Working Moms, No Sleep, New Baby and a Job? HOW?

Updated on June 17, 2011
M.M. asks from Tucson, AZ
12 answers

How do you work with a newborn? How do you wake up and feed a baby all night and wake up the next day and go to work? I'm breastfeeding and my baby goes to bed around 10. Wakes up between 12 and 1, then at 3 and 6. I feed him from 30 to 45 minutes each time. I'm not getting much sleep and am a walking zombie durring the day. I also have a 2 and 7 yr old at home.
I am going to have to work soon and just cant imagine how i am gonna do this.
I have no husband to help.
I find myself crying some nights cause m soooo tired and just wish i could sleep.
He also wont sleep in his bassinet. So he sleeps in my bed or on me.
Lately i've been sleeping on the couch, because he will sleep in in his swing downstairs.

What can I do next?

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answers from Los Angeles on

I worked when my son was born, and the only way I got any sleep was for him to sleep with me. He could breasfeed while I was sleeping, and it was the only way we got any sleep. We didn't have a bed frame, so the box spring and mattress were directly on the floor (not very high) so we weren't worried about him falling off, and we all got a lot of sleep that way. I know there are many who are against co-sleeping, but it worked for us (and saved me because I can't function at all without any sleep) and it could be worth a try for you. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from San Francisco on

As a full-time working mom with 2 kids, I'm going to pass along the BEST advice I ever received with regard to getting organized with your newborn. Pick up the "On Becoming Babywise" book by Gary Ezzo, and implement it. Your newborn will sleep through the night, I promise you! With my second child, I had to move out of our house with my 2 year old and my newborn (our home was being remodeled) and had to move in with my parents, who live 2 hours away. So at night, I had no help at all. I did the Babywise thing, and I'm telling you now, my little one was sleeping through the night by 4 weeks old. It was like a miracle to me!

The basic idea is this. You have a schedule, which you can adjust as needed for growth spurts, etc. You need to feed the baby, then have awake time, then sleep time, and this feed-play-sleep schedule runs on a 4 hour cycle during the day. For instance, 6am feed the baby (BIG full meal, change the diaper halfway through to wake 'em up, burp, etc etc - pack that baby full of milk), then awake time (go for a walk, go to the grocery store, baby sits in bouncy seat while you fold laundry... whatever your routine is). Then at 9am, put baby down for the morning nap, awake but calm. DO NOT feed your baby to sleep. You need your baby to be able to fall asleep without your intervention. Baby falls asleep, sleeps until 10. Wakes up hungry. Repeat the cycle. Feed baby, have some awake time, at noon baby goes down for nap #2, sleeps until 2pm. Wakes up hungry. You feed baby, have some awake time. Bath time at 5, feed baby, cuddle before bedtime, and baby goes down to sleep, awake but calm, at 6pm. Yes, I realize that sounds like a crazy time to put a baby to bed, but trust me, it works. I don't know why, but when you put a baby down at 6, they will sleep for HOURS. A newborn might wake at 2am for a feeding, a 1-month old may sleep through the night completely. Start your day again at 6am.

And voila! That's the secret. I promise. When your baby knows what's coming next, he will be calm and happy. When your feedings are somewhat scheduled, your baby will eat big, full meals, which helps with your milk supply and helps your baby not feel hungry again so quickly. And, since your day is pretty much scheduled out, you know when you can plan to do things and not run into a feeding time. When you are calm and happy, your baby will be, too.

Once you get the sleep thing down, returning to work is not so bad because you will feel well-rested in the mornings.

Take heart. This will get better soon! Go get your Babywise book tomorrow, read it while you nurse (it's a short book, and easy to read even when you are sleep-deprived! LOL). Hang in there, mama! You can do it! :)

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

HI! I was in the same boat and two weeks before I went back to work my baby started sleeping longer. However, I would wake up once or twice to feed her for the first few weeks. I too breastfed my baby. I introduced formula around 6 months, and had I known it was ok to have a mix of formula and breast milk I would have given my baby a bottle mixed with breastmilk and formula (about half and half) before bedtime so my baby would sleep better (formula lasts longer in babies tummies, so they feed less often. You may know this from your previous two children). I mixed breastmilk and formula from 6 mths to 10 mths adding one ounce a week until the mix was half and half. I continued to pump at every feeding that I gave my baby a bottle so my milk supply didn't decrease. This also allowed me to have a huge supply of breast milk in the freezer and allowed someone else to feed the baby. I know it is hard, but it does get easier. If your baby is not yet 3 mths old it will get easier at that mark and then again around 6 mths. Best of luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I know, it's hard! I breastfed my twins and went back to work teaching when they were only eight weeks old. Honestly, you just do it because you have to. Do you have any neighborhood girls that could be a "mother's helper"? They could help you with the other two while you tend to the baby (and maybe even nap after work between feedings).

