Going back to work after having a baby is a big deal. Whether you're getting the sleep you need or not, it's still one of the hardest things that I've ever had to do (both times!). Balancing the needs of your baby whilst trying to be the same employee you were before you left isn't easy -- let alone if you're up multiple times a night resettling a child -- then the lack of sleep can be draining.
Cracking sleep with little ones is often a long process so here are some key tips on getting through the work days when you are struggling on that night time sleep:
Daylight. Absolutely crucial for mental well being and regulating our body's circadian rhythm (our internal 24hr clock) which leads to better focus and better sleep. This is particularly key for little ones -- getting those curtains open within 20mins of waking up is really important for our bodies natural rhythm. If you want to go one better -- get outside with a cup of tea whilst you feed baby -- you will all reap the benefits.
Eat right. It's so easy to grab quick fixes when we're tired and the pressures are mounting at home and work but eating as healthily as you can, and drinking plenty of fluids is really going to help.
Take time for you. I still struggle with this one but it's really important. I often find that it allows me to gain clarity, to shift my focus on the things that matter and to get a better perspective. Mindset is the single most important factor influencing our decisions and our success. This plays a lot into the success of any sleep training technique you may be looking to implement!
Patience. Appreciate that things will be different and that it's a period of adjustment for you and baby. This may translate to night time sleep and some little ones may need extra comfort. Making them feel safe and secure is key whilst also trying to balance your own needs. Do what works for your family -- if that means a mattress on the floor in toddler's room for the interim until things have settled, then go with that! That's not discrediting any sleeping training methods or techniques, it is simply a reminder that when there's a lot of change going on, our babies need us more and that's okay. If you've got some well-meaning people in the office who comment on any sleep struggles, then just remember -- ALL CHILDREN ARE DIFFERENT! If you do want to make some changes to sleep, reduce those night wakings, have a calmer bedtime, night wean etc, then do so when things have settled, work is quieter and you can dedicate time and energy to it.
Ask for help. Some people hate asking for help through fear of being judged. But in my experience, once you ask, the offers will come flooding with zero judgement. Particularly in the sleep space, asking for help can sometimes feel like a failure -- it's absolutely not -- it is recognising that things need to change for the happiness of the whole family and getting someone who does this for their job, to give you the confidence and guidance you need