye initial weeks and months.
I found that knowing roughly at what times the baby would be waking up for a feed really helped me to prepare for the night ahead. I kept track of the feeds for a few days and started noticing a pattern and went from there. Knowing how much sleep you will likely get, and at what times you will be waking up helped me to feel more in control. It also helped me to plan the days, factoring in as many naps as I could manage in those tough first days.
[Read more: Baby Sleeping Tips for Tired New Parents]
Netflix is Your Friend
Find plenty of shows you want to watch, add them to your watch list, and work your way through them during feeds, to distract you and keep you awake. I highly recommend The Good Place, Dead to Me and Dirty John for TV that will keep you hooked.
All the Snacks
If there was one silver lining with the night feeds, it was having an excuse to ‘keep my energy levels up’ with plenty of snacks. I particularly loved chocolate biscuits - less crunchy than crisps and less messy than chocolate.
Social Media gets a bad rep, but I loved logging on and finding other people who were up at all hours of the night, whether they were fellow feeding parents or just those in a different timezone, it made me feel a lot less lonely in those early days. As a blogger, it also meant I was able to get posts written and scheduled in advance, leaving time to sleep when the baby did during the day.
[Read more: Breastfeeding has Nearly Bankrupt Me]
Ask for Support
If you have a partner, ask them for support in whatever way they can give it. If you are breastfeeding, they might not be able to physically feed the baby, but they can still comfort them afterwards, provide moral support, and bring you breakfast in bed after sleepless nights. You may think it is obvious, but they may not realise how tough you are finding it, or how they can help make it easier unless you tell them. Open up and share the burden. If you are really struggling, don’t be afraid or ashamed to ask for help or advice from healthcare professionals. It doesn’t make you any less of a mother.