Sleep Deprivation – it was used as a form of torture for a reason: When our baby turned 1, we all celebrated Surviving the first year.

I remember when I was pregnant and people saying to me, make sure you rest when the baby does, but when you are in the mess of sleepless nights, nappies, feeding and all the other jobs that need to be completed when you bring home a new baby, the need to survive takes over and sleep can land somewhere toward the bottom of the to do list.

We learnt with our first baby how important it is to get enough sleep. Months of walking the halls keeping our bundle of joy upright to help with his colic and reflux, took a massive toll on our little family.

A lack of sleep can really mess with the body and mind. I ended up with migraine headaches for the first time in my life. I went to the doctor thinking I had a brain tumour – my words were slurred, my thoughts were all over the place, I couldn’t concentrate and it felt like I had a very tight helmet on my head that I couldn’t remove. My whole body ached – living with sleep deprivation for an extended period of time was awful. I can see why it has been used as a form of torture in the past.

Our second little person came along – only 16 months after our first one and only a few months after he started sleeping through the night. What were we thinking? That’s right – we weren’t, we couldn’t think – too tired.

This time we were aware of the hell that comes with lack of sleep, and we weren’t looking forward to it.

Our little girl, thankfully did not have colic or reflux, but didn’t like sleeping on her own and really didn’t like the cot. So learning from our boy, we decided that instead of going without sleep I slept with her on a mattress on the floor. People said at the time, “you are going to cause problems in the future”, “you are creating a rod for your own back”, etc – we heard all the reasons why this was a bad idea. But we didn’t care, baby was happy and I was getting some sleep.

Now whenever anyone asks me if I have any wisdom for them for when they bring home their baby, my first and most important piece of advice is make sure everyone in the house is getting some good quality sleep. Oh, and ask for help to make sure you can get some sleep.

Once we started getting some sleep again, everything in our world improved. If you do something that will “create a rod for you own back” down the track, don’t worry about it – you will find a way to solve that issue when you need to.

Sleep is important, keep it at the top of the “to do” list, you will enjoy your baby more if you are both well rested.