How to get Good Sleep after Having a Baby
Tricks and Tips for new Mums
With each new phase in your life, there are new challenges to face and roles to play. Part of entering motherhood is to discover the reality of caring for another human being that needs regular feedings and nappy changes, and doesn’t yet sleep through the night. So how do you get good sleep after having a baby?
Most new Mums get too little sleep during their infant’s first year or two of life. With interrupted sleep – or worse yet, completely sleepless nights – you can readily suffer from extreme fatigue.
Being tired can leave you to start to question yourself if you are really ready to be a mother, and too little sleep can even contribute to post-natal depression. So it’s important to do ALL you can, when you can, to get the rest you need.
The reality is that it’s not easy to care for your baby (or your baby, the rest of your family and yourself) while also trying to prioritise work or other important household and family matters. Especially if you’re feeling very sleep deprived.
But there are some tricks and tips to get a good night’s sleep after having a baby.
So if you haven’t had a good night’s sleep in weeks or even months, then check out the following tips and tricks for improving your sleep quality and duration while caring for your baby:
- Talk with your partner early about your sleep needs.
The best time to do this is before you bring your baby home or before your due date. You and your partner may discuss your sleeping strategies such as scheduling your sleeping time (one may sleep during daytime and the other will take care of the baby).
- Sleep when your baby sleeps.
While it’s very tempting to do other things such as house chores when your baby is asleep, it is recommended that you also take a nap in order to prevent postpartum sleep deprivation. Furthermore, newborns tend to sleep most of the day so you will also have a longer rest period. Don’t succumb to the temptation to use the time the baby sleeps to do other things – you need your rest as well, and that’s sometimes the only time you’ll get it.
- Request backup assistance if things get too tough.
Accept any help that you can get either from a family member or a friend. If you have the resources to hire a night nurse or babysitter, then do so in order for you to get as much rest as you can.
- Modify your environment to enhance the possibility of sleep.
Most mums think of sleep as a luxury, therefore, if they find an opportunity to sleep, they will grab it. However, not all people can go to sleep immediately especially during the day. To solve this problem, it is recommended to avoid television, radio, or anything that can disturb your sleep. Most importantly, make your room cool and dark for you to have a better sleep. Dark eye masques can also help – there are even nicely scented lavender ones using pure essential oils (avoid the perfumed ones as they can cause irritation).
- Avoid looking at your clock if you’re trying to sleep.
When you do get to nap, avoid looking at your clock or watch so you don’t focus on how time you have left. Just relax and clear your mind so that you can sleep immediately. If you have a digital clock that has brightly lit numbers, turn it away from you or see if there’s a dimmer switch.
- Use a baby monitor so you can relax when you try to get sleep after having a baby.
One of the major reasons why mums find it hard to get a good sleep is that they worry too much about their baby. If you are concerned that you won’t hear your baby because you are already in a deep sleep or if the nursery is far away from your bedroom, it is recommended to buy a baby monitor and keep it near you. In this way, you can immediately wake up if your baby is crying.
- Seek professional help if being tired or being a new Mum gives you the blues (Post-partum depression).
While it is normal for new mothers to experience sleep deprivation, and whilst it’s common to be irritable when you’re tired, not having a good sleep for months on end – or finding yourself constantly worried about your baby – can sometimes be indicative of a psychological problem. The so called “baby blues” is something that many new mothers experience; but for some it’s mild, and for others it can be severe. In general, post-partum depression is characterized by sadness, irritability, bouts of sudden crying or crying for an extended period, restlessness, extreme anxiety, eating and sleep disturbances and other mood related changes.
What you need to DO if you think you have post-partum depression
Motherhood is typically anything but easy, even if you enjoy being a Mum. The thing to understand about post-partum mood disorders or depression is that you’re not alone — it’s relatively common. The #1 thing you need to do after understanding that it’s not uncommon, is to seek professional support from your GP, Maternity Care Nurse or a Psychological service. If you don’t seek support or ask for help, depression after pregnancy can worsen to the point it becomes dangerous for you and your baby’s well being.
Some online resources for helping you to address the stress-related changes of being a new parent are Beyond Blue and PANDA.
8. Try music to get a better night’s sleep
There are excellent sleep-inducing music options that may help your baby – and you and your partner – get some quality shut eye after having a baby. You may need to experiment with a few, but we hear many parents love the following music options.
(If you have toddlers, try: http://www.parents.com/toddlers-preschoolers/sleep/schedule/best-sleep-apps/)
For music to help infants sleep, we found a great parenting blog with a large selection of recommended music choices at https://www.care.com/c/stories/4562/the-best-in-baby-sleeping-music/
What it is: This app includes rain, womb sounds and ocean waves – on a timer. If your infant wakes up and cries, the sound of crying triggers the sensor on the Nighty Night Owl to restart its soundtrack.
What it is: a beautiful collection of cello, guitar, piano and other soothing instruments – nearly guaranteed to help lull your baby to sleep.
What it is: gentle mix of nature sounds and soothing lullabies.
What it is: classic rock songs and their history combined into soothing bedtime melodies.
What it is: a tranquil compilation including favorites such as “Rockabye Baby” & “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”.
What it is: beautiful music that’s used in hypno-birthing and relaxation massage, as well as for infant sleep.
What it is: a double-disc collection you can even use during long car rides.
What it is: exactly as the title says – Van Halen but in lullaby format.
What it is: a customisable app, with a combination of music approaches to helping babies sleep; from white noise to sound tracks of nature and city scenes.
What it is: compilation of nature sounds and soothing music combined to help with deep sleep, relaxation and meditation.
We also like the Australian cd versions for “Lullaby and Goodnight“:
And of course, on Amazon, there’s Disney versions of baby lullabies too!
What’s YOUR favourite tip for getting a good night’s sleep after having a baby or newborn in the house?
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- Gordon Parker; Kerrie Eyers; Philip Boyce (2014). Overcoming Baby Blues: A comprehensive guide to perinatal depression. Allen & Unwin. pp. 20–. ISBN 978-1-74331-677-1.