How to Survive Newborn Sleep Deprivation

Newborn baby crying

The first few months after welcoming your little bundle of joy into the world can be a really amazing time for both you and your family. However, having a newborn and adjusting to parenthood can be really tricky.

It can feel relentless, suffocating, and even daunting at times. Having a baby can be a huge lifestyle change. They’re totally dependent on you, and your baby will become the epicentre of your world.

It’s important to understand that this is normal and your feelings are valid.

Sleep deprivation is normal, but a ridiculously hard-hitting thing to go through. It’s important to look after yourself and be kind to yourself. I remember going to the doctor not long after having my first daughter thinking the worst was happening to me… it turns out I was suffering from sleep deprivation.

Here are some tricks and tips I was given...

Talk about it

Communication is key when it comes to raising a baby. Explain to your partner or support network that you’re feeling touched out or that it’s becoming too much for you.
Explain exactly how being a new parent is affecting you. A problem shared is a problem halved.
Use your support network to come up with a plan to tackle your sleep deprivation. It could be as simple as having the child looked after by a family member for a couple of hours during the day so you can catch up on some sleep. Every ounce of sleep helps!

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Create sleep associations
You can introduce calming sleep cues to your baby and help them to associate certain actions with sleep. This could be something as simple as holding your baby in a certain position whilst gently patting their bum, a baby massage, or reading a book in a certain chair. This sleep association will hopefully help get them off to sleep more quickly and easily. This will likely help later on too as they get a little older, to create a bedtime routine.

White noise
Some people turn their noses up at white noise, but it really can be a powerful tool. The noise itself is soothing and similar to what your baby will have heard in the womb.

If they’re finding it hard to settle I’d recommend downloading a white noise app and giving it a try. For transparency, it worked like a dream on my first daughter, my second for some reason hasn’t been too fussed. But for curing sleep deprivation, anything is always worth a try!

Sling sleeping
Your little one loves being close to you. As a mother, it’s all they’ve known for the last nine months. Being close to you will surely help them drift off to sleep more easily.  Letting your newborn sleep in a baby carrier or sling will allow them to cuddle into you, get cosy and fall asleep to your heartbeat. This means your hands will be free to get on with things, eat or even just rest! Rest is productive, especially when you’re sleep-deprived.

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Understand that newborns know nothing of routine

Everything your newborn baby does in the fourth trimester will be incredibly inconsistent. Some days they’ll sleep more during the day rather than at night. And other days it will be the other way around. Babies make no sense. They don’t develop a circadian rhythm (body clock) until around 8 weeks old so don’t be too hard on yourself if you’re wondering why your baby isn’t sleeping well. It’s still useful however to practice those sleep associations around this time to try and build on a nighttime routine.

Ditch the mum guilt & spend time alone

Having time alone to yourself,  just to breathe and be with your uninterrupted thoughts is crucial as a new parent. It’s crucial at any stage in parenthood. Split the parenting responsibilities and go for a walk, grab a coffee, or even treat yourself to a pedicure. Building on yourself and taking time out from parenting makes you a better parent! Say it louder for the people at the back!

The fourth trimester is the very beginning of your parenting journey. It’s a wild time! During this, you’ll learn so much about yourself as well as your new baby. Remember no matter how sleep-deprived and exhausted you feel, you’re never alone. There’s no shame in speaking out. And there’s absolutely no shame in speaking to your health visitor or GP - Take my word for it!

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Articles shown are a mixture of informative pieces, anecdotal accounts and professional advice from our panel of Bloggers, Writers and Experts. The views and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official view of this site.