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Two + Two + Two ≠ 6 — Fighting Sleep Deprivation with a Newborn

2+2+2When we found out that we were first expecting, a very analytical friend told me, “You know 2+2+2 does not equal 6 when you are talking about sleep.”

You get so much advice when you are expecting that this was just another piece that I filed away, but by week 2 it was something that my wife and I really took to heart.  After the adrenaline wears off and if you have had the luxury of having your parents/others help out, it is all about trying to get into a rhythm and a schedule.

The second week was by far the worst, I finally went back to work and I literally felt drunk half the time, a task that would usually take me 15-20 minutes would take me an hour.  I was just exhausted, I was trying to be a good husband and father, and would get up with my wife when she was feeding the baby (even though she was not breast feeding) and help where I could.

After a few days we realized that this situation was not good for anyone.  I was crushed at work and my wife was tired during the day, I am not sure if it was someone that suggested it or if it was something we figured out, but we finally got settled into a routine that helped us out.

What worked for us:

  • I would come home from work, my wife and I would eat, she would feed the baby at around 9 and go to bed around 9:30.
  • I would stay up, and do work or watch TV (very nice during football season) and do the midnight feeding and go to sleep around 12:30am
  • My wife would get up for the 3am feeding
  • I would get up for work and do the 6am feeding.

The biggest benefit of the staggered schedule is the fact that you can get about 5+ hours of interrupted sleep.  It not only helps you, but it also helps your wife – sleep is the great equalizer and healer.  You can only go for so long without recharging the battery. And I can promise you that napping, while great during the day, is not so great in the middle of the night.

4 Responses to “Two + Two + Two ≠ 6 — Fighting Sleep Deprivation with a Newborn”

  1. Sean Buvala says:

    Great, quick article to help the new parents figure out the napping/sleeping schedule. I guess I would just encourage new dads to remember that these stages don’t last long. The baby who doesn’t sleep tonight will be asking for the car keys in a blink of your mind’s eye.

    I’d also encourage dads/moms to explore the ideas of the “family bed” or “co-sleeping.” For many families, this is an effective and sleep-inducing idea.


  2. gee says:

    I totally agree with you…we followed a similar routine and it did wonders for us…

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