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Ohhhhh...I am so so sorry.

How about catching a nap during the day. Put 2 yr old down for a nap and the baby near the same time. Have the 7 year old sit and watch a movie,read books,color,playdough and then lay down nearby and catch some zzzzz's.
Try to do this everyday if you can.

Your 7 year old is old enough to help around your home. Give him/her more responsibilities...but definitely age appropriate type chores.

All 3 of my babies were sleeping through the night by 8-10 weeks old. It takes patience and repetition...but it worked with all 3. I have a book that I followed religiously that teaches you to teach your newborn how to soothe themself to sleep. He needs a routine and sleeping in the same place at night. YOu aren't going to sleep soundly with him on you or in your bed...keep working on the bassinet. He will fuss because he is used to you now.

I think this may be the way to go for you. You have got to get sleep to function once you go back to work and are keeping up a household flying solo.

Sooo sorry you are alone. My mama heart is sad for you. Take care.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Tucson on

With my first son I had to go back to work when he was 6 weeks old. I just kept him in bed with me and slept while he ate when he woke up. I worked really well for getting at least a little more sleep. You lay on your side and the baby on it's side, latch the baby on and fall to sleep while the baby eats. Burp when done and turn over and the same for the other side. It is not easy, but it is doable that way.

D. P.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

Do your younger children go to bed before 10pm? Maybe you can also go to bed when they do. My first child slept in bed with us until he was 6 months old. It was the only way I could get sleep. Can you move the swing to your bedroom so you can put him there and get some sleep in bed.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I did it... And this will be my third time- my baby is just shy of 1 mo. I got spoiled by my first - she started sleeping straight through at 12 weeks! My 2nd got me up 3 times a night for 9 LONG MONTHS! At 9 months, I had been a walking zombie long enough so we did CIO. My job requires that I be mentally sharp- I am a litigator/attorney. It honestly SUCKED! just know that in time, it will other kids sleep great now- they are almost 4 and 2.5. I feel for you not having any help :( has to be tough! If your baby takes an evening nap still, can you nap and get a sitter to help you with dinner/bedtime for your older ones to take a load off you? Also before 3 months you need to get baby in a crib and out of your bed, the swing or on you...they start to learn bad sleep habits around that time. Best of luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Austin on

Do you know anyone you could borrow another swing from? That way you can sleep in your bed and the baby in the borrowed swing next to you.. Keep the other swing downstairs.

Who is going to watch all of your children when you go back to work? Are you going to pump at work? Maybe you could have someone help by keeping the kids for a few more hours when you get off work so you can get a nap and then pick them up.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Louisville on

Your son nurses the same as mine did, and I ended up wel PPD that was partially due to the sleep deprvation. My psychologist advised my husband to get up with our son, change him, and then bring him to me to nurse so I could rest as much as possible. I did not work outside the home or have other kids. I don't know how other women do it, but the extra rest made a big difference in my moods!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

I was a single Mom of a newborn - worked full time and went to school part time. I exclusively nursed her until 9 months and co-slept. The breastfeeding and co-sleeping were life savers - not to mention sanity/sleep savers. Having the other children can definitely make things a lot harder on you - maybe have your 7 y/o help out more?



answers from Pocatello on

Bless your heart. Have you started bottles yet? Since you'll be working, I assume he will do breast and bottle. In that case, dear-old-dad might need to step in a help with a feeding or two. A lot of babies sleep best with mom, which can be a great way to connect after working during the day. Have you figured out how to nurse laying down? It's the best multi-tasking in the world! And you can go back to sleep while he eats, too. The book Balancing Breast and Bottle: Reaching Your Breastfeeding Goals has a chapter on balancing sleep and work. Maybe your library has a copy... Hang in there!

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