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New parents lose 44 days of sleep during the first year of baby’s life

My son doesn’t always want to take a nap, but I always do. It’s a feeling that’s been hard to shake ever since I became a parent nearly two years ago. And while I’m persistently tired now, my fatigue levels were downright dangerous during those earliest days when I knew I was too sleep-deprived to operate a car. After all, if I was putting coffee in the fridge and milk in the cupboard, my reactions on the road were worthy of questioning.


For better or worse, sleep-deprivation is inevitable for new moms—even though the extent of it is something few of us fully comprehend before baby arrives. But as hard as it may be to imagine with groggy eyes, science shows new moms will sleep again.

“Studies have examined the sleep loss associated with having an infant and determined parents lose an average of two hours of sleep per night for the first five months and then one hour per night until the age of two,” says Kelly Sullivan, an assistant professor of epidemiology at the Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health at Georgia Southern University.

Sullivan studies sleep deprivation in parents and says that when the sleep patterns of women without kids are compared to those of moms, the differences are obvious—even after baby has outgrown newborn clothes.

Indeed, an informal survey of new parents in the United Kingdom found parents lose 44 days of sleep during the first year of a baby’s life as they only get 5.1 hours of shut-eye during the average night.

According to Sullivan, chronic sleep deprivation can result in consequences far worse than cold coffee and spoiled milk: It is associated with increased accidents, problems concentrating, poor performance on the job and in school, and possibly, increased sickness and weight gain.

“It’s important for individuals, especially those in caregiving roles, to recognize issues that increase their risk of health problems and work to maintain optimum physical and mental health in order to continue functioning at the high level that caregiving often requires.”

Moms are more affected than dads

Getting the sleep we need may involve getting some help from our partners, especially as Sullivan’s research of more than 5,800 adults showed dads aren’t as afflicted by sleep loss as moms.

“The only factor that was independently associated with insufficient sleep for women was having children in the household,” Sullivan says. “In fact, each child in the household was associated with a nearly 50% increase in a woman’s odds of insufficient sleep. Conversely, men’s sleep was not associated with having children in the household.”

She says the reasons for the gender disparity are beyond the scope of her study, but biological factors like pregnancy and the demands of breastfeeding could play a role in why women get less rest.

It’s important to start healthy sleep habits—for everyone

Sullivan notes that while infancy is a particularly challenging period for parents, the demands of parenting aren’t limited to those early days. She says that’s why moms should prioritize rest even as the kids outgrow the newborn phase and head into childhood.

“Sleep needs and challenges differ and the approach to address sleep challenges needs to be individualized,” she says. “For some women, that will include enlisting the help of friends and family. For others, stress management techniques and exercise may help.”

Remember: You will sleep again

I started feeling better when my husband began taking every other night with the baby. This allowed me to spend three or four nights a week sleeping alone in my room, wearing earplugs and knowing my baby was safe with his dad.

Eventually, my son started sleeping through the night, and taking shifts was no longer necessary. I’m not the only one with a story of hope: Self-described new dad and data nerd Reddit user jitney86 shared his personal journey with parental sleep deprivation in the form of a graph after he and his wife meticulously tracked their baby’s life in 15 minute increments from three months to 17 months old.

When the data was plotted visually it showed a shift from erratic newborn behavior to more consistent sleep patterns.

“This is so affirming of my own experience as a parent!” another Reddit user replied. “It's anarchy! And you simply have to surrender to the chaos. Then close to around a year they become a normal human, and then [you] return to being a normal human.”

Those extended sleep periods—for parents and babies—were also demonstrated in a 2010 study published in the journal Pediatrics, which found babies’ sleep habits rapidly improved in the first months of life. The researchers also found that by baby’s first birthday, 85% of parents could also celebrate consistently uninterrupted nights of sleep.

That’s further proof that sleeping soundly doesn’t happen overnight with a new baby in the house—but it will happen.

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Usually when celebrities post swimsuit photos on Instagram they don't exactly look like your average beach-going mom, but former Bachelorette (and mom of two) Ali Fedotowsky posted a series of bikini photos on Monday that are both beautiful and relatable.

"This might be my most vulnerable post on Instagram ever," she wrote in the caption for the photos which show a postpartum belly that looks like a real postpartum belly.

"At the end of the day, I know it's important to be open and honest about my postpartum body in hopes that it helps even one person out there who is struggling with their own body image," Fedotowsky (who just gave birth to her second child in May) wrote.

In the first photo of the series she's wearing a sarong around her stomach, but in the second and third photos Fedotowsky reveals the kind of stomach many mamas sport: It's not perfectly taut, she's not showing off any abs, but it is definity beautiful.

"If you swipe to see the second photo in this post, you see that my body has changed. My skin around my stomach is very loose and stretched out, I'm 15lbs heavier than I used to be, and my cup size has grown quite significantly," Fedotowsky writes.

The photos are a sponsored post for Lilly and Lime Swimwear (a line made for women with larger busts) but that doesn't mean it wasn't brave. In fact, the fact that it's an ad makes it even more amazing because research shows that when advertising only shows us bodies that don't look like our own, women become "generally more dissatisfied with their body and appearance".

Ali Fedotowsky

On her blog Fedotowsky notes that a lot of comments on her previous Instagram posts have been followers remarking how slim she looks, or how much they wish they looked like she does postpartum. By dropping that sarong and showing her tummy Fedotowsky is showing other mothers that there is nothing wrong with their own.

"While I appreciate the positive comments, you guys are always so good to me, I keep trying to explain that I'm just good at picking out clothes that flatter my body and hide my tummy," she wrote on her blog.

