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Coping with sleep deprivation

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
ARGH!!!!!!!!! Every momma has to get through sleep deprivation from time to time, right?? Lack of sleep makes most people loopy and irritable, right? It doesn't last forever, RIGHT????

My daughter has been a good sleeper from birth, but gosh, she's going through a growth spurt or something, and has been nursing really frequently throughout the night. Many people have it worse, but I'm just not used to it at all! I know it won't last forever, but I turn into a completely different person without enough sleep. I know almost every mom goes through this; can you reassure me that it won't last forever (and won't kill me??) Can a woman really function on naps alone?

post #2 of 14
It won't last forever.... it eventually will end, and yes mamas can live on naps alone for a short while at least as we all go through this.

My ds was sick for two weeks.... didn't sleep...lots of vomitting.
My ds woke up every two hours for the week after... "I hungee mama...." wanting to eat everything in the house.

I thought I was going to die. Friday and Saturday night were the first nights of sleeping through, and boy do I feel good. The world is right again.... soon you'll feel the same way.
post #3 of 14
This too shall pass!

At least that's what I tell myself often. My son is an unpredictable sleeper, and always has been. When I'm not well rested, everything in my world suffers. I NEED my sleep. I'm learning to function (or pretend to) without it. But it ain't fun.

I'm always surprised by how STUPID I am when I'm sleep deprived. And I'm surprised by the long term effects of my sleep deficit. Even when I get enough sleep one night, the three preceeding sleepless nights win!

I played a rehearsal/concert yesterday, and my stand partner finally understood sleep deprivation stupidity! She and her husband just got a puppy! I was the more alert of the two of us!
post #4 of 14
I did it for more than two years and I survived. Of course I finally ended up in the hospital suffering from depression, but I survived.:
post #5 of 14
My DS, now 2.5 didn't sleep for more than 2 hours at a time until he was about 19 mos, and then it was an occasional 4 hour stretch. Some how I did it while working full time. When he started sleeping through the night I was pregnant and up every 2 hours to pee!!! I now have a 5 week old and I figure I'll get some sleep in a few years. I cope by telling myself that soon they will be teenagers, and this baby time is so quick. Trying to enjoy my baies at night really helps- trying to see those 1,3,5 AM nursing sessions it as sweet special moments rather than interruptions to my sleep. Napping whenever possible is also key! I used to take 10 minute naps between classes in my dance studio (I am a HS dance teacher), and that helped my short term energy.
post #6 of 14
nap, nap, nap, nap, nap with your baby, nap, nap, nap, nap, nap with your baby.....

I mean, she's probably sleeping at least 12-15 hrs, total, right? So forget about geting anything done and...

nap, nap, nap, nap, nap with your baby (this is a little song in my head, but we don't have a musical note smiley.)

I know it was hard for me to adjust from working full time to being a new mom -- I constantly felt like "OMG, what did I forget to do..." I had to keep reminding myself that it didnt' matter if I got no sleep, I didn't *have* to get anything done the next day.

hang in there!
post #7 of 14
If you are not getting enough sleep,

what really helps me is a lot of water and a lot of food! It's not a perfect substitute but it definately helps.
post #8 of 14
I swear I havent slept since 1987.
post #9 of 14
Oh yeah you will make it. It won't last forever.

What helps:

Drink water. Eat fresh fruits and veggies. Take a multivitamin. Do as little as possible during the day. Sleep whenever baby sleeps. If you can't sleep, just rest with your eyes closed.

I assume you co sleep? If not will you consider it during this growth spurt? Do you fully wake to nurse, or can you sleep through it (mostly)?

Sleep deprivation does make you mean and irritable and kinda stupid. Ds was a marathon night waker. He had major medical issues. We spent six weeks in a hospital after he was born. And no one gets any rest in a hospital. His first two years were a blur of sleepless nights in hospitals, and periods at home where he slept in fits and starts; his natural sleep/ wake cycle was nonexistent after being in ICU, and it was a long time before anyone got much rest in our house.

People need sleep! But it did help me to read in Tine Thevenin's book "The Family Bed" that in american culture, we tend to be more rigid about sleep patterns than is always necessary. Sometimes we get stressed just over the idea of being awakened at night, thinking it is harmful or depriving us in some way. We can't always choose how much sleep we get. We do have some control over whether we accept or resent it.

But yes when you reach your limit and are sleep deprived it sucks. I always got a short flu after more than 3 nights without deep sleep. This isn't always from parenting. Dh travels with his job sometimes, and I don't sleep well when he is gone.

This too shall pass~
post #10 of 14
Heartmama....I got the flu too! way too often. interesting. I thought I was the only one!
post #11 of 14
Ubertulip, she is just a month old? Mine are 6 months old and still nightwake relatively frequently (or does it seem that way because there are two?). I second heartmama's suggestion to cosleep and nap when your baby naps. You'll make it. I don't always follow my own advice about the napping, but when I do I am a whole new woman.
post #12 of 14
I totally agree with the nap with your baby. I survive by having a bed in the living room, and when ever she doses off, I try to put my head down too. Right now, she only sleeps for short periods, because her nose is stuffy, and she is vomiting, but I am right there to take care of her, and we both get a little rest now and then.
post #13 of 14
sweetbaby3 yeah it is kinda freaky! I can induce the flu by going without sleep for three days. I think it is like, the immune system is so depressed, normal bacteria start to take over and "win" inside my body or something.

Like I said, it isn't just parenting. Dh travels and I don't sleep well. If I let that continue for more than three nights I start to feel achey and a sore throat. One night of good sleep, and it's gone.
post #14 of 14

Just want to join the others in affirming that you can survive this. I'm a WOHM and when my DD was about 4 months old she started refusing EBM during the day and nursing off and on ALL night ("reverse cycling") for her milk.

Co-sleeping, good food, water, and naps definitely helped.

Some of the other strategies that helped us:

1. During the toughest few months, I would nurse DD at around 6:30 and then go to bed. DH would then sling and rock DD to sleep in the livingroom and then bring her to me when she woke up to nurse. This would usually enable me to get 4-5 hours of unbroken sleep---DD always slept for longer stretches when she wasn't right beside me and the Nummies.

1. Putting the clock out of sight at night. Dr. Sears suggests this and I found that this really did help reduce my anxiety and panic about lack of sleep. Helped me be more peacefully present with my DD during night nursing sessions.

3. Keeping in mind that infancy really is a very brief and precious period of time.

This too shall pass! We've gradually been getting more and more sleep.

Best wishes!

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