How many hours of sleep do you get in a day?
I would get up from time to time in the middle of the night to wee. I suppose that’s what pregnancy does in the last trimester – getting you ready for disturbed sleep. When my water broke, I actually just woke up from a nice nap.
Hello motherhood and good-bye to sleeping for 6-8 hours straight. Breastfeeding and lack of sleep apparently were twins. They were inseparable. Maybe mom didn’t go in such detail so I won’t get scared.
At first, I was just filled with happy hormones. I mean, how can I not be happy to see our darling daughter. We’ve wanted her for so long, and there she was!
I was taught how to breastfeed. But it really is a skill that you learn over time. Just like riding a bike – you will fall several times, hurt yourself, before you finally get it.
I had to breastfeed every 2-3 hours. I was happy to do it, but when I started getting sore, cracked, and bleeding nipples, I dreaded it.
So to breastfeed every 2-3 hours meant that I hardly had time to rest. I would feed for 30-40 minutes for each breast and burp my baby. Then I needed to put her to sleep. Imagine what little time I had left.
Honestly, it takes a toll on you…
Sleep deprivation is part of motherhood
There is a certain level of high if you are a first time mom. So initially, I was happy even if I felt so tired. I think what saved me in the hospital was that my husband was helping me, and there were always nurses around.
I felt so tired beyond comprehension that there were times when I would just cry buckets. People kept saying that it gets better and I kept wondering when.
Sleep became like such a luxury to me. At the time, if I could wish for anything from a genie, it would have to be sleep. And that’s what I kept asking from my husband. Even a few minutes to rest and sleep.
My sister, who’s a nurse, suggested that I breastfeed my baby in bed so that I can also sleep. She taught me how, but I was too afraid to co-sleep seeing that she was so little. I was afraid of hurting my little baby.
So I continued to breastfeed my baby on a rocking, reclining nursing chair. Good thing I had that and a nursing pillow! Very, very helpful.
There were times when my baby was so unsettled and wouldn’t want to sleep in her bassinet no matter how hard I tried. So as much as I didn’t want to, I was forced to sleep with her in my arms. Of course, I couldn’t sleep well since I had to make sure she was okay. I was afraid of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).
A friend of mine told me to read up on The Wonder Weeks. It would prepare me for periods when she’d be so fussy and understand what she needed. I must say, it really helped!
Chores take a back seat
I like keeping our place neat and clean. I just cannot take it when it’s messy.
When we arrived home with the baby, I couldn’t cook anymore. I didn’t have time, and I was way too tired. I realised that frozen healthy meals were the way to go. And then, it is a major plus when you have a very supportive husband who will help you cook and clean.
But he also needs to work. So I needed to understand that he was also exhausted. Although when I was way too tired, there were times I forgot that he too had a long day.
So that means I had to live with the fact that our place cannot be spotless all the time. I had to be able to accept the mess. I had to contend with the fact that it will be spic and span when we managed to get some time.
If you can hire cleaners, that’s just perfect!
Accept any offer to help
You can have your husband help with housework or you can opt to do that when you want a breather from taking care of your baby. He can also help with the baby. You can ask help in changing nappies or giving baby a bath.
Let friends and family help you as well. I was so happy when my mom and sister came to visit us. They helped us take care of her, as well as with our chores.
It’s also true that you sleep when your baby sleeps.
When she reached 5 months, we traveled to another country and we didn’t have her bassinet with us. We didn’t want to go beyond the baggage allowance.
I’ve already trained her to sleep well in her bassinet. So just when her sleeping habits were already in place, we were forced to have her co-sleep.
I think she enjoyed it as much we did. So when we got back home, it was difficult to re-train her because she just liked cuddling up to us and it was so easy to breastfeed her that way. I got more sleep!
I know co-sleeping is not encouraged, but in my experience, it really helps in giving you more time to sleep and helping you get a saner version of you.
What mom said is true, that things eventually get better in time. I managed to breastfeed and get more sleep. I also managed to eat well, take a bath, and have time for chores, while my baby slept through the night. Plus I also had my precious ‘me-time’.
How did it work out for you? How did you manage to breastfeed despite the sleepless nights? We can learn from each other’s experience, and help a sleep-deprived mom or dad. I would love to hear from you. Feel free to leave your comments below.