Are you looking for a way to avoid sleep deprivation postpartum? Caring for a baby can be exhausting, especially in the first few months after birth. Babies often wake several times a night, and the lack of a familiar sleep cycle can be off-putting for someone who is not getting her Z’s.
Many parents experience tiredness. But it is even worse if you feel low, short-tempered, and are struggling to cope and enjoy life. Based on my personal experience as a mother, I believe it does not have to be that way.
I struggled at first because I did not know how to avoid sleep deprivation postpartum. Once I learned this, my life was changed forever. I am so thankful for all the content out there on the subject. Hopefully, this article will simplify the research process for other women. Happy dreaming!
Please note that these are only ideas. I know many mothers who only use some of these with great results. It is not pivotal or recommended by experts that you do all of these tips. Even doing a few of these things can do a lot of good.
Also, note that the article is not compiled by an expert. These ideas are not meant to treat sleep deprivation, they are just thoughts that will guide you to other sanctions of study. If you wish to know more about anything in this article, I will guide you to people who have done more extensive research. See the resources section at the bottom of this page to learn more.
Bedsharing is my favorite for so many reasons. It helped me to have peace of mind about my baby in the first weeks. It also gave me an easy option to make nighttime feedings go more smoothly.
Co-sleeping helped me to get more sleep as my baby got older. He was close to my bed, yet far enough away to give my husband and me more space. I simply rolled over to where he lay to feed him and make sure that his needs were met. After that, I could go back to snuggling with my husband. See the resource section for more information about co-sleeping and how it differs from bedsharing.
This has been a wonderful thing for me in so many ways, but it is a godsend for sleeