Cherub, monkey, chubby little dictator. However you think of your baby, there’s no question she has the incredible power to change your life. She shows you the world through her eyes, she inspires a love profound and unlike anything you’ve ever felt, and like a tiny wrecking ball, she takes your sleep schedule and smashes it to rubble. Then she stands over it and cackles, and then she demands a feed.
But sleep deprivation doesn’t start when baby arrives. Oh no. It starts much earlier. There are stages of pregnancy sleep destruction, and they go like this.
1. Narcolepsy runs rampant
Pregnancy starts with a tiredness so deep, you can feel it in your bones. Everywhere, all the time, all you want to do is sleep. You might nod off on the train to work, or in a meeting when your boss is mid-important point. Right after dinner feels like a perfectly acceptable time to call it a night, and waking 12 hours later doesn’t make you feel rested, it just makes you wonder when nap time is.
2. Insomnia takes over
The constantly sleeping stage of pregnancy is over, and for the lucky ones, so is morning sickness. What’s left for a pregnant woman to do than stay up all night obsessing about preparing for the baby and cursing the sleep that’s not coming? When you’re ready to give in and accept that sleep is out of reach, this is a good time to do all those nesting things. Deep clean the kitchen. Design and build a nursery suite. Pre-wash and precisely fold all the clothes from newborn to preschooler.
3. The loo becomes your best friend
Having to pee is a constant state throughout pregnancy, all day and all night. Drink a sip of water? Off to the loo. Look at a cup of tea for too long? Loo again. Dragging a bed into the bathroom and sleeping there isn’t a bad idea. If scientists did a study, we bet they’d find that pregnant women spend more time in the bathroom at night than they do sleeping in their beds.
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4. Back sleeping is forbidden
Sometimes it feels like being pregnant is all about following a list of don’ts. Don’t eat deli meats, don’t take lovely hot baths even if your back is aching, and after the second trimester, don’t sleep on your back. One of the body’s biggest veins runs just under the uterus, and lying on your back means the baby’s weight can collapse that vein, which makes for all kinds of dangerous.
5. Next level sleeplessness unlocked
Huzzah! The baby’s born, and no one is sitting on your bladder anymore. Here’s when sleeplessness gets ramped up though. Newborns have voracious appetites, and whether you’re breastfeeding or bottle feeding, you’ll constantly be on the clock.
At 3am, maternity bras and their fiddly clips are too much for an exhausted mama. While there’s nothing it can do about the sleeplessness, New Beginnings has created the Crop Top Bra ($39.95), a specially woven cotton and elastane blend bra that provides light to medium support and is perfect for sleeping and breastfeeding. There’s no underwire, no clips, and the soft, supportive fabric stretches up to three sizes so you’ll be supported however your body changes during pregnancy and beyond. The bra comes in black and white, sizes small to extra large and is available online at New Beginnings.
My kids are young yet, so my expertise ends here, but I’ve heard sleep gets better – until your son is 18 and on his first trip overseas. Then it’s insomnia all over again.
(This is a sponsored post for New Beginnings)