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Working parents of crap sleepers. How do you do it???

(62 Posts)
DrMcDreamysWife Mon 05-Aug-13 21:31:09

Dd has been a crap sleeper forever, never slept through, never got close. She is now 11 months and we occasionally get a 4 hour stint. Last night she woke every 2 hours.

I'm back to work next week. I'm dreading it, for all the obvious reasons of leaving dd at nursery for first time etc,

But seriously how do you work on so little sleep?!

BikeRunSki Tue 06-Aug-13 20:42:21

Red Bull as I am allergic to coffee.
Napping at lunchtime (me, not DD).
Going to bed extremely early.
I have been known to look at emails in the middle of the night as I was up anyway.

Cravingdairy Tue 06-Aug-13 20:46:53

My boss is a mum, that helps a lot! Don't expect too much of yourself at first - you don't want to burn out.

hermioneweasley Tue 06-Aug-13 20:48:11

I was pretty crap at work. I relied on coffee and twixes

VinegarDrinker Tue 06-Aug-13 20:52:48


I went back to a high stress job with night shifts, weekends and 13 hour days when DS was 6m and still feeding at least 3x overnight. He didn't get near sleeping through til 16 months. Looking back I have no idea how I coped.

gaelicsheep Tue 06-Aug-13 22:31:09

I have to take issue with MrsOakenshield who rather arrogantly presumes that just because I don't think work is or should be the most important thing in anyone's life, I would be happy to let my colleagues down. Perhaps MrsOakenshield would let people down just because she personally doesn't value what she's doing, I would not and do not.

My meaning was that no one should allow themselves to regret the sleeping problems of their LO, but should find a way to be positive about it if at all possible. It isn't forever and those midnight cuddles can be the most precious of all.

Want2bSupermum Wed 07-Aug-13 03:40:47

I think MrsOakenshield makes a very good point about sharing responsibilities. In our house we talk about who has what going on. Last week DH was up late neigoiating a large order so I was doing the heavy lifting. This week I am in training while attending to my clients so it is now 10.30pm and I have just finished my work for the day. I will be at work for 7am tomorrow and expect an equally long days tomorrow and Thursday. DH is up with DS this week.

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Wed 07-Aug-13 05:04:05

Agree. I don't 'do' men who don't 'do' nights. Dh is just as capable of dealing with night wakings as me. Typically we split it- I deal with dd and he deals with ds, but as supermum says, if one of us is having a crazy week, the other one picks up the night stuff.

LoveBeingItsABoy Wed 07-Aug-13 05:17:16

As my dh has a job that could kill him or members of the public if he did not have enough sleep, with prison being a definiate if there were an incident. I deal with my bad sleepers and have a strong sense of responsibility for my obligations as an employee.

I have found varies things that make me feel better: certain drinks, eating food earlier helps lots too (although I don't want to), sleeping at the weekend if possible. Also havi g something nice to do at the weekends to give you something to look forward too. Going to bed earlier (not that I really have a choice!) preparation the night before for the next day.

At times it will be tough but you can get tgrough it.

LoveBeingItsABoy Wed 07-Aug-13 05:20:28

Also sometimes there are ways to get them to sleep that you wouldn't choose but allow you too sleep, ie your bed, the soda and for some reason my baby would sleep in the travel cot in the living room so we would often transfer there for the night.

lotsofcheese Wed 07-Aug-13 05:29:27

I'm an NHS worker & have struggled with staying awake at work & on the drive home. After trying every trick in the book eg CC we finally relented & bought DS into bed. He starts off in his own bed but wanders through at some point. We all get more sleep.

Sleep is the bottom line - do what you need to do to be able to function.

redwellybluewelly Wed 07-Aug-13 06:39:28

Our DC1 suffered major brain damage at birth and a side effect of that is poor sleep - awake for long stretches of night and when she did fall asleep it laated just 45minutes before she needed resettling.

We co-slept.

I went back to a new job when she was just six months old, I was utterly exhausted. I couldn't even touch caffeine as it made her sick! Her sleeping nearly destroyed our marriage, we were both so completely exhausted and never got anytime off.

Keep weekends for catching up on sleep, one lie in each. Don't overdo it at the weekend, save it for resting, get a cleaner!

The solution was time. Developmentally she just wasn't ready and at 2yo we got in a sleep psychologist who showd us a gradual withdrawal method and a routine (morning and afternoon) tighter than a knats arse. Also saw an improvement when she ate very well in a day, plenty of carbs before bed!

WhisperingShadow Wed 07-Aug-13 06:50:39

DD 20 months has sleep apnea. Been back for 7 months. She is up several times a night, then from 0430-0500.

