It’s easy to get feeling down when you feel like you haven’t slept for days and you’re giving everything you have to help soothe a fussy infant who seems determined not to go to sleep. But, take heart. Before you know it, these days will be just a memory that you wish you could recapture.

It may be hard to believe while you’re going through it, but most parents soon find themselves wishing they could relive the years when their children were babies. That’s not because we love them any less as they grow up, but there’s just something very special about that bond between a parent and a completely dependent baby.

As you no doubt already know by now, night time parenting can be tough. And unfortunately, it’s not optional. Babies need to be taken care of every two hours or so when they first come home. They can’t wait any longer than that between feedings, and when you throw in changing, burping, and otherwise caring for a baby’s needs, it all adds up to a lot of your time spent taking care of this precious new human being.

The best thing you can do for yourself and your baby is to keep a positive attitude about night time parenting. Perhaps the next best thing you can do is taking care of your body by:

  • Getting as much rest as you can. It isn’t easy, but learn to take short naps while baby is asleep. Adopt the “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” mentality.
  • Taking in a sufficient amount of fluids. You should be drinking as much now as you did when you were pregnant. If you are breastfeeding, you should be drinking even more. Dehydration easily leads to exhaustion.
  • Eating regular, healthy meals. Don’t skip meals, and down load yourself down with junk food that isn’t good for you. Eat lots of fruits, grains, and vegetables, and make sure you’re getting some protein in your diet for energy.

It’s easier to stay positive about being up half the night when you take care of yourself during the day. Other things you can do to make the night time parenting routine more bearable include sharing the load with your partner, networking with other moms who have gone through the same things you are going through now, and giving yourself permission not to be perfect.