A post I read this morning titled “Sleep Deprivation: The Dark Side of Parenting,” reminded me of one of the things I really struggled with as a parent. The first months after I had my first baby were the most punishing. Some days I only got 4 hours of shut-eye and I observed that the less sleep I had the less effective I was as a parent. The sleep deprivation during the first months of parenting is not easy to cope with.
Insufficient sleep can affect us not only physically but also mentally and emotionally. While I believe that there isn’t truly a way for parents to escape this predicament, there are ways to lessen its impact. I am no expert but I would like to offer you the things I did that helped me cope with sleep deprivation during the first months of parenting:
1. Accept any help that you can get in caring for your kid(s)–from family, baby sitter or friends.
2. Figure out a system that works for both of you and your partner.
3. Do not take on any extra responsibilities whether inside or outside the home.
4. Try to nap when the baby is napping.
5. Try to simplify things as much as possible.