One of the biggest challenges every new parent face is sleep deprivation. It is definitely my biggest challenge so far. There have been days where I struggle to keep my eyes open, especially with the lack of caffeine intake. This is the problem with breastfeeding or pumping, you are limited to the amount of tea or coffee you are allowed each day, and even then I have to time it so carefully to ensure that I don't pass the caffeine onto my baby. (FYI, no caffeine at least 2 hours before pumping or feeding, the best time is right after pumping or feeding.)
So apart from caffeine, what else can you do to give yourself that extra boost of energy to be a functioning mum? How are some of the things I do to deal with Sleep deprivation:
5 mins of meditation can do wonders and give you that kick of energy you need to survive. I find that when I am exhausted, but I can't have a cup of tea because I am about to pump or feed, I do 5 to 10 mins of meditation to give my eyes and mind that much needed rest.
Whether it is a guided meditation or you just shutting your eyes and concentrating on your breathing for this short period of time, you will be surprised how refresh you will feel afterward.
I find the time I need caffeine the most is during the feeds. Maybe because Joshua is a slow eater and it usually takes at least 45 mins, but there are times I find myself nodding off mid feed.
If I am breastfeeding, I have to make sure I don't have any caffeine in my system at least 2 hours before, which can be hard. That is why sometimes I prefer pumping. At least I can pump a bit earlier, have my cup of tea and then feed Joshua.
The best thing about pumping is, you can control your timing a bit better. The annoying thing about pumping is that you do have more washing up to do and more time-consuming.
Never underestimate a power nap; in fact, one of the key thing to surviving parenthood is power napping. Finding the time to nap can be tricky, especially when there isn't much time in between each feed.
When my cleaner comes, I take full advantage of the fact there is another adult in the house to keep an eye on Joshua. So I take this opportunity to take my power nap. I sleep better when I know there is someone else in the house to keep an eye on him. When I am alone and take my nap, I never go into a deep sleep as subconsciously, I am always ready to jump up in a minute notice.
Go for a walk
There are days when I don't leave the house at all because I barely have enough time to do everything. But when I have help, it is nice to go out for a little walk or simply run a few errands.
I love being a mum, but there are times it is refreshing to go out and do things without worrying about the baby. It gives your brain a bit of rest, and a little exercise is always good to wake yourself up, even if it is just going for a quick walk around the block.
I have found that when I am dehydrated, I am just more tired, with or without a baby. Now with a baby, I can feel it even more. It is essential that you drink enough water, especially if you are breastfeeding or pumping. Every time you breastfeed or pump, you lose a lot of water to produce breastmilk, so it is important to replenish water for yourself. If you don't drink enough, you won't have enough milk either.
Remember to eat
I know it is easy to forget to feed yourself when you are exhausted, even for someone like me, who LOVES food. But when you can barely keep your eyes open, eating become secondary.
However, it is important to remember to eat. You need the energy to function as well. Not only are you burning calories while breastfeeding, but you will food to give you the strength to take care of your little one.
Ask for help
I know this might not always be an option, but if you can, there is no shame in asking for help. If your parents are around and don't mind babysitting for an hour or two, this is better than nothing. At least it can free you up to run some errands or to do household chores quickly.
Of course, if you have a full-time helper that is even better, as an extra pair of hands can do wonders when you have a baby.
This one is a short fix, and you cannot do this in the long run or else you will burn out. However, if there are days when you have no help and no time to rest because your little one is restless, then the best thing to do is power on and keep going.
I know this is less of a choice but rather a necessity, but I do find when I keep myself busy and constantly on the go, I can stay awake from the adrenaline rush. You will be surprised how your body manages to deal with it.
Slash some cold water...
...on your face. Ideally, I will jump in the shower to wake myself up a bit, but when you are a mum, you simply don't have the time sometimes. So when I am really dropping and only got a minute to spare, I give myself a quick splash of cold water in my face to wake myself up. If I don't need to hold my baby after, I sometimes sneak in a quick paper or gel face mask. As it is quite cold, it helps keeps me awake, plus I can give my skin some much needed TLC.
How do you keep yourself awake from sleep deprivation? Are there any tricks you would like to share? Please leave me a comment below if you can share some of your methods of dealing with sleep deprivation.
Sending you love and positive thoughts,