Newb Mom here again.
I am tired. I’m talking zombie tired.
I bet you think I’m writing this at 2am while nursing a hungry baby huh? Nope. Its 8:00 in the morning. A perfectly reasonable hour to be awake. Was I up all night? Nope. Little man got up twice between 8pm and 6am and went right back to sleep each time. So now you are probably thinking that I am just complaining. A 4 month old sleeping 10 hours and only waking twice is amazing! I should feel rested and refreshed, ready to take on the world.
I don’t. I’m exhausted.
I got blessed with a pretty easy baby. From the first night he came home he was an excellent sleeper. By excellent sleeper, I mean that he never had any day/night confusion. His naps were inconsistent during the day, but he seemed to grasp the idea of night sleep right away. I was rarely up all hours of the night with him. Even if he got up every hour to eat, he would always fall right back asleep.
At this point Im sure other mothers reading this are silently cursing me out.
The issue I want to address is that even if you have a baby who is a wonderful sleeper, you will still find yourself incredibly tired.
I am no sleep expert, but here are several things I have noticed since little man has been in my life:
- Just because the baby falls back asleep doesn’t mean that you do. If baby is up every two hours to eat and mom takes a half hour to fall back asleep (with a ½ hour of nursing, give or take), that means mom is only getting sleep in one hour increments. Even if baby makes it 4 hours between feedings, mom is only getting 3 hours of sleep at a time.
- To go along with the ending of point #1, mom’s sleep is broken up into 1-3 hour increments. That is not enough time to hit that restorative deep sleep that our body craves. Sometimes mom will fall back asleep right away and get a blissful dream filled session of sleep, but that’s typically not the case.
- Babies wake up early. Anywhere between 6am and 8am is totally normal, and if you are like me, its hard to get up that early and function when you have been getting interrupted sleep all night as outlined in my first two points.
Put all of this together and it is easy to see why new moms are so tired. Even mom’s who have great sleepers.
Everyone says to sleep when the baby sleeps. I will sometimes nap while he has his morning nap but really, its the same issue. His nap may only be for two hours and by the time I fall asleep, he’s back up again, hence I am not very rested.
Here are a few things that I (and newb dad) do to help ease the fatigue:
- I go to bed no later than 9pm. Sometimes I go to bed right when little man goes to bed so that I can get in some rest before his first waking.
- I try to limit caffeine during the day (I am REALLY bad at this one. I blame Dutch Bros.). The caffeine keeps me up past my 9pm bedtime if I have had too much. Also, I breastfeed, so the caffeine gets into little mans system and makes it hard for him to fall asleep.
- When I really can’t hack it, I ask newb dad to get up with him. When newb dad was still working at the office, he would leave the house at 7:30. I would feed little man when he woke, then go back to bed while newb dad entertained him. Now that newb dad works from home, we do the same thing and little man plays in his daddy’s office until he starts throwing a fit. Then I’ll get up and take care of him.
- If I am sick or have a migraine, newb dad and I are blessed with awesome parents that are usually willing to come over and entertain little man so I can get a few extra hours. I try not to use this option too much though, I don’t want to take advantage of the grandparents.
I hope this blog post will be helpful to other moms and dads. Also, I hope it helps to illustrate that ALL new parents, despite having an easy or difficult baby, will be tired. And you know what? Thats ok.
I keep telling myself that one day little man will be 15 and I wont be able to get him out of bed.
Please feel free to leave any tips or additional information in the comments below. I would love to hear what works for other parents. As always, thanks for reading.