The Zombie Zone of the Sleep Deprived

  A lack of sleep is one of the most common complaints of new dads - and mums. You may feel like you're not holding it together a lot of the time. Being deprived of sleep can make you crabby and feel inefficient.

Surprisingly, few people will notice, even when you feel you’re walking around like a zombie. If it becomes an issue at work, be straight up about it. Most people realise that a new baby can disrupt people's sleep for some months.

Although tiredness may seem endless at the time – like all things with a baby – it’ll pass. After a while he’ll sleep longer. Most babies have a predictable sleeping pattern by the time they’re 4 months old.

There’ll be plenty of times when you’ve got to be 'on' when you’re knackered and don’t feel like it. The fact is, being a father isn’t always easy and the rewards can seem minimal. And staying upright when you’re half-asleep – sometimes that’s the hardest thing of all.

Sleep: catch it while you can

  • catch up on sleep every opportunity you get
  • cat-nap
  • earplugs may help you drop off
  • it can be good for your baby sleep in your bedroom – this way it’s not much of a disruption for you or your partner he needs you at night
  • catch a few zzz’s with the baby lying on your chest on the couch – you might put each other to sleep


Tired? You’re not the only one …

Don’t assume – because she’s been home all day – that your partner is going to be any more rested than you. Babies are hard work … they can be even more demanding than a paid job. Both you and your partner are going to feel overworked and overwhelmed from time to time.

Talking with each other about this can help. It's not much good if either of you feel resentful.

Your baby’s sleep…

Putting your baby to bed, rocking or singing her to sleep can be very satisfying - and is as much a father’s role as a mothers. In fact, men are sometimes better at getting baby off to sleep because we don’t smell of breast milk.                           



Babies are easiest to settle if they are not too tired. Best to catch them just as the first wave of sleepiness passes over them. That’s when rocking and lullabies work best. Babies love being sung to.


It’s tough to get a baby to sleep if she isn’t settled. If she’s fussy, try the 5S's soothing method before putting her down.

Some men enjoy tending to their baby in the middle of the night because it is the only chance they have to be with their baby without anyone interrupting or telling them what to do.

Here is a link to a good questions and answers page for parents who are having baby sleeping problems (from Zero to Three).

One day the miracle happens. The baby who never slept, suddenly does – all night.



Is co-sleeping with baby a good thing or dangerous?

Babies sleeping in the same bed as the parents can be a hotly debated topic. Arguments range from those who say it puts your baby at risk of injury or death. Others say it is natural, healthy, been going on since humans evolved and there is little risk if parents are sober.

From our reading – the incidence of cot death associated with co-sleeping increases if

  • the family is poor
  • the baby is bottle fed
  • either parent is a smoker
  • the adults are affected by alcohol or other drugs
  • the bed has soft heavy things in it like pillows near the baby or an adult weight duvet.

Advocates for co-sleeping say that babies naturally sleep with their parents, it aids breast feeding and bonding - and humans have been doing it for thousands and thousands of years. They recommend that parents co-sleeping with their infant should always have two ways of connecting to the baby: visual and touching, or visual and hearing, or hearing and touching.

Parents are less likely to be alerted if the baby is distressed if their senses are dulled by alcohol (or other drugs).

There is a correlation between co-sleeping and cot death. Perhaps those opposed to it consider it better to be safe (separate sleeping) than sorry and therefore put out a one-size-fits-all message not to co-sleep with the baby. 

We recommend googling 'co-sleeping'. There are lots of websites with information both arguments. They may help you make your own decision.

Three things
Your baby's brain
Crikey! Your own baby
Why babies cry
The Zombie Zone
Sex, Pregnancy and the Home Invasion
Your own Dad