How I am Surviving as a Sleep Deprived Mumma - Sandi Louise Ross

How I am Surviving as a Sleep Deprived Mumma

How I am Surviving as a Sleep Deprived Mumma

It took me some time to build up the courage to write this post. I feel with my professional image I am supposed to have the natural answers for a lot of things, and this is totally out of my control.

It all started around the four-month mark. A few things happened all at one. There is the obvious four-month leap you hear so many mums speak of, but i didn’t think it would continue. In February, I started back at clinic part-time, took up a gig writing for Food Matters, Jesse my partner had decided to start studying at university again, and so we thought we would take a trip to Bali before we got into all.

Nahla and Jesse just just days old
Nahla and Jesse just just days old

I was bragging to my friends “my baby is such a good sleeper!”. I remember my brother saying “yeah, ours was too until four months”. So February came and we were off to Bali. The plane ride was a breeze, she slept the whole way. The first night in Bali she woke once. The second two-or-three times. But I wasn’t concerned. However, by the fourth night, she was waking every two hours again. Luckily I was able to breastfeed her back to sleep, but I really felt the fatigue just after a few nights. “I hope this is just a phase” I was already concerned. After we returned home, she was still waking every two hours.

My daughter Nahla at just a few weeks old
My daughter Nahla at just a few weeks old

After we returned home, she was still waking every two hours and sometimes more. My breast milk started to decline as I was so tired I could not keep up the demand. At 7 months I hired a sensitive sleep nurse to come over and give us some pointers on how to encourage a sleep routine again. I tried for a week, and then was too tired to bother. And would continue letting her fall asleep on the boob.

Mother life
Mother life

I then took her to a holistic chiropractor, consulted a friend who is a homoeopath, added a few sleep supplements, tried feeding her up much more food, made sure her temperature was correct, check for dust mites, and yes- tried sleep routine. However, nothing worked. At the point of 8 months, I had to add in goat milk at night to keep up her demand. My friend suggested trying warm water instead of milk, but she would refuse the bottle.


I have been following all the top sleep specialist and taking what I feel will work for me (without leaving her to cry), however nothing works. My friends have babies sleeping a 12 hour night (you lucky B*****), but I still know they are tired as hell just being a mum. The mother’s role doesn’t stop. I feel my work is actually like a break, a chance for me to do something for myself rather than talk baby all day (as much as I love it).

I look at my mother, who has six children. How the F*%$ did she do it! Women have this innate ability to just switch on the maternal light once a baby arrives, and I suspect it grows every child we birth.

So I thought I would just write this post and share my story, and a few things that are helping me survive- as I know I am not alone.

Sleep deprivation leads to the following

  • Lack of concerntation
  • Reduced decision-making skills
  • Loss of emotional control
  • Increased irritability
  • Increased appetite and sluggish metabolism (that’s why my jeans are tighter now than after she was born!)
  • Impaired immunity
I can literally tick the whole bloody list!

Here are My Daily Non-Negotiables to Cope

  • I go to bed early. Most nights I am lights out by 9pm- but when I am feeling really tired, Ill sleep at 7.30pm.
  • I know my limits. I am not afraid to ask for help when I am feeling really, really exhausted. If my partner isn’t in the middle of exams or working ill get him to do a night and ill sleep in the room downstairs (However, I feel I deal with the deprivation better than he does- I am sure most women feel me).
  • I take supplements. I take more than most but feel this helps my energy immensely. Breastfeeding sucks the life out you, so unless your diet is AMAZING, you need to supplement too. I take barley grass in water in the mornings and a probiotic, a minerals complex, an iron, DHA every other day, an energy magnesium, and before I breastfeed I take GABA.
  • I’m a ‘flexitarian’: for many years I have been a vegetarian, but I am currently having bone broth for the amazing gut healing properties and occasional turkey. I am making sure my body doesn’t become too anaemic. I literally cant be bothered soaking my legumes and preparing 100% like I use to before baby was here, so for now, I am also ok with tinned organic pulses.
  • I spend 10 minutes daily doing nothing,  switching off and listening to my breath (this is when my baby sleeps, or even in the car when I finish work).
  • I am being kind to myself, its ok to not feel my best.
  • I say no to a lot of social events- as I’m too tired and need rest

Nahla is one on Friday, still waking 4-5 times per night and awake for some time if not full. At the end of the day, what helps me is I remember I am not alone, many women have survived this journey, and one day she will sleep. However, I am more than happy for you to share anything that has worked for you either to survive or to get baby asleep in the comments below.


One Response to How I am Surviving as a Sleep Deprived Mumma

  1. Thank you for this Sandi, I really feel for you! My babies were not good sleepers and I was overwhelmed by tiredness. So glad to hear that you are treating yourself well xx

Leave a reply