How to take care of a new baby on barely any sleep

newbornHave a major procedure in hospital that results in physical pain and discomfort.

Do not sleep or eat for at least three days.

Ensure you are extremely hormonal.

Now you are ready to take on the biggest challenge of your life.

But do not panic. This step-by-step guide is all you need to know about taking care of a new baby when you are sleep-deprived, uncomfortable and generally feeling like crap…

Your day starts at 4am.

Baby wakes up for the tenth time so you bring her into your bed. By 4am you are more than happy to make a ‘rod for your own back’.

Attempt to get baby to sleep while lying down. Feed, sing, shush and pray until she falls asleep. This could take anything up to two hours.

Husband’s alarm goes off.

Then it goes off again.

And again.

Vow to file for divorce if he presses snooze ONE MORE time.

He presses snooze.


Have daily Whisper Shout row over the sleeping baby about the pros and cons of snooze button.

Husband leaves for work. On one hand you are glad to see the back of the selfish snoozing dickhead.

But on the other hand this means you are alone with the baby. A baby who won’t sleep or let you put her down. And you are tired. So tired.

Embark on the routine How The Hell Will I Make It Through The Day Cry. Baby wakes up.

Feed, burp, wipe, cry, cuddle, change, feed, burp, wipe, cry, cuddle…

Head downstairs with baby in search of coffee and breakfast.

Put baby down in gym. She screams. Put baby in bouncer. She screams. Put baby in Moses basket. She screams.

Try to put toast in and coffee on while carrying baby who now wants another feed.

Stare at blank TV screen for 30 minutes while you feed the baby because you can’t reach the remote.

Baby finishes feeding then throws up over you.

Feed, burp, wipe, cry, cuddle, change, feed, burp, wipe, cry, cuddle…

Walk baby round and round and round and ROUND AND ROUND the room in a desperate attempt to get her to sleep.

Place finally sleeping baby carefully in Moses basket.

Sneak into kitchen, spread butter on cold toast and place cold coffee in microwave.

Bite toast and baby wakes up. Immediately begin the Can I Not Just Have Five Minutes Kitchen Floor Cry.

Retrieve baby from basket.

Feed, burp, wipe, cry, cuddle, change, feed, burp, wipe, cry, cuddle…

Realise it is nearly lunchtime and you are still in your pyjamas, you smell like sick and the house is a mess.

Feed, burp, wipe, cry, cuddle, change, feed, burp, wipe, cry, cuddle…

Decide to go for a walk.

Place baby in her cot with some toys and head for the shower.

Baby screams.

Put on her mobile and rush to the shower.

Sneak in a quick I Can’t Do This Any More Cry while sitting on the shower floor before rushing to comfort baby.

Feed, burp, wipe, cry, cuddle, change, feed, burp, wipe, cry, cuddle…

Two hours later you are ready to go.

Leave the house.

Go back into house to get nappies.

Leave house.

Go back into house for wipes.

Leave house.

Outside is so loud and makes you anxious. Consider going back inside.

But then remember how hard it is Inside.

Decide to go to the shop for milk in an attempt to achieve something useful with the day.

On the way to shop forget about milk and find yourself walking aimlessly around the park.

Discover that by closing your eyes on the straight bits you can enjoy a half-asleep-walk.

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See other mums pushing prams around the park. They look all smiley and normal. Notice one wearing eye shadow! Another has managed to put her baby in an outfit with matching hat and bib. A clean matching bib. How?

Meanwhile, you stumble along with your leggings inside out and sick on your shoulder having a sneaky Under Sunglasses Cry.

Baby is finally asleep. Spend the next ten minutes trying to decide what to do. You wonder whether it is normal to lose the ability to make simple decisions when you have children.

Start to panic because the baby might wake up any minute for a feed and you have completely forgotten what you were trying to decide.

Finally, head for the shop to avoid being back Inside With Baby.

Arrive at Sainsburys and instantly regret your decision. There are people in there and you may have to talk to them.

Wander around the aisles for 25 minutes trying to remember what you came in for.

Find yourself at the check out with baby wipes, bread and a Snickers bar.

Baby wakes up and starts to cry. Jiggle pram and hastily try to pay for shopping with your nectar card.

Leave shop and feed baby on the nearest bench.

Wonder whether you are cut out for this parenting thing. Everyone else is coping. You have seen the pictures on Facebook. Smiling mums holding new babies in their arms. LOVING motherhood.

Definitely not thinking that it is a bit crap.

Certainly not feeling like they are drowning in exhaustion, mess and chaos.

And poo. Nappy has leaked. You are covered in shit. Your baby is covered in shit. You leave the bench and head for the supermarket toilets.

Use entire pack of wipes to clean your baby and yourself. Throw poo-covered baby grow in the bin before realising you have forgotten spare baby clothes.

Wrap baby in your cardigan, place back in pram then commence with the Head In Hands While Doing A Wee Cry.

Do the Rubbish-Mum-Who-Forgot-Spare-clothes-For-Her-Offspring Walk of Shame home.

Arrive home to find baby is asleep in pram. Leave her in there and sneak off to eat Snickers bar.

Text husband ‘I AM SO TIRED. I CAN’T DO THIS.’

Husband replies (probably from his cosy, comfortable, desk while swigging a hot coffee) ‘OK, I WON’T BLOODY SNOOZE TOMORROW! I’LL BE HOME IN TWO HOURS. TRY TO REST’

REST? ARE YOU KIDDING? You close your eyes but you can’t sleep. Your body is tired but your mind is awake.

You feel as though you’re just existing. Not living. Barely scraping through those moments you are meant to be cherishing.

The baby wakes up. You take her up to your bedroom.

Exhausted, you lie down on the bed with your baby.


She smiles at you. You smile back. You take a picture. You look happy. Like you are loving motherhood.  You look like the Facebook mums.

Are those pictures simply a snapshot of light in the darkness for them too? A cherished moment they do not want to forget?

You post the picture on your timeline.

The baby cries. It’s 4pm. You finish your Snickers and prepare for the Witching Hour…

Find out how to survive witching hour on barely any sleep (or what the hell does my baby want?) in Part 2 ! To receive via email fee free to subscribe here or join me on Facebook or Twitter. If you are struggling with a sleep thief check out my Survival Guide or find out how I fell in love while sleep-deprived here.

8 thoughts on “How to take care of a new baby on barely any sleep

  1. So so true! I remember the very early days of this sort of hell. I’m not sure why I really wished it away as some days I would love to go back to it. Bloody husband with snooze, mines the same every morning. Claire x

  2. They shouldn’t bother with parentcraft classes, they should just hand you a copy of this at your booking appointment. 100% spot on.

  3. 100% accurate and how I wish this is what I’d read at my ante-natal class – then I might have had mildly realistic expectations!

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