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To ask how you cope with no/minimal sleep?(87 Posts)
Not a mum, trying with DH later this year for our 1st DC!
Before hopefully falling pregnant I would like a good, honest idea of motherhood and a lot of aspects such as never getting time alone, poop explosions and financial impact do not bother me!
I do get scared about lack of sleep - not enough to put me off wanting to be a mother! However, when I don’t get enough sleep usually I really suffer I don’t know if it is because I think about it more but there’s been times I’ve vomited and nearly passed out due to tiredness when I’ve had 1-4 hours for the full night.
I wanted to know if it just becomes the new norm? Do you really just get used to it and are able to carry on?
I fear that the lack of sleep will hit me like a ton of bricks (like it does if I experience it now!) and then I can’t possibly be a good mother if I react to minimal sleep like that?
Reassurance and/or honesty is appreciated !
My eldest is 18 and youngest 12. I like a goodnight sleep and if I don’t get one i am a right bitch, im the 1st to tell you.
When the kids were babies I struggled. 7 hours solid im ok, but the constant waking and feeding, jeez. Id not help anyone out with that.
I'm crap on no sleep. But Dd is 5 months and has only just started sleeping more than 3hs at a time, and it's surprisingly fine. Love/ necessity/ sugar gets you through.
Better than I’d expected...which was good because DS1 was much worse than average. He’s 7 and DS2 is 4 and we still reckon to get disturbed two or three nights a week. But it does become the new normal. I should just go to bed earlier, but am a night owl. Which is a pain with DC.
There's no point in worrying about it beforehand, you will be fine because you will have no choice! Sleep deprivation is horrible, but you will get used to it. The main thing is to go into parenthood with a partner who is going to do half the work, not one who expects you to do it all on your own.
My experience of the newborn sleep deprivation is that the initial flood of happy hormones when you've just had a baby get you through at least the first week or so. After having both my DC I struggled to sleep even when I could.
After that goes tho, yes it is very hard. I recommend you establish a bit of a timetable with your DH which allows you to get at least 3 hours sleep in a chunk. We used to have a routine where I would go and sleep in the spare room from 9 til midnight then get up and he would go to bed. Then my DH would get up at 6 and I would be able to rest/shower/eat until 8, then he would go to work. We did this for about 6 to 8 weeks and it helped just take the edge off, but after 6-8 weeks, I was a lot more relaxed and used to waking up and feeding etc so I think after that I just muddled through it and typically both babies would sleep for a couple of hours, feed for half an hour, sleep again. So it was broken sleep but I suppose at least 5 hours a night if you added it together.
You will most likely be fine but helps to have a supportive partner who knows when you need to go and rest.
My DD didn't start sleeping through until lockdown and she was 19 months by then. You do just sort of manage. You will get sleep but it'll be broken for a while. I remember being so jealous of people whose babies would sleep for 6hrs or so.
I was very anxious about sleep as I'm epileptic and lack of sleep can trigger seizures but surprisingly, I've been okay.
In terms of how I coping - not brilliantly. I couldn't remember things and I had to right everything down. Sleep became a scarce resource that dp and I tried to be scrupulously fair about (we used to have lie ins scheduled on the calender - very romantic).
That said, I found out that I can function for a 12 hour shift if I get 2 hours of sleep, but less than that I will be crying in the toilets.
I found other parents very supportive, particularly colleagues at work.
Going through it made my relationship with dp stronger.
Mine are 8 and 5 now and I found it hard at first. I remember nearly having a breakdown one day because my second just didn’t sleep and I was exhausted. Over the years I have adjusted and now naturally wake up early and need less sleep.
Totally it’s love, sugar and necessity. Perhaps not in that order!
I’d also say that there’s a difference between sleep and rest. You won’t get sleep and it’s horrendous tbh but you can rest, and it really helps. It’s tough not knowing how long it’ll be for but you will know it’s not forever and that helps too. X
Sleep train as early as possible! And for me that meant getting on top of both my sons allergies and reflux first. Interestingly the sleep consultant we used said that 80% of her clients babies have something going on and constant wakings are a side effect. You need to identify the underlying cause. That was my saviour (I have health conditions and struggle with lack of sleep too).
Until then, (so for the first 4/5 months generally) you just manage because you know this tiny thing is depending on you. Get dad prepped to do some nights too, even one full sleep a week makes such a difference. There are also maternity nurses that could sleep over once or twice a week (save up for it now!)
I also followed Gina ford (I know she isn't liked on here) from day 1 so that the natural longest block of sleep fell at night. I didn't go crazy over it but stuck to the guidelines so wake at same time and feed roughly according to her schedule
Well you just plod on, on half a cylinder so to speak. One of my kids has sleep issues and even now she is a teen I get broken nights. It is not uncommon for me to struggle through a couple of weeks on four hours a night if she is going through a rough patch.
I do think you get used to it to an extent.
I do struggle functioning with not enough sleep and I am sure it was one of the factors for my PND.
Saying that, if there are two of you, both of you need ot make sure you do your share. That means if your DH is not a person who has a job where it is dangerous if tired than he has to do some night work as well. I read too often "oh, DH goes to work so he can't help at night". Well, you work during the day as well and in my opinion caring for a baby is more stressful than any office work with nice coffee breaks.
In our case I bf so I did the feed, DH did a new nappy and kept her upright thanks to silent reflux until she was ok to get down while I already dozed of again. In other times he would sleep in her room when she was having a growth spur and got her back to sleep during the week and I did the weekends and napped during the day.
