How do you cope with work when you have a baby at home?
No matter how ambitious we are and how demanding our job is, we all think at some point about becoming parents. For some of us this remains just a question or a topic of discussion or even a closed chapter. For the rest of us, we plan it and organise it and look forward to it, when it happens.
But very few of us really consider coping strategies with lack of sleep during the first years of our baby’s life.
We might think of this as a new project in our world, a very challenging one, but with the constructive attitude we are used in the line of business, we are sure we’ll get positive results.
For the first time parents, the scenario of countless sleepless nights is not by far foreseen.
“This one was not on the chart, as forecasted. It will be tough for a while, like in any project at the beginning, but it cannot last long.”
This is what many active people think.
However, it might take you by surprise to realise that when it does happen, you feel unprepared and overwhelmed by the beauty as well by the challenges of this special event.
The main reason we are not prepared for long term sleep deprivation is because we always disregarded sleep as something we can catch up later with, something we have plenty, therefore there is no real reason to hang on to it, to appreciate it. It will always be there. Moreover, every time we lost a couple of nights, we managed to trick ourselves and pushed our body to its limits with coffee and other stimulants.
However, life shows us another story: sleep is not always available, around the corner and if we don’t take care of it, of us, it will hit right back with instable emotional well-being, lower cognitive function, poor daytime performance and it could even affect our physical and mental health.
So, if you are a good strategist, I’d advise you to make a few baby sleep steps before you welcome your baby into the world:
- Take the necessary safe sleep measures for your baby to avoid increasing any risk of fatality to your baby while sleeping: back sleeping, no blankets or cot bumpers, small size comforter, no smoking, alcohol or drugs, no bed sharing, yes to room share and yes to breastfeeding.
- Make your baby’s room as sleep friendly as possible: baby bassinet close to family bed, dark sleeping room, with a max. temperature of 20 °C, white noise, no mobile over baby bay.
- Consider sleep hygiene or create habits which help your baby have a good night sleep such as: swaddle your baby, watch your baby for tired signs and age appropriate awake time, use the dummy if baby accepts it.
- Baby feeding plan: feed your baby on demand at first, but slowly start a flexible routine with full feeds, split feeds and dream feed to help your baby get longer stretches of sleep, avoid sleep association like rocking or walking your baby to sleep, introduce a formula bottle after breastfeeding has been established.
- Be prepared for some colic or tummy ache during the first 3 months of your baby’s life and keep your calm knowing it is normal, you cannot influence it much, but it will soon pass.
Fortunately something very smart and helpful has been invented during the last decades to help babies and their parents cope better during these challenging times when they start this great project together: Baby Sleep Coaching! It consists of a range of techniques parents, supported by coaches teach their babies in order to learn how to fall asleep autonomously and stay asleep for longer stretches of time. You can thus get all the tools you need, as new parents, to help your baby in any situation when his or her sleep is disturbed. And then you can get some sleep too and be even more productive at work!
Awesome, right? 🙂
Many parents I worked with told me they regret they did not start sleep coaching their baby sooner, many months ago so they could all get better restorative sleep and build healthy sleep habits for the entire family.
“If only we knew how many things we could do to help our baby sleep better, in such a short period of time, in such a gentle way while still catering for our baby’s most important needs like love and connection”.
This is what one grateful mother wrote to me.
Because only when you are terribly sleep deprived you realise what a precious gift sleep is.
So, don’t wait any longer! Be the CEO of your family, think ahead, accept help and get the healthy restorative sleep you and your family deserve!
And remember, things can always change; it is up to you if you are ready for it or not.
If you need more support with sleep coaching your baby and be also fit at work, I am happy to connect.