"I bounced back pretty quickly after I gave birth to Molly. But things are different this time and I'm OK with that. I'm learning to love my body and embrace how it's changed. I hope I get back to my pre-pregnancy shape one day, but that may never happen. And if it doesn't, that's OK."

Ali Fedotowsky

It is okay, because our bodies are more than our swimsuit selfies. They the vessels that carry us through life and carry our children and provide a safe, warm place for those children feel love.

Loose skin is a beautiful thing.


Thanks for keeping it real, Ali.

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Amazon shoppers were anxiously awaiting the countdown to Amazon Prime Day, but when the clock struck one, er three, the website went down.

On Monday afternoon shoppers were trying to get their hands on the much-hyped Prime Day deals but instead of low prices, many users just saw 404 errors, continuously refreshing pages, or had issues keeping or adding items to their shopping carts.

CNBC reports shares of Amazon were down during the shopping glitch, and many shoppers took to Twitter and Instagram to discuss how all they could see on Amazon were the dogs who decorate the site's 404 pages.

As cute as the dogs are, shoppers are getting tired of seeing them, so hopefully Amazon gets things back up and running soon. Analysts had projected Amazon would rake in $3 billion dollars this Prime Day. Time will tell how much of that was lost during the great dog picture debacle of 2018.

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When we were kids, family photos shoots typically captured posed moments in a Sears portrait studio, but these days, professional photographers often encourage candid shoots with a more casual vibe.

Casual is hardly the first word that comes to mind when we think of the royal family, but newly released photos from little Prince Louis' recent christening prove why impromptu shots are so popular. Yes, there's still a time for a sit-down, studio-lit family portrait, but it's those fleeting moments of realness that mamas will really want to look back on some day.

Let's take a look at pics from the little Prince's big day.

The extended family sit-down shoot

It's a gorgeous posed photo (and it certainly captures Prince George's adorable smile) but this group pic still feels pretty stiff, even for the royals.

The smaller family photo

This one's a bit more natural, with Prince George flashing an even wider grin and little Princess Charlotte staring at the guest of honor (who appears to be napping) rather than the camera. Both Duchesses look stunning, as they do in all the photos.

Just the Cambridges

A similar pose to last year's Christmas card, this stand up shot of the family of five looks like it was captured just in time. Prince George may be preparing to bold, and Princess Charlotte is about to be lost behind her brother's christening gown.

Mother and son

A stunning outdoor shot, this pic shows little Prince Louis with his bright eyes wide open and his mama staring down at him. Definitely one for Kate to frame for the nursery.

A happy baby boy

That face! This beautiful shot of Prince Louis proves that candid shots can accomplish what posed, portrait studio pics often fail to: Those special, fleeting, moments when our children really show their personality.

Prince Louis, you Sir, are adorable.

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Jennifer Garner is always teaching us great lessons. Like, why we should have a "Yes Day" with our kids or how to make the perfect pizza dough. And this weekend, she offered another really sensible lesson on privacy and respect.

During an interview on CBS' "Sunday Morning", Garner talked about how the constant scrutiny and discussion of her divorce from Ben Affleck (who she shares her three children, Violet, 12, Seraphina, 9, and 6-year-old Samuel with) has been challenging. "I really feel the stress of it. I really, I could cry talking about it," she said during the interview.

We're used to seeing Garner smiling at us from movie sets and Instagram, but as positive as she is, constant divorce talk took its toll on her.

"Everyone says, 'Oh, you've had to go through this in public.' The public isn't what's hard; what's hard is going through it," she explains.

Of course, Garner and Affleck's divorce was scrutinized more than most due to their professions, but many mothers can relate to the stress of a separation. And whether you or your partner's private actions are being scrutinized by a small group of friends and family or by millions of followers, it hurts and can come as a bit of a shock.

"Divorce is a surprisingly public event," author Beth Joselow wrote in her book, Life Lessons: 50 Things I Learned From My Divorce.

According to Divorce Magazine, Joselow was divorced in the early 1990s, but her advice seems even more apt in the age of Instagram and Facebook. "You may find that people who wouldn't ordinarily comment on the private matters in your life suddenly feel duty-bound to tell you what they think of your decision, when, of course, you hadn't asked," she wrote.

Garner says that the overwhelming number of unsolicited opinions on her divorce taught her a lesson.

"What I think I've learned is that the scrutiny in your private life puts a pressure to make something happen," Garner says. "You feel a pressure to hurry up and get married, 'cause you think that'll end the 'Are they engaged? Are they not?'"

Garner felt pressured to get married because the press was constantly asking if she was planning to, but much less famous folks may feel this same kind of pressure from their families, friends or social circles.

"Marrying because you 'should' almost always comes back to haunt you in the end," Susan Pease Gadoua, L.C.S.W., co-author The New I Do, Reshaping Marriage for Skeptics, Realists and Rebels writes for Psychology Today.

"I spoke with a woman recently who described the terrible ambivalence she had before tying the knot...Her gut told her not to go through with it but all pressure from her own head, her friends and family (and society) won out. She's now, nine years and two kids later, entering divorce proceedings."

We have to listen ourselves when it comes to starting a marriage or ending one. Garner's gut told her when it was time to not be married to Affleck anymore, and she's still able to have a successful co-parenting relationship with her children's father, as she proved with her public note to him on Father's Day.

In the end, when (and if) we choose to get married and when (and if) we choose to get divorced are personal decisions. And understanding when not to offer opinions is another great lesson from Garner.

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