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1st baby - coping without sleep? Any advice or books?

(32 Posts)
FlirtyThirty Wed 17-Sep-08 13:06:11

I am expecting my first child and beginning to think about thye impact of little/broken sleep on me and my husband. We are both notoriously bad without sleep, so it will be a major adjustment for us (doubtless along with a amillion other things!). I KNOW that we will cope somehow, but I'm interested to know how others coped. I am probably in the 'cuddle baby when it cries' rather than 1940s 'baby needs routine' camp, but at the same time, I would be relatively keen to employ some basic routine tactics if ti will help long term.

Can anyone recommend any good books? Figure if I don't read them before baby's here, then I never will...


pamelat Wed 17-Sep-08 13:12:55

Baby Whisperer is a good one. Saying that my DD is currently being a nightmare sleeper!

notnowbernard Wed 17-Sep-08 13:15:44

Books aren't much help IMO

Each baby is different

You may be suprised and have a good sleeper

I think the fact you're geared up for the idea that you will be sleep-deprived is a good one. You won't be massively shocked if it does happen

The best advice that I followed was to sleep when the baby sleeps. So if you've been up since 4am, go back to bed at 9am when he/she does smile DO NOT WASTE TIME DOING HOUSEWORK ETC!

pamelat Wed 17-Sep-08 13:20:20

Yep the baby whisperer one categorises different babies but obviously no baby is a text book one. I just like to read about the kind of sleepy babies I could have had! grin

SoupDragon Wed 17-Sep-08 13:23:22

Invest in something like a Coorie type sling. I referred to mine as the Magic Sling of Sleep (baby's sleep, not mine unfortunately!)

How do you cope with little sleep? I don't know - you just do. I do know that I felt far worse after occasionally having to deal with an older child waking up than I ever did when feeding a newborn every 3 hours or so through the night. I'm sh*te with no sleep too

SoupDragon Wed 17-Sep-08 13:23:58

Definitely sleep when the baby sleeps. You only have this option with a first-born child so make the most of it!!

Tommy Wed 17-Sep-08 13:24:57

agree with don't worry about housework and jiust sleep when baby does

ShowOfHands Wed 17-Sep-08 13:27:01

The best book you will read on this is very short. It's called "Sleep Whenever You Can", it's one chapter long and explains that you can forget the housework and all that other peripheral crap and get some shut-eye. It suggest that if you're breastfeeding, you learn to do it lying down asap. It concludes that you will cope, you will adjust, your body knows how to do this.

One day I will write this book and give it away for free.

pamelat Wed 17-Sep-08 13:28:19

I agree that adrenalin gets you by. I feel a lot worse now (DD 8 months) than in those first few months

Shooflypie Wed 17-Sep-08 23:54:24

Read ShowOfHands's book smile.
In the first 4-6 weeks when you are feeding round the clock, sleep when the baby does and don't mind spending all morning or all afternoon in bed if you want to. Also it gives you lots of bonding and snuggles with LO.
Co-sleep - we didn't plan on doing this but found it brilliant and still do. Once the baby is big enough to go for a little longer between feeds, it's just the same as a good night's sleep. DP and I loooove our sleep so were wondering about this too but it's been much easier than we expected. I only read Margo Sutherland's What Every Parent Should Know, after we started co sleeping but it's got lots of interesting (properly researched) info on the benefits to the baby.

TheGabster Thu 18-Sep-08 07:52:33

Absolutely - must sleep when the baby sleeps. Definitely can only do this with the first so make the most of it.

Housework etc can go to rot. Only visitors are good friends/family to start with so they know you well enough to not be bothered, or do it for you!!

Book - No Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantly - has lots of good info and techniques and wish I had known about it much sooner.

travellingwilbury Thu 18-Sep-08 07:56:05

I liked the Baby Whisperer but like others have said all babies are different .

The best advice I was given was

Don't stand if you can sit
Don't sit if you can lie down
Don't be awake if you can sleep

Marvellous advice (and some days I even took notice)wink

whoisdoingthedishes Thu 18-Sep-08 09:56:22

the good thing about books its that you can get an idea of how often they need to sleep and how to get the signs of tiredness. I know it sounds obviuos but I had no clue whatsoever.

But don't get stressed about routines and sleep training yet.

Bramshott Thu 18-Sep-08 10:03:02

Learn to feed lying down.

Accept that you will feel like the living dead, but that the worst of it will only be for a short time - about 12 weeks.

Revise your opinions of a good night's sleep - I am CRAP without a proper night's sleep, but I reckon my minimum requirement to function is 6 hours. So once you can get 3 x 2 hour stretches in between feeds, that counts as a whole night's sleep.

Don't let your DH get away with it often, but if he's really feeling it and has a big day at work, suggest he sleeps in the spare room.

Good luck! It really won't be as bad as you think you know (or at least, not for long)!

ellenmarsh Thu 18-Sep-08 10:08:08

I've got both Gina Ford's Contented Baby and the Baby Whisperer books and they make me feel inadequate as my baby is doing everything wrong according to them - and it's all my fault! However, I am a very happy mum and have a very happy baby! So my advice is read the books if you want to (they each have some useful advice) but don't blame yourself if your baby won't conform. My best buy has been a wraparound sling - baby falls asleep in it almost instantly - and if you need to you can get on with stuff around the house and even sleep with it on (I managed to lie on my back on the settee, slightly propped up and got as much daytime sleep as baby - and it is just lovely having baby snuggled up on you, does wonders for bonding!). You will find that even if you are woken up during the night, you will easily fall back to sleep - the same can't be said for your other half but some special Mummy hormones will help you cope (and it is surprising how quickly you will get used to having a bit less sleep at night). Enjoy!

