Help friends cope with sleepless nights
All mothers will have experienced sleepless nights at the expense of their children at some stage, and we all have our coping mechanisms. 'Mine was napping anywhere anytime and huge amounts of chocolate,' says Rebecca Welton, mum of 2 and child sleep practitioner and consultant.
Rebecca also says she could not have got through the sleepless nights without her best friend's support and now she offers tips to help you help your best friend when she needs you most.
1. Invite yourself over
Don't be offended when she stops answering your calls – she's not avoiding you, she just can't string a sentence together. Be bold and invite yourself over. Better yet, just turn up, preferably with a wagonload of food (she will be too tired to even think about cooking). 'Bring lunch!' says Liz Clarke, mother to three-year-old Lily and three-month-old Florence, 'I'm lucky if I eat before 5pm some days.' Alice Fenlon, mum to 20-month-old Megan, agrees, 'I had a friend who brought a healthy lunch, fruit and juice in the early days and I never forgot that.'
2. Do mind the mess
The housework will have gone out of the window (along with showers, make-up and clean clothes). The only thing she is thinking about is when she can next fall asleep. So if you clean her house and do the ironing, she'll love you forever. Claire O'Neill, mother to three-year-old Maisie and 6-month-old William, did exactly that, 'I went to my friend's house, took lunch, cleaned the kitchen and tided all the toys. She said it was one of the most helpful things anyone had ever done for her.'
3. Talk about it
'A problem shared is a problem halved,' as the saying goes. It really does help to talk – just knowing someone is there to listen, and to moan to, can make all the difference. Sleep deprivation can be a lonely and overwhelming experience, but having support and help from your friends does get you through it. 'It really helped knowing that I wasn't alone,' says Jo Phillips, mother to three-year-old Jess and 15-month old Amelia.
If you are worried about a friend suffering from sleep deprivation, do encourage them to see their GP or health visitor.
As for my best friend, she recently had her second baby. So I'm just on my way over, with lunch and my vacuum cleaner.
Rebecca Welton is a qualified child sleep practitioner and consultant, and author of 'Baby Sleeping Trust Techniques – Alternatives to Controlled Crying'. Find out more at her website.