Actress and producer Catherine Heigl recently adopted her second daughter and spoke of her experiences with a new born baby as being so different from her previous experiences of parenthood.
While she admits to feeling like a sleep-deprived zombie in the first few weeks, she also spoke positively about her experiences.
The new born experience
Actress Catharine Heigl along with husband Josh Kelley had already adopted a first baby girl Naleigh at age 9 months. Naleigh is now three and new born Adelaide is now her adoptive sister.
Since her first adoptive daughter was already 9 months of age when she was adopted, Heigl had missed out on the new born experience the first time around.
So Adelaide who was adopted as a new born was a new experience for the actress. While she felt like a zombie for the first few weeks, this was still an experience she relished.
Though she was prepared for the sleepless nights and other new born problems, it was all new. It was more ‘chaotic’ than she had anticipated.
The positive that Heigl draws out of this is that the sleep deprivation and the night waking will stop after a while, and the child will settle down.
But meanwhile how does a parent cope!
Dealing with sleep deprivation as a new parent
One of the things that parents can do is to take turns at waking up for the baby. One night on and one night off will help give at least some restful and uninterrupted sleep to each parent.
If exclusively breastfeeding, a new mommy can pump breast milk in advance so that she doesn’t have to interrupt her sleep for a feed.
Consider co-sleeping or having the child’s crib right next to your bed. Also consider having an old fashioned cradle or swing for the baby.
This way when your baby does wake up in the night, he or she can be soothed back to sleep either with the sound of your voice or by the gentle swaying motion of the cradle. This means that your baby may nod off again without you even having to get up.
Dream feed your child. This means that you give your baby a snack while he or she is still asleep. Do this just before you turn in for the night yourself. This may mean that your child has a longer and more contented sleep.
And then there is the golden rule to catch up with sleep when you have a new born baby – Sleep when the baby does!