Everyone knows that being the parent of a baby comes with a certain amount of sleep deprivation, especially in the beginning. But until you’re actually in it, it can be hard to predict just how much sleep deprivation you will experience—and most importantly, what it will feel like or how you will manage.
Some babies seem to sleep like angels from the beginning and others, not so much. If you are one of the unlucky ones, know that you are not alone. Yes, it’s normal to be as ridiculously tired as you feel. Yes, it will pass. And yes, you will get through it.
All that said, sleep deprivation isn’t just something you should “grin and bear.” Sometimes being sleep deprived can make you feel downright awful, and it can make it very difficult to function and be the parent you want to be.
If you’re looking for ways to survive sleep deprivation—and maybe even find some ways to catch some extra shut-eye—we’ve got you covered. Here’s how to survive sleep deprivation.
How Parents Can Get More Sleep
While it’s true that sleep deprivation is basically a fact of life—especially when you have a brand new baby at home—that doesn’t mean that there aren’t things you can do the maximize the chances that you will get enough sleep, or at least close to enough. It takes a little planning, creativity, and support from others, but it can be done.
Sleep When the Baby Sleeps
Many parents feel the need to get things done at this time or take some time to “just be,” and that is understandable. But your baby’s naps are a prime time to catch up on sleep, so take advantage of them.
Keep Your Baby Close
Babies sleep in the same room, or room share, with their parents for the first year of life. Keeping your baby near you has major advantages in terms of you getting enough sleep. If you don’t have to go down the hall to tend your baby, your baby won’t wake up as fully, and you’ll both have an easier time falling back asleep.
Get Your Partner Involved
If you have a partner who is available at night or even during the day, make sure they understand that baby sleep care isn’t a one-person job. While your partner can’t birth your baby or breastfeed, handling night waking and letting you catch up on sleep during the day (or letting you sleep in on weekends) is most definitely a job they can and should take on.