To me, sleep is everything. If I’m caught up on my sleep, I’m a better mommy: I’m more patient; I’m happier; and I can better handle the days my daughter is extra fussy.
I wasn’t born with the “napping” gene. I just don’t nap. My husband only needs to put his feet up, rest his head back and BOOM he’s zonked out. And when he wakes up, he’s singing. Me? On the rare occasion that I have managed to nap, I wake up disoriented, grumpy and even more tired.
Pumpkin was born after a long labour – I had only gotten 4 hours of sleep over 2 and a half days. It didn’t take me long to crash from exhaustion. I quickly learned that if I wanted to enjoy my adorable newborn at all, I would need to sleep.
Everyone tells us “sleep when the baby sleeps.” Don’t get me wrong, it’s great advice if you happen to be born with the “napping” gene. So I am going to change that advice to: “make your own sleep a priority.”
For me, “make your own sleep a priority” looked like this:
- I went to bed as early as possible. Pumpkin, like most babies under 4 months of age, was fussy and breastfed off and on (“cluster-fed”) during the evening hours. My husband would soothe her when she was not nursing so I could get ready for bed. Once she fell asleep, I went to bed too.
- I also slept in as late as possible. Thankfully I was born with the “sleep-in” gene. If Pumpkin was interested in going back to sleep after nursing, I would continue sleeping myself as long as I could.
- On weekends, my husband would get up with Pumpkin when she refused to go back to sleep after nursing, and I would sleep in. In turn I would give him time to nap later in the day if he needed to.
Nowadays I protect my sleep by staying away from my smartphone before bedtime, avoiding caffeine after noon, and going to bed early.
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