Baby's Not Sleeping Through the Night? Here's How to Not Feel So Exhausted

Wendy Robinson | Jan 26, 2016 Baby
Baby's Not Sleeping Through the Night? Here's How to Not Feel So Exhausted

sleeping mom and baby

It is one of the cruel ironies of life that while babies may sleep between 12 and 18 hours a day during their first year, many parents feel like they'd be lucky to be getting 12 to 18 hours of sleep a week.

Between getting up every few hours to feed and change the baby and trying to fit in basic life activities like, say, eating and showering every so often, it's no wonder that moms with babies can feel like they are tired all the time.

The good news is that it does get better, eventually. You and your baby really will sleep long stretches! It just takes time.
 
The better news is that we got some moms to share their tried-and-true tricks for dealing with the killer fatigue of that first year with a baby. So in the meantime -- while you're working on getting your baby to get some longer Zzzz's -- you can find ways to feel less like a zombie. Grab a cup of coffee and read on!
 
 
Image via iStock.com/mediaphotos
  • Share the Struggle

    1

    iStock.com/dima_sidelnikov

    "With my first child, I breastfed and was so worried about nipple confusion that I refused to do any bottle feeding for six months. I was so tired that I was a zombie. With the second baby, I started pumping as soon as we got home from the hospital, so my husband could help with nighttime feedings. I would do a 10 p.m. feed and then let him take the 1 a.m. wake-up call. By the time the next feeding came along, I had at least five hours of sleep in a row. Pumping was a total game changer." -- Marley W., Las Cruces, New Mexico

  • Don't Try to Be Superwoman

    2

    iStock.com/Сергей Хакимуллин

    "When you have a new baby, you have three jobs: make sure both you and baby eat, sleep, and go to the bathroom. That's it. It can be so easy to feel like you want to get other stuff done when the baby is sleeping, but nothing is more important than those three things. Let the laundry wait, let the dishes collect in the sink, don't zone out on the Internet -- go take a nap!" -- Diane L., Tucson, Arizona

  • Eat a Good Breakfast

    3

    iStock.com/jenifoto

    "When you're tired, it can be so easy to just shove whatever in your mouth and wash it down with coffee, coffee, coffee. I totally get that. But, as annoying as this advice is, I found that it really does help to have a decent breakfast. It gives you a boost of energy without the crash later. Even if you can just swing a bowl of cereal with fruit on top, you'll feel better about yourself than if you find yourself eating old Halloween candy instead. Trust me on this one!" -- Katie O., Ames, Iowa

  • Make the Time to Shower

    4
    Image Via iStock.com/piranka

    "Start every day with a shower -- no matter how tired you are! The blast of water will perk you up, and feeling clean will help with the 'what have I done to my life?' despair that comes with getting not enough sleep." -- Tori D., Costa Mesa, California

    More from CafeMom: This Mom Can Admit It: I Don't Shower Every Day

  • Breastfeed in the Side-Lying Position

    5

    iStock.com/matspersson0

    "The best thing my lactation consultation taught me was how to side-nurse. When my daughter wakes up for her early morning feeding, my partner changes her and then brings her to me and I roll to my side and place her on her side. She nurses and then we both usually fall back to sleep. We usually dose for an hour or so before she is ready to start the day, and that extra hour is amazing." -- Kelly S., St, Paul, Minnesota

  • Get a Breath of Fresh Air

    6
    Image Via iStock.com/LarsZahnerPhotography

    "Let me be brutally honest: My first baby was an awful sleeper. I don't think she slept through the night until she was in kindergarten. The first few months of her life were painful. I was so tired, I was afraid to drive because I thought I'd cause an accident. So I started walking to the grocery store every day to get food rather than drive and make one big trip. I eventually figured out that the walking and the fresh air helped with the fatigue. And my colic monster would sleep in her stroller. It can be hard to talk yourself into exercise when you're tired, but it really can help!" -- Joanna D., Springfield, Missouri

  • Plan a Day to Sleep In

    7

    iStock.com/Geber86

    "My husband and I made a deal that I got to sleep in as long as I wanted on Saturdays, no matter what. I did pretty much all of the nighttime wake-ups since he had work and I was nursing. When I was really tired, knowing that I could sleep until noon on Saturday gave me hope to carry on." -- Jessica M., Orlando, Florida

  • Divide the Night

    8

    iStock.com/mediaphotos

    "After struggling for a few months with getting the baby on a sleep schedule and dealing with us both being tired all the time, [my partner and I] decided that we had to figure out a way to maximize sleep for both of us, especially since I was getting ready to go back to work. We set up a system: I was in charge of any wake-ups that happened before midnight, and he was in charge of any that happened after midnight.

    "He started going to bed at 8:00 most nights, so he'd be sure to get at least four hours of straight sleep. I knew I'd be able to get at least six hours most nights, which was enough to keep me functional at work. A lot of nights, we'd get lucky and the baby would only wake up once or twice and we'd both have good rest." -- Anna T., Edina, Minnesota

  • Sleep When Baby Sleeps

    9

    iStock.com/Lorado

    "I know, I know ... this is the most clichéd advice. But really, take a nap when the baby takes a nap. You need the sleep more than anything else, and the cozy memory of taking a nap with your baby is one you'll look back on with fondness when they get bigger." -- Stacy V., Rome, Indiana

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