Thursday, September 19, 2013

5 Ways For New and Not So New Parents To Cope With Baby Crying At Night

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Waking at 2am, then feeding, carrying, diaper changes, cooing, and burping a crying baby are things new and not so new parents have to get used to in the first year of their child’s life. Getting a good night’s sleep within the first six months of having a child may be just a dream.

I was reading a post on Wives Connection about a lady who was about to have a baby soon and needed recommendations on what to buy and where. The first congratulations came with the disclaimer, get ready for sleepless nights. I laughed when I saw that because it's absolutely true. I was there for a week when my cousin's baby arrived, and when we spoke some days ago, she was only beginning to have her full night sleep.

While every baby is different, many babies can sleep five hours straight by the time they reach 3 months of age, while by 6 months of age, they can sleep nine to 12 hours straight, according to the Mayo Clinic. But until they get to that stage, parents have lost a significant amount of sleep.

Here are some strategies that can help you cope, and catch up before exhaustion creeps in.

1. Make sure mom and dad are sharing night time duties, and if there's a helper, like a grandma or any other relative, parents should try to let go sometimes.

2. If mom has been doing all the work, then she should hide one day. Naughty right? Yes, desperate times call for desperate measures.

3. OK, maybe #2 is not so feasible. Why not ask nicely? Go away for a night if you can to a friend's place or your parents or even a hotel room while your partner or mother stays with baby. Just make sure you're not in the same house.

4. Not doable? Sleep early. How about that? Whether baby is asleep or not, once it's 5pm or 6pm, go to bed and wake for the next feeding time.

5. Put on the TV or Radio. Play music or a cartoon that will distract baby or calm and soothe him or her.

6. Ear Plugs or Valium. Tola suggested this last bit, though he later disavowed it, lol. If you decide to use this strategy, make sure there's someone else there to take care of baby.

Congrats to all new and intending mothers reading this. For the old hands among us, what else would you add?

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