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Is it possible to have a baby without the sleep deprivation?

Carolyn Hax on

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

I've always needed a good night's sleep to function, at least eight hours but ideally 10.

I would like to have kids, I've always pictured myself with kids. I'm starting to feel a real longing to get pregnant and have a baby, but the sleep deprivation terrifies me. My husband and I sort of think parents might be exaggerating this a little, sleep deprivation is torture. If parents are really getting no sleep, how do they care for their kids? Or go to work?

Right now our loose plan is to formula feed with a night nanny every other night. My husband can do the night feedings every other day, but needs to catch up sometime.

When I say this to people who have kids they tell us it will never work, at some point I will be up all night. I feel like my husband and I would be spectacular parents if we are rested, and this is a remedy. I need somebody objective to weigh in -- is it possible to arrange your life to get a full night's sleep with babies and little kids?

-- I Need Sleep

This answer will be way more polite than I want it to be after the, "My husband and I sort of think parents might be exaggerating this a little, sleep deprivation is torture." Right. OK.

So: With enough money you can arrange just about anything.

For those who cannot afford a night staff for ... let's say four or five years after the birth of a child, some sleep loss can't be avoided -- and that's even if you want to avoid it, which I'll get to in a second.

...continued

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