While every baby is different, there’s one thing that is pretty much a given – parents will, at some point along their journey, have to deal with some sleepless nights, especially if your baby is suffering from colic.
Newborn babies sleep an awful lot. In fact, they can sleep up to 18 hours a day. But, this sleep won’t necessarily happen when you want to sleep, even less so if your baby suffers from colic. They will have their own pattern of sleeping and waking and it’s not very likely that it’ll fit in with yours. You’re probably going to be up several times in the night to feed and comfort your baby. This can be particularly difficult for all parents – whether first timers or seasoned pros.
Lack of sleep can not only leave you very tired, it can also make you irritable, stressed, more emotional and can even lower your immune system. Here are a few tips that may help you cope with sleepless nights.
Sleep when your baby does
The simplest piece of advice that I’m sure everyone’s heard before, but sound advice none the less. While you may think you should take the opportunity to do the washing up, catch up on emails or prep dinner for later – don’t. Try to get some sleep when your baby does. And even if you don’t actually sleep, make sure you rest; even half an hour of sitting and relaxing can make you feel rejuvenated.
Eat well and stay hydrated
If you’re tired, you may feel hungrier than usual and you may not have time to think about what to eat, which can lead to making unhealthy food choices. Try as hard as you can to eat a healthy and balanced diet, which will help to keep your energy levels up, and don’t skip meals! Sugary foods may give you a nice rush of energy, but this will wear off quickly so try and get plenty of fruit and veg inside you. Make sure you stay hydrated too, by drinking lots of fluids and try not to rely on caffeine to perk you up – this could disrupt your sleeping even more.
Ask for help
If you have a partner, they can help with night-time feeds, whether you’re breastfeeding or formula feeding. If you’re breastfeeding they could wind your baby and settle them down so you can get straight back to sleep and if formula feeding, share the nights feeds as much as you possibly can. If your partner is at work, ask them to take your baby for a couple of hours at a weekend or early in the morning so you can try and catch up on a little bit of sleep. If you’re a single mum, try reaching out to your family or close friends. It can be difficult, especially on your own, but there’s no shame in asking for a little help when you need it. This could be as little as a close friend staying over for a few hours to let you catch a few zzz’s. If you’re still struggling to cope -whether you’re on your own, or with a partner- try contacting one of NHS recommended helplines or speaking to your GP/Healthcare visitor.