Sleepless Nights, Sleepless Days

There is probably nothing more exhausting than taking care of a baby (and this is from two girls who completed OB/GYN residency, working 80+ hour weeks!). A newborn trumps everything. There are no shifts, no sign out, and often no relief, which means there are many days with NO sleep. The fatigue you are feeling is like nothing else. And while we don’t have a degree in sleep therapy, or sleep training, or even come close to being baby whisperers, we do know what it feels like to be a new mom. Here, we offer a few tips on how to tackle your tiredness.

  1. Get Out of the House
    When all you want to do is lay down and close your eyes, it may seem somewhat odd that we are suggesting you do just the opposite. Take a shower, get dressed, get out and move. Getting some fresh air and boosting your heart rate a bit can make a big difference in your energy level and your mood. A short, brisk walk not only will help clear your mind but it also might help your baby go to sleep—now that’s efficiency!
  2. Remember to Eat AND Drink
    Food and drink are your friends. While you may not have time to whip up anything fancy, you do have time to chow down on a bowl of cereal or a PB&J sandwich. Additionally, invest in a water bottle, and every time you prepare to feed the baby, fill your bottle. This will help you keep your body in tip-top shape to deal with the fatigue, and for those of you who are breastfeeding, it will help keep the milk flowing.
  3. Cool it with the Caffeine
    When you can barely keep your eyes open, you might reach for liquid help. If you are a coffee, tea, or espresso girl, you go with something that is loaded with caffeine. While we certainly are cool with your ~ 2 cups of caffeine per day, anything more will most likely make you sick. Think jittery, anxious, and nauseous. Additionally, if you are breastfeeding, too much caffeine can dehydrate you, which is not good, especially when you are trying to make milk for your little one.
  4. Phone a Friend
    Ask for help from someone. Anyone. Your partner, a family member, a friend, or even a babysitter, they are there to help. Everyone needs some time off. Be it an hour, a night, or a day, we all need to walk away and take a breather for a bit. Extreme fatigue can seriously cloud your judgment, leading to accidents, injuries, or worse. Even Superwoman had buddies—ask yours for a break.
  5. Nothing is Forever
    Even the worst infant sleepers will one day catch some Z’s. While everyone talks about those babies that sleep through the night the moment they come home from the hospital, most take at least a few months to get into their slumber groove. That said, if several months have passed and you still are staying up all night, it’s probably a good idea to speak to your pediatrician. Something might be preventing your little one from lying down peacefully—your pediatrician should definitely be your go-to on this one.There are tons of books, blogs, and sleep experts out there who have made a living out of providing advice on sleep and sleep training. We certainly are not sleep experts, but we are women who have been there before and who, as doctors, know what you need to stay healthy. The words we offer come from a mixture of those two perspectives. Now, go find yourself a place to lay your head and get some rest!