During my maternity leave I napped a lot, when DD was down, I was down. Housework be dammed, I shopped and did meals, did washing but all when DD was awake, a sling is a good investment.
I remember when she was 8 months and I lost it one morning at 5am, she slept through but wouldn't go back to bed, I just wanted sleep.
Btw, she is a 13 year old teen now and I wouldn't swap her at all. So, you survive and it comes the time they sleep longer than you want them to because you planned a day out and they aren't up yet.
I had some sort of superwoman burst of hormones after birth, I can only think it was, that meant I stayed awake for like five days solid with maybe five/six hours sleep fragmented across those. I was up for 72 hours after giving birth. I felt totally wired! DH was knackered though I eventually started having weird almost hallucinations though so I don't advise staying up that long, but it was amazing how refreshed a three-hour chunk made me.
To some extent you do kind of get used to it. I've always been someone who 'needed' 10 hours a night, but now I feel sleep drunk when I get that! I think it depends a lot on whether you get a good sleeper or not. If you don't, you and your husband need to take shifts, really, and split it so each person is getting undisturbed chunks. And if you can, sleep when baby sleeps. I know it's a cliche and some people can't, but I've always been an easy napper and did plenty of day snoozing when DD was tiny!
Honestly the lack of sleep really affected me with DC1. He did not sleep well for the first year. Honestly my mental health suffered and I haven’t been the same since. It’s hard to explain but sleep deprivation is torture for a reason. Then one night he slept through about 12/13 months old and he’s been a 12 hour sleeper since.
My second slept 8hours most nights from about 8 weeks then 12hr a night from about 5/6 months. It was so different. I felt so much better. So what I mean to say is you might get lucky. Your baby might be a good sleeper or you may cope well with sleep deprivation (my DH coped much better than me and he did pull his weight).
I am exactly like you and my first child didn’t sleep though reliably until 3. I won’t lie, I was an utter wreck. Cried and felt sick. My husband shared the nights and let me lie in on weekends to catch up.
Child 2 has been as hard in a different way.
It was the single worst thing about babies.
You kind of get used to coping but the constant tiredness wears you down.
You just sort of do. It’s a difficult one because you don’t know what your baby will be like til they’re here and not fully brand new. Mine don’t sleep but I manage. We cosleep and breastfeed and whilst it’s not for everyone it does mean that we get a little more sleep.
You just get on with it, have no choice. Then you blink and they are sleeping through and it's just a fun memory you have with your OH about how grumpy you both were/silly sleep deprived things you both done.
I had completely opposite experiences with both my DDs. With my first, my OCD really took hold and I obsessed about sleep so much that I actually then couldn’t sleep. I had a breakdown and was heavily medicated for years afterwards. Obviously that’s an extreme situation but... I did eventually go back and do it all over again after swearing. I’d never have another baby and found it surprisingly fine! It was a bit of an anti-climax really after the first - I was so worried about a repeat performance but because I was mentally well this time around, I just took it in my stride.
It also helps to know that everything is just a phase. With my first, I honestly thought the lack of sleep would be forever, but I had it in perspective the next time round so the weeks and months flew by until she was sleeping well.
Oh yeah we do go to bed very early now and when she was a newborn, I'd be in bed by 8/8:30pm.
I'm seriously grumpy on no sleep and struggle to stay awake cut to the afternoon.
2 dc, the eldest started sleeping through at 3 months and by 6 months was an angel at night.
The second didn’t sleep through until she was nearly 4. I can't sugar coat it, it was hell but once she did sleep through I bounced back quickly.
I breast fed both dc and the 2nd that was a terrible sleeper is now diagnosed asc.
I found the best way to cope was never refuse help, don't loose sleep over the housework, and nap in the afternoon if baby goes to sleep. A can of cola after a nap works a treat too.
The first week or so I was high on life. After that the tiredness is bad but babies sleep a lot in the early days so try and get into a routine and if you need to sleep, sleep when they sleep.
I’d echo the advice to be clear with your partner that he steps up and does his share of disturbed sleep etc, my two are adopted so I didn’t have newborn tiredness but they still interrupt my sleep on a regular basis. Taking turns to lie in, him picking up the evening meal so you can rest, all makes a huge difference - tag team each other, it makes coping with lack of sleep so much easier.
I'm one of those people who loves an afternoon nap and would always have one on a weekend for a couple of hours. DS was a terrible sleeper upto around 13 months old, would wake hourly all night every night. Sleeps in longer stretches now but still get woken at least 4-5 times a night. Honestly, I've coped with the broken nighttime sleep no problem, but not always being able to nap when I want to is something I'd liken to torture. He's worth it though
You get used to it to an extent. Spend a lot of time feeling tired.
I used to go to bed at 9, then DH would do the midnight feed and settled baby and bring him up to bed asleep, so by the time he woke for the next feed I’d usually had 5-6 hours, then would nap a bit more until morning and DH would get up at 6 for work. He enjoyed the bonding time! With both kids I hit a low at about 6-8 weeks - DS2 was not a great sleeper and had reflux and cows milk allergy so whilst all that was going on it was rough - DH sat up all night with DS2 so I could get a proper sleep, I loved him so much for that!
DS1 was always a good sleeper - slept through at 10 weeks, DS2 needed sleep training at 7 months.
They are now 4 and 16 months and they both sleep 7-7 every night. We have a lie in each on the weekend.
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