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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?!

bigkidsdidit Fri 09-Aug-13 07:46:37

Rich man I was like that when mine starting sleeping through. You need go go to bed at 8 a fw nights a week till you've caught up your massive sleep debt!

LooplaLoopy Fri 09-Aug-13 04:42:18

Controversial, but controlled crying. After 3 days, normal sleep again. smile

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Fri 09-Aug-13 02:56:10

Well DD has started sleeping through this week (please dont hate me- probably wont last anyway). I feel like I've been hit by a truck, so I feel worse with more sleep. How is this possible????

redwellybluewelly Thu 08-Aug-13 21:59:50

Just remembered something else. DH works away every year for ten days, when he went I was solo parenting and working and all our family seemed too busy to help.

So for that week I moved to baby time. I went to bed with her, I got up when she got up and I snatched food whenever I could same with showering. At the end of the week I was still tired but I wasn't totally exhausted as I had expected to be. Going to bed early really helped.

DragonsAreReal Thu 08-Aug-13 20:54:00

I would stock up on allergy medicine... and every now and again give them a dose and get a good 6hrs sleep.

<disclaimer I have never done this and both mine were bottle fed and sleeping 10 till 6 by 6 weeks (apart from the stage ds went through only sleeping in his bouncy chair or on me which killed me and I wasn't back to work then)>

WhisperingShadow Thu 08-Aug-13 20:48:14

Ceiling, we are seeing a surgeon in a few weeks for the same thing. But I wanted an oxygen trace done first. Just finished work and I feel like crying I am so tired. I'm back on Red Bull but I think they make things worse.

CeilingThomas Thu 08-Aug-13 14:52:29

My son is 17months old and for the first 5-6 months was a dream sleeper, 7pm-7am every night with 10min for feeds until he dropped them at around 4-5 months then slept through.

Since August of last year he has got progressively worse, so that he now wakes 3-4 times a night (every 3hrs on average from going to bed to waking in the morning). He's just been referred to a sleep clinic with possible sleep apnoea due to large adenoids/tonsils though, so it's not behavioural wakings and all the usual meds haven't made a blind bit of difference. (but I knew it wasn't behavioural anyway because he pushes us away and points to his cot when we do go in when he cries).

Anyway, until we get the diagnosis and he has the op to fix it, our strategies are similar to the ones already mentioned. I cannot stress the importance of a weekend lie in and if possible on your 'get-up day', try to get a nap yourself in the afternoon whilst your OH looks after the kids. Because our DS sleeps so badly he has 2-2.5 hr naps during the day, we go to bed then as well! Grab sleep when you can, everything else can wait.

Caffeine, regular small meals so your blood sugar is even, and let people know that you're really tired. I found that once my colleagues realised I haven't slept for more than 3-4 hrs in a row since Christmas they were a lot more forgiving of my many cock ups.

good luck!

blossombath Thu 08-Aug-13 13:11:43

High sugar and caffeine diet seems to make me more prone to mistakes, perhaps its the blood sugar fluctuations. So I try to have high protein breakfast and snacks like cheese with fruit instead of pure chocolate. Keeps my mood more stable, saves chocolate and coffee for the really bad days....

Agree that work can be easier than toddler chasing when exhausted, bur on days which require me to be creative or focus on details I try to take fresh air breaks when i listen to upbeat music

Lower standards at home and accept help wherever you can.

And yy a thousand times to taking turns for a lie in on weekends

comixminx Thu 08-Aug-13 12:59:12

Yeah, RichMan: I don't go for that bit of my friend's advice personally, but I guess it works for her! I do eat cakes / croissant / desserts at work in any case just because I like them, but I do find that they weigh me down and make me a bit tireder on the days when I'm already tired, in which case fruit works better for me.

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Thu 08-Aug-13 12:48:36

It's weird how different things work for different people- I found a carb/sugar heavy diet made me even tireder. My solution was lots of coffee, no midday carbs and a very light diet generally.

comixminx Thu 08-Aug-13 08:40:59

I asked this same question on my journal, and a couple of insomniac (non-parent) friends had useful tips:
* Strong smelling pulse point perfume at work. I'm pretty sure I used to use this one or similar -- the smell sort of crawls up your nose and stops you sleeping.
* A fragrant and fancy black tea, without sugar, and topped up constantly all day. This constant mild caffeine drip means you can still break out a strong tea with sugar/proper coffee when needed and still notice it. If you drink strong all the time, you just acclimatize.
* Power nap. Fifteen to twenty minutes only, and somewhere safe where you are not in the slightest bit worried about dropping off.
* Power walk. Get natural light on your head, walk fast round the block. Will not work if mizzling, you just get tireder.
* Doughnuts or Flapjacks. Buy "for colleagues" and eat three yourself. Anything with a big hit of fat and a strong flavour should do the trick (samosas, bhajis, English breakfast sandwiches, Eccles cakes).
* Eat citrus fruit. Slowly. Sharper the better.
* Gossip with colleague about pretty much anything. The social stimulation jolts you awake.

* Daylight spectrum lighting. I made myself a S.A.D. lamp out of an ordinary desk light and a daylight spectrum bulb - total cost was less than a tenner. It can really help with staying awake.
* I don't hold myself to my usual standards when I feel like a zombie. As long as I get anything that has to be done, done - and don't fall asleep at my desk/burst into tears (sadly a side-effect for me of being 'over tired') - it's a win. Anything else is a bonus.

My own suggestions / ways of coping included:
* exercise - I cycle to & from work and I know that helps.
* having a laugh - fun lunchtimes with nice colleagues does help
* getting an early night - if at all possible, ho ho
* having the odd day off here and there
* looking for unexciting but non-brain-challenging tasks to do at work - things that need you to plough through things rather than thinking hard (at the level of filing)

Hope some of this is useful!

peteypiranha Wed 07-Aug-13 11:35:04

I breastfedfor a year with dc2 but dh still did loads, and could always put some expressed milk in a bottle. He also did nappies and all the out of bed moving around stuff. I just got to lay there and feed. I had it easier tbh.

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.

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

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!

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

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

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.

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

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 08:24:41

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

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.

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.

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!

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!

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.

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