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Mum and Dad

Updated: Nov 7, 2021

So naturally when we bring life into this world, doctors, midwives, maternal health nurses, even sleep consultants, focus their attention on baby. This is totally understandable; they need a lot of monitoring, and we literally need to keep our little ones alive.

However, lets talk about Mum and Dad for a minute, who are also at a very vulnerable point in their lives.

Let’s be honest here. Prior to bub, did we ever imagine parenthood to be as hard as it actually is? Don’t get me wrong, we all know it’s going to be hard, but can you truly say it’s as challenging as you expected?

I still remember when I was pregnant with my first, Rory, my husband was complaining that I got 12 months off work “Why can’t we do 6 months each?” he said. Well, let me tell you, he had 6 weeks off after Rory was born and he couldn’t get back to work fast enough! Because being a parent at home is the real work – it’s HARD.

It is the most important, challenging, yet most rewarding job a person could ever have. How emotionally confusing is this?! Not to mention the endless unconditional love for your child, who now makes you more vulnerable than you’ve ever felt in your life. If you add in a woman’s recovery after pregnancy and the hormonal imbalance, plus SLEEP DEPRIVATION, you will soon come to realise a woman is doing the hardest job she’ll ever do feeling her worst.

That’s not to say Dad isn’t either. What was once as simple as going to work for 8 hours a day, coming home, putting your feet up, maybe going to the gym, has turned into walking into a NUTHOUSE of witching hour, tantrums and the bedtime struggle. I’m exhausted just writing that!

Personally, for me, that struggle was grieving my old life. Because that’s exactly what some of us do. No more gym, no more freedom to browse Kmart - now if I wanted to do that it would come with a crying baby, poo explosions in the shopping centre – a whole lot of stress! There was no more staying up late watching our favorite TV shows because if Rory wasn’t in my arms, he was probably going to wake pretty soon anyway. No more going to the toilet on my own, or having a shower in peace.. the list could go on and on and I’m sure every parent reading this blog could add to it!

Life becomes monotonous and there is no ‘downtime’ or headspace for parents. Sometimes I feel like I’ve really lost the plot when I’m lying in bed of a night with Little Baby Bum or Cocomelon nursery rhymes going over and over in my head. I couldn’t tell you about any new releases on the radio for the past 2.5 years – but I could sing you every song off the Play School playlist.

However, you soon adapt to your new life because no matter how challenging the change of life is, you wouldn’t have it any other way. You’d do anything for these little human beings.

It can very easily become too much though. It is not hard to fall into postpartum anxiety or depression. Sleep deprivation especially, can contribute to that. When you’re sleep deprived, you can’t make clear decisions, yet we are expected to make some of the most important decisions of our lives for our little ones during this time. When you have two sleep deprived parents on your hands you can also guarantee your relationship is going to hit some rocky times.

If we aren’t getting the deep sleep required for our immune systems to repair or the REM sleep required to process and store information, we are eventually going to break down and get sick. If this consistently occurs night after night our sleep pressure builds up and up and at what point do we get help? When we’re in the hospital? After we’ve had a nervous breakdown?

Yes, when you have a baby, you definitely expect to be moving into a world with less sleep. 100%. However, sleep IS as important as food for a human being. We need it to stay alive. We would never deprive ourselves or our little ones of food, why would we deprive ourselves of sleep if we can do something about it?

Don’t wait for breaking point or for your relationship to suffer until you get help.

If things are starting to fall apart or getting too much, I can confidently say, if you fix the sleep deprivation everything else clicks into place. I mean, you still aren’t going to be able to go into Kmart and avoid tantrums or poo explosions, but I guarantee you, if you aren’t sleep deprived, you will deal with those stressful situations a whole lot better!

If you help your child develop good sleep skills, those tantrums will become less frequent because tantrums can very well be a child’s way of expressing overtiredness. Not in all cases, but a lot of them. I can also say with 100% confidence and experience that teaching your child to be a good sleeper WILL gain you back some downtime, headspace and quality time with your partner.

Mum and Dad, to you I say; you’re doing a beyond AMAZING job. Be kind to yourself, and it’s okay to put yourself first sometimes. Get out for that walk or run if you can.

And most importantly, please reach out to me if you need help in the sleep department. I’d only be happy to help get things back on track for you and your family!

Holly x

Contact our sleep consultant today to book your free introductory consultation.


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