TIP #1: Go to bed early (I NEVER follow this tip. And EVERY morning I wish I had!)
TIP #2: Sleep when your baby sleeps. IF they have a decent nap! I know some kids will catnap and this isn't helpful. BUT my point is, the washing can wait, have a nanna nap during the day if you can!
TIP #3: Sleep in on your partner's days off. I mean, I get up with her every night, the least he can do is take the morning shift so I can catch up on some sleep!
TIP #4: Plan your morning the night before. It is SO much easier to get out of bed if you have some kind of plan of action for the day... waking up EXHAUSTED and thinking "what am I going to do for 6 hours until nap time?" is enough to make you wanna cry.
TIP #5: Treat yourself. If you are having a particularly bad night, you can get through it by saying to yourself, "RIGHT! I am going to be extremely tired tomorrow. So I am going to take Butterfly to the coffee shop for an iced chocolate!" is a way of accepting it and giving you something to look forward to. OR I plan to make pancakes for breakfast. They delicious, and it keeps Butterfly happy (she loves to make them and eat them, too!)... can anyone say, emotional eater? LOL
TIP #6: Remember WHY you are doing this. It is what is best for her. A few years of hard work will pay off for the rest of your life!
TIP #7: IF you are planning on napping when she does, don't get too attached to the idea UNTIL she is asleep! What I mean is, I often lie down to feed her to sleep for a nap, get all dozy and glad I can finally get some sleep, and she will decide she doesn't want a nap! I have been known to cry, or scream into my pillow, when this happens! So say to yourself "she probably won't sleep just now. So when she's had enough milk we will
TIP #8: chuck a positive spin on the situation. I read once that night waking babies have a higher IQ. If this isn't true, I don't care, it makes me feel better at 2am! (and 3am and 4am and 5am LOL)
TIP #9: positive affirmations! Repeat some in your head to keep you in the right headspace... "I accept you, just as you are" "I will be here as often as you need me" etc
TIP #10: COSLEEP! How can I forget this one! I would get NO sleep if I actually had to haul ass out of bed to feed Butterfly! Now, I know some people (and babies) hate to share the same bedspace. Actually, thats us! Butterfly sleeps in her cot, with one side removed, pushed up against our bed. Its exactly the same level. So we sleep on the same level but each have our own space. This is also a great option for those petrified of rolling onto your child.
TIP #11: Its ok to get mad, to get upset, and to need help. We are only human, and even the best of us will crack after a night of literally NO sleep (I've had nights where B has woken so often that I hadn't even gotten back to sleep between feeds!) It can be hard to drag yourself out of a funk. Try some of the tips above, and if all else fails, consult a block of chocolate! Recently I was having a terrible day, Butterfly woke up early after a horrendous night. I said, much to my own disappointment "Joss, this isn't just about you! Mummy needs sleep, OK? Go back to sleep!" she replied with, "no, no seep, mummy"... so I started to cry. Her bottom lip fell, she hates to see me upset. She said, "No, no sad mummy" and grabbed my face, planting a big kiss on my lips, "Happy?" she asked? How could I not be! What an angel! I felt much better after that.
On a really bad day I will take Butterfly somewhere where she will have fun with minimal effort from me. Like, an indoor play area at a shopping centre. OR I'll resort to sticking in a DVD and lying on the couch. We don't watch a lot of TV so the occasional day won't hurt!
Seriously, I have just gotten used to sleep deprivation over time. I hardly notice it anymore! When Butterfly was younger and woke only once during the night, I'd wake in the morning like a zombie! We didn't cosleep back then so I had to get up! Nowadays I can function fine on little sleep.
My heart goes out to all the other tired Mummas around! You aren't alone!
If you have any sleep deprivation tips, I would love to hear them. What do you do on your worst days?