It has been months since I have slept through the night. I wake most mornings feeling like I didn't rest at all. My darling baby girl is teething and wakes at regular intervals through the night to alert me that she is still unhappy about the changes in her mouth.
I know that at some point in the near future she will start to sleep through the night, and I will once again rest well, but waiting for that night to come is taking a toll on my mind and body.
You would think that after having 4 other children that sleep training would be second nature to me, but I'll admit, I stink at it. I guess I am a softy, because I hate to hear my baby crying at night. I have tried every method out there and always cave and go get her.
Actually if I am honest, none of my children really slept through the night until after they were over a year old. In fact, my oldest two slept in the bed with us most nights until they were about 14 months old. I really do not recommend doing this. It was not good for any of us, and I slept even less those nights; afraid I would somehow suffocate the baby in my sleep. It was just not good for any of us.
The good news is that I have been through this before and know that there is light at the end of the tunnel. In the mean time, here are a few tips I use to help keep my sanity during those long sleepless nights.
Sleep while baby sleeps
I know that everybody says this, but I am learning this the hard way. It really is so important to try and sleep while your baby is sleeping. This is a little harder if you have other children, but there is no reason that EVERYONE can't take a nap (or at least rest) while baby is sleeping. Also when baby goes to bed, you probably should too (this is really "do as I say, not as I do"). Those dishes and chores can wait. Your body needs rest!
Eat healthy meals
Protein! Protein! Protein! Make sure you are eating protein and leafy greens every single day! I can not tell you how much of a difference this can make in how you feel. On the same note, avoid sugary snacks as they will give you a boost of energy, but cause you to crash quickly. I also avoid caffeine, I feel it has the same effect as sugar. Snack on fresh fruit or veggies. I like to keep clementines, grapes, apples, baby carrots, grape tomatoes or celery on hand. My kids eat through the fruit as quickly as I bring it into the house, so I generally end up eating the veggies.
Shower, get dressed, do your hair, brush your teeth
It is amazing how fresh and awake you can feel by just taking a warm shower. If you are a night shower person, be sure to get dressed in the morning. Don't make the tempting mistake of staying in your pj's all day. Staying in jammies when you are tired will only make you feel like you need to crawl back into bed all day (trust me, I know). If you want to put on sweats, go for it, just don't leave on the clothes in which you slept. Also brush that hair! Pull it into a ponytail if you need to, but brush that tangled mess. Don't forget to brush those teeth while you are at it. You need to be good to yourself!
Try to exercise as much as you can. It really will go a long way towards waking you up, and will allow you to sleep better. If you find it hard to do because you have other children, stick them in a stroller or on a bike and walk around the block. Grab a hula hoop or jump rope and play with them outside. See who can keep it going the longest. Draw hop scotch squares with chalk on your driveway and play a few games with them. Dance to some music while making breakfast or lunch. They will think it is funny and most likely will join you. Try running up and down the stairs as many times in a row as you can or do lunges while holding a full laundry basket.
Use a cool mist spray for a pick me up
Keep a spray bottle with cool water. When you feel as though you need a pick me up, spritz your face and neck. You can even add some cucumber slices to the water for some extra zip. I also like to keep some facial oils on hand. They act the same way, and keep my skin looking great.
Don't be afraid to accept help
At some point you will most likely be so tired you just need to accept help from others. For me this was the hardest thing ever! I would follow people around my house and tell them, "oh I will do that. Leave it I will get to it later." Folks, DO NOT DO THIS. Take the help they are offering. They are offering because they want to help, so just accept it as the gracious gift it is. Don't insult them by saying you will do it yourself. I would also say if you have children old enough to do chores,
make them let them. My 5 year old sets and clears the table, my 7 and 10 year old help with laundry, trash, dishes, sweeping, vacuuming, dusting, and on occasion they even clean the bathroom.
No matter what, always enjoy your baby. This child is a precious gift. Eventually you will sleep normally again, just give it time.
What things have you done to help with your restless nights?
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