I Just Need to Sleep! 5 Tips for Managing Postpartum Insomnia
If you’re a new mom struggling with postpartum insomnia, you’re not alone. Having sleep problems after childbirth is common, but there are things you can do to make it better. Read on to learn how.
Why it happens.
First things first—no, you’re not crazy! The stress and lifestyle changes that come with having a baby are triggers for insomnia. What’s more, women experience a major drop in reproductive hormones after childbirth. This affects your body clock. And, your brain is primed to be on high alert for baby cries, which can disrupt your sleep patterns.
Chronic sleep deprivation puts you at higher risk for postpartum depression. If you feel depressed or excessively anxious, talk to your OB-GYN about it. Postpartum depression is treatable. Your doctor can also help treat insomnia.
What to do about it.
Postpartum insomnia can make it even harder to adjust to new motherhood. Here are some things that can help you get better sleep.
- Prepare for nighttime ups and downs. Frequent nighttime trips to your baby’s bassinette are an inevitable part of motherhood, but you can help yourself get back to sleep more quickly by preparing ahead. If you’re formula feeding, prepare formula for the night in advance and store in the fridge. Set all the things you’ll need for feeding within easy reach. Preparing can help you stay sleepy and fall back to sleep faster.
- Keep it dark. If you’re nursing, resist the urge to check your smartphone or turn on the TV. The blue light these devices emit can disrupt your circadian rhythm and make it harder to fall back to sleep. Prepare formula ahead so you’re not in the kitchen with lights on in the middle of the night. Avoid turning on the lights if possible or use a nightlight.
- Consider a nighttime or live-in nanny. A live-in nanny or baby nurse trained in newborn care can be a godsend, especially if you’re struggling with insomnia. At night your nanny can feed your baby or bring him or her to you for nursing. Your nanny can also help you keep a log of your baby’s sleep and feeding patterns and help you transition your baby to a regular schedule.
- Try relaxation techniques. Relaxation techniques including deep breathing, meditation, and yoga are all known to reduce stress by activating your body’s natural relaxation response. Belly breathing is a popular relaxation technique. It stimulates the vagus nerve, which can help reduce your blood pressure and heart rate. To do it, place one hand on your stomach and the other on your chest. Take a deep breath through your nose and expand your belly. The hand on your stomach should rise while the hand on your chest should remain still. Hold your breath, then slowly exhale all your air through your mouth. Repeat until you feel calm or (hopefully) fall asleep.
- Make your bedroom a sleep sanctuary. For too many of us, our bedroom also serves as a TV room, a playroom for the kids, and a hangout space. If possible, reserve your bedroom space for sleep. Get rid of the flat screen and keep the smartphones in another room. Make your bedroom a sanctuary reserved for quiet time and sleep.
Get Expert Help Hiring a Nanny
A nanny can be a tremendous help after your baby is born, especially if you’re struggling with insomnia.
Staffing at Tiffanie’s specializes in helping families find qualified, compassionate nannies. We use a rigorous screening process to carefully select qualified candidates, and we nurture you through the entire process of screening, interviewing, and hiring your perfect candidate—it’s how we’ve earned a reputation as one of the most trusted nanny agencies in the country.
Learn more about our process, then contact our domestic staffing agency at 866-484-5550 to find a nanny.