Its no secret that the first month of a precious baby's life can be tough on the parents. That first month consists of an apparently never ending cycle of feeding, comforting and nappy changing that goes on day and night, day after day. Eventually fatigue wears you down…
Or does it?
What if there was a way to make getting up over and over throughout the night less draining?
During our first month, our usual routine went something like this…
1) Baby wakes up and starts to cry.
2) I spring out of bed (really) and change her nappy. My wife wound up having a cesarean so she was initially unable to easily get out of bed on her own and also still pretty dopey from the pain meds so she often wouldn't be entirely awake just yet.
3) Once our baby was clean and dry I take her to my wife who feeds her.
4) Once the milk transfer is complete I put both baby and wife back to bed so we can all get one to maybe three hours sleep before we do it all again.
Sounds simple enough but I've left out two mini-steps that are all too important if you want to sleep well and wake up fresh each and every time.
After handing off the freshly changed baby, run to the toilet to pee. Then, head to the kitchen and drink a glass of water. But what if you aren't thirsty? Doesn't matter. Drink it anyway.
This glass of water will help you avoid dehydration and, more importantly, it will give your body reason to wake you in a few hours. That means that just as your little bundle of joy starts complaining about it's wet nappy you will also be in the process of waking up to go empty your bladder.
Even though the first month saw a net reduction in the amount of sleep I got, I found this trick of simply drinking a glass of water with every nappy change radically improved how I felt. I woke up fresh and ready to get on with my chores.
In fact, now that our baby is sleeping four to eight hours overnight I have stopped with the water and actually feel worse than what I did when I was getting up every two hours. Now when the baby cries I feel like I am being jolted out of a coma. I'm being dragged, unwillingly, from the arms of deep restful slumber and frequently wake up groggy and grumpy.
The human body is amazing in its complexity. But for all that complexity it follows a simple rule, what goes in must come out, and you can exploit that to your advantage. Try it. It really works.