Tips for making the most of your parental leave


6. Sleep.

Your baby needs it. You need it. If your baby is depriving you sleep, then think of new ways to get it. Try tag teaming with your partner throughout the week. If they have returned to work, then they may need to sleep more through the night in the earlier days of the week and be able to do the midnight shift leading into and on the weekends. If you have family or friends that can mind your baby while you take an afternoon nap, then don’t feel bad about asking for help!

We have had some friends with babies that have been terrible sleepers, waking and wanting a feed literally every 40 minutes. It is not sustainable without help and takes a horrible toll, even on the mental health of the parent(s). Don’t be afraid to seek help from friends or even professional help. Your GP may also be able to refer you to organisations such as Tresillian, Karitane or Masada, which offer assistance with all forms of baby-related issues, including children that don’t sleep. Some services may also be partially or wholly covered by medicare and private health insurance. Tresillian as an example has a range of services from advice over the phone that anyone can access, to ‘residential services’ where you and your child essentially become a patient for the week, with a team of child and family health nurses, psychologists, social workers, paediatricians and psychiatrists on hand to work with you in overcoming various parenting issues including sleep and settling your baby. For us, this was a complete game changer after 3 months without proper sleep for all of us!