After finishing school, you think the all-nighters are over. But then you become a parent and realize staying up with a screaming child is a little different than staying up all night studying or staying out late at a party. Whether it be a 2 a.m. feeding, a colicky baby, or just a baby that wants to be held 24/7, nothing prepares a parent for the lack of sleep you experience with a new baby. This goes for any parent, not just a new parent. It could be your first child or your fifth—you still get limited sleep at least for the first couple of months.
Helping Your Baby Figure Out Days vs. Nights
When I had Collyns a little more than a year ago, I spent the first couple of weeks “sleeping” on the couch. She had her days and nights mixed up. Since I was on maternity leave and breastfeeding, I was the one to stay up or get up with her when she was screaming. I didn’t want her crying to wake my husband or her brother up. I made her take naps during the day with the lights and TV on, and at night it was quiet and dark. After a couple of weeks, she figured out her days and nights. I got lucky with Collyns because she would wake up to eat then go right back to sleep. Many moms are up all night with their newborns.
Facebook, Twitter, or Netflix. Sometimes, I wonder what our mothers did when they were awake with a child all night. The one piece of advice I received as a first-time mother, which I share with many other mothers, is make sure you stockpile different television shows. There isn’t much on television at 2 a.m. Plus, there are not many people to talk with on Facebook or Twitter. I spent many nights in the living room either trying to trick my babies into thinking they were tired or just feeding them. I watched a lot of CMT music videos and caught up on all the seasons of Law & Order: SVU. You don’t realize how much paid programming is on in the middle of the night with very little else on TV.
How to Survive All-Nighters
So here is a quick crash course on how to survive all-nighters as a mother:
- The sleepless nights won’t last forever.
- If a family member, friend, or coworker offers to come over, take them up on the offer. They want to see the baby, and you want to nap.
- Sleep as often as you can. We’ve all heard the saying: “Sleep when the baby sleeps.”
- If you need a break, it is okay to put your baby in the crib and walk away.
- Enjoy the time you get to spend with your child while you are on leave. It goes by so fast, and before you know it, they will be sleeping through the night, and you will forget all about those sleepless nights
Babies & Toddlers
In addition to the time I devote to being a mom, I also work full-time outside the home, which means my day is hardly ever as simple as nine to five. With an all-too-established schedule, as soon as I walk through the door, my day doesn’t end, but rather just begins. It’s a balancing act, especially with two children, but being a mom is one full-time job that I never want to quit!