Bramshott Thu 18-Sep-08 10:37:28

Oh, and be religious about going to bed early - my DH thought I was being obsessive because I wouldn't stay up a second later than 10.00 for months, but it does stand you in good stead - between 9.30 and 10 I would get ready for bed, wake DD2 up if she was asleep, change her, feed her lying down in our bed, then settle down for the night.

pudding25 Thu 18-Sep-08 12:32:19

Everyone says go to sleep when the baby does - but just to warn you (it may not happen but in case it does) I could never relax enough to sleep when DD did. Neither could a couple of my friends and it used to stress me out even more when people told me (and tell me still as she is only 4mths) to sleep when she sleeps.

Nevertheless, you just do get on with it and have really grumpy days and then good ones.

I bought Gina Ford and Baby Whisperer. If you do buy them, follow them loosely otherwise you will stress out.

The best thing I learnt from the above books was that little babies need to go back to sleep within 2 hrs of waking. Also, we started a good bedtime routine from about 1wk (it took about 5wks for it to really start working).

DD is 4mths old and is in bed by 7pm every night and we get our evenings to ourselves.

Good luck with the new baby. It is bloody exhausting whatever you do but AMAZING!!! Wait until your baby first smiles at you {smile}

claireybee Thu 18-Sep-08 12:45:02

Don't read any books! They will leave you feeling as if it is all your fault that you aren't getting any sleep and put more pressure on you to get baby sleeping through (IME). Honestly, i found I coped much better when I stopped stressing about when/if mine were going to sleep and just went with it. Also don't compare how your baby sleeps to others, they are all different. Some sleep, some don't and some REALLY don't.

You will be knackered, yes, but you will survive it. I used to feel like I had to be up and dressed and the house cleaned and out the door before 10am or people would think I couldn't cope, really who cares?

And keep mumsnetting, you get mums with all sorts of babies and all sorts of ways of dealing with things on here which I love-I'd rather get a range of advice from people on here than read a one size fits all approach in a book. (especially as in RL the only people I seem to meet have babies that sleep through from 3 weeks old or something ridiculous!)

nolongerchunkybutstillapudding Thu 18-Sep-08 16:31:41

if it makes you feel any less scared at the prospect, i have always been VERY keen on my sleep, yet have discovered it's possible to go... well, so far 8months without a single decent night's sleep. you have some really rough days tho, but it truly is surprising what you can cope with when you don't have a choice!

personally i hate baby books, my baby doesn't read them and has no interest in fitting in with their ideas of what he should be doing so they just made me feel shite. i've felt much better since i got rid of them so i can no longer refer to them to check how much i'm doing wrong.

and the baby whisperer has a nasty concept called 'accidental parenting' which is basically parenting without the aid of mrs whisperer... winds me up a wee bit that. it's like we couldn't get anything right for our own babies by doing things our own way...

good luck! get as much help as you can and never ever say no if anyone offers to do anything for you.

pamelat Thu 18-Sep-08 18:17:32

See I couldnt sleep when DD does because when she was very little she would only sleep if I walked or drove her. At nights we took it in turns to do hourly shifts holding her and jiggling!
Now I am not sure that I would "Put up with that!!" but its different when you have a tiny newborn that you just want to make happy.
However, I love my sleep and I survived

ajm200 Thu 18-Sep-08 18:20:53

Feed baby then both go to bed
Put a note on the door saying 'mum and new baby are sleeping, please come back later'
Also, unplug the phone.

Swaddling can really help a restless little one to settle. They are used to being in a really tight space and some don't like being able to thrash about.

ajm200 Thu 18-Sep-08 18:24:37

We also has very distinct night and day routines. Baby slept downstairs, in a crib in daylight during the day. We iinteracted with him when he was awake, lots of cuddles, play, etc.

Nighttime, we fitted a dimmer in the bedroom, kept the light right down, changed him, fed him, changed him again if necessary and tucked him back in his crib to sleep. No real stimulation, chatting or noise. We always put him down awake and by 6 weeks he slept through 10-6.

I know it sounds old fashioned but it worked for us. We never left him to cry though

StarlightMcKenzie Thu 18-Sep-08 18:28:23

Message withdrawn

whoisdoingthedishes Fri 19-Sep-08 11:58:55

If you are in the 'cuddle baby when it cries' camp, then probably you know about Attachment Parenting. Its also helpful to read about it besides the Gina Ford and Baby Whisperer so you know not everything is about turning your children into little soldiers.

MrsBates Fri 19-Sep-08 12:20:50

Not a fan of the Gina Ford etc methods because my (and my DHs) instincts are the cuddling ones. Actually hate the whole Gina thing - but it has worked well for some friends - too regimented for our lifestyle though.

Did have a book published by the Millpond Sleep Clinic called 'Teach your child to sleep'. Deals with different ages and types of problem. Look up the Millpond website and see if it seems helpful. Didn't really use the book though. It's on a dusty shelf with one about speed cleaning tips and one on clearing clutter.

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