This morning I feel sick and have a mega headache. I find it far harder going to work. I have 5 hours of driving to another office tomorrow, do on call, and work all my hours in 4 days. I am exhausted and am not having fun.

EMS23 Wed 07-Aug-13 07:04:56

I rely on frequent fresh air breaks, lists so I don't forget stuff and lots of snacks throughout the day.

Daisy17 Wed 07-Aug-13 07:10:40

I second those posters who say that a day at work after a disturbed night is better than a day looking after a grumpy baby/toddler, and I'm a teacher too! I found maternity leave much harder because the nights and days were the same and it just felt so relentless. My colleagues would say "how do you do it AND work as well?" and I used to say that escaping to work was what made it possible! Sounds callous, but after a long night it was a relief to hand DS over to people who would look after him for me and go and talk to adults and bustle about doing a job I knew I was good at! It breaks the emotional intensity which helps enormously. Best of luck!

Daisy17 Wed 07-Aug-13 07:12:17

I also ate a lot, got quite fat, and now he's sleeping through am managing to gradually shed it. Not a bad price for sanity!

BikeRunSki Wed 07-Aug-13 07:32:15

Is it worth trying to address the cause of the sleeping problems? DD did not slee more than 3 or 4 hours for 18 months ; I returned to work when whevwad 14 months. We tried cranial osteopathy, after one session she was keeping better and after 3 she wad sleeping 7 pm - 6.30 am and has done fairly consistently since.

bigkidsdidit Wed 07-Aug-13 08:19:53

I night weaned and did gentle sleep training so DS slept all night before I went back. I need to concentrate at work and it would have been impossibly hard otherwise.

peteypiranha Wed 07-Aug-13 08:24:41

Energy drinks. I get up in morning and feel like death then have one energy drink and I can take on the world. I feel like I could run the London Marathon and cant sit still! Probably not that healthy, but when the children are young a neccessary evil. Of course dh should be supporting you to, and get him on the energy drinks. wink

sameoldIggi Wed 07-Aug-13 08:37:01

It can be hard to get the fathers fully on board when you've been dealing with more during your maternity leave - it does seem to set a pattern. Especially if bf or co-sleeping, it can seem at night that no-one but mummy will do hmm
Not sure how to bring dh more into our routine while ds is still such a milk monster at night.

peteypiranha Wed 07-Aug-13 08:42:44

DH did everything from day 1 so we didnt get in to bad habits. He did it with dc1 by getting up everytime I did. Its more tiring but she never got used to just me so we were 100% the same, and interchangeable

Meglet Wed 07-Aug-13 08:48:47

Badly. The DC's were good sleepers as babies and young toddlers, but it all went downhill when they reached about 3.

I'm not sure I do cope, I'm quite foul tempered and forgetful. The dyson hasn't been picked up recently and my home admin pile is huge. I wing it at work and don't take on extra work.

I can't co-sleep as I'm weird and their breathing disturbs me. My GP let's me have the odd diazepam so I can relax and get an early night at weekends, although I still wake when they do.

sameoldIggi Wed 07-Aug-13 09:03:32

Peter you're just not interchangeable if you are bfeeding though.

redwellybluewelly Wed 07-Aug-13 10:57:11

I night weaned DC1 at 19months, and again after a rough illness at 23months. That time I had the backing of medical staff to do it and DH had to step in. Until then he got up anytime she woke from 6 and dealt with her until midnight while I slept.

So we dealt with night weaning first, then the co sleeping connection, I was pregnant and so we alternated nights and by the time I was five months she was staying in her own bed almost all night, DH did all the night shifts and my productivity at work shot up despite being heavily pregnant!

Chesterado Wed 07-Aug-13 11:17:41

You basically need to avoid getting totally exhausted and run down. make life as easy as possible so you can focus on work at work and the children at home.

Things that worked for us were taking turns so we were only up every other night, lies in and catching up on sleep at weekends. Get the food shopping delivered and if you can stretch to a cleaner do. Try ad stay healthy take vitamins and berocca and eat well.
In terms of tackling the sleep issue itself co sleeping helped at first and ultimately putting her into a bed rather than a cot seemed to help, but she was quite a lot older at that stage...
I also found myself going to random work conferences and events simply because it involved a night in a hotel every now and then

frogwatcher42 Wed 07-Aug-13 11:21:42

Eat loads and lots of sugar.
Lots of caffeine.
Take turns to get two or three hours good sleep a night.
Take turns to get sleep at the weekend during the day while dh/dw looks after the dc.
Remember it will only last a few years.

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