Mummy / Confessions of a happy ‘drunk’

“If half of us new parents are walking around like drunken sailors, I wonder how it impacts our day-to-day lives,” muses columnist KATE MEIKLE

DR Harvey Karp, pediatrician and child development expert, says that half of all new parents get fewer than six hours of broken sleep a night – a level of sleep deprivation that causes the same mental impairment as being drunk.

If that’s the case, I have been tipsy for a lot longer than I’d like to admit! Especially after having my second child four months ago.  My two-year-old son took 10 long months to sleep through the night and when he finally did, boy, did sobriety feel good!

Kate Meikle

Kate Meikle.

I felt refreshed, started exercising more with my new-found energy and felt I could get through a movie without snoring halfway through. I literally had a cold shower and stepped through the drunken haze!  

Now I am back into the world of the new baby: midnight feeds, wonder weeks, growth spurts and teething is just around the corner. If half of us new parents are walking around like drunken sailors, I wonder how it impacts our day-to-day lives.

Perhaps it’s time they brought in “new parent” plates, mandatory baby-on-board signage when we hop into our SUVs, the Wiggles blaring, kids wailing, drinks and crackers being passed to the back seats.

Other drivers should be well aware that we might be on the roads at a very early hour of the morning, but we might not have all our wits about us. We may not indicate as soon as we should or park our cars within the lines every time!

The new-parent plates would allow for our slower response times and distracted minds, hopefully reducing stress and prangs.

Also heightening the feeling of drunkenness is the constant swaying and rocking required to settle the baby. As if we didn’t need to feel even more woozy.

The good Dr Harvey is currently spruiking his new invention, the SNOO cradle. This $1600 baby bed automatically responds to your baby’s fussing by choosing the right mix of white noise and rocking most likely to soothe them back to sleep.

He’s put together all the scientific elements that babies need to help them and their tired parents rest for longer. It sounds amazing. But to be honest, I consider myself a happy drunk. And nothing quite beats those late night cuddles while rocking your tiny baby to sleep. And every night brings me closer to the end of the big night out that is new parenthood.

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