Lack of Sleep Makes New Moms Irritable: File Under Duh

April Peveteaux

I came across a breaking news story out of Australia that took me on a roller coaster ride. A new study found that sleep loss in your baby's first years can make you irritated. Um, yeah. Irritated is one word I'd use.

But then I realized that while parents do complain about it among themselves, it's not like you get a pass at work or in life when you're running on a half a tank.

Then the study ramped things up a bit when it identified a quarter of sleep-deprived moms with children under the age of 2 as having some pretty severe consequences: " ... Many of those feel unable to cope with life in general, a sleep report has found."

I do wonder how I got through most of my son's first year when I was working full-time and he wasn't sleeping, even part-time. There were certainly days I felt I couldn't cope and would've been better off staying at home and napping when he napped. However, he also needed food and shelter. So off to work I went, luckily hopping on and off the subway rather than getting behind the wheel.

How do we get through those first years under such harsh conditions? Longer paid maternity leave would certainly help. But stay-at-home moms also have to cope with life in general, even if they're not reporting to a boss every day (a boss other than the baby, of course).

I was beginning to find a lot of social health and welfare into this seemingly obvious article, when the roller coaster started to head down again.

Pampers co-sponsored this study in which they found a dirty diaper was often to blame for this sleep loss and recommended a change right before bed. Hmmm.

Sleep deprivation is pretty serious business that most people simply live with, but perhaps this isn't the study to cite when going before Congress to ask for federal action for paid maternity and paternity leave. Although, hey, poop in the night can be a problem. Maybe the Pampers folks are onto something.

Do you think sleep-deprivation after a baby is born is something worth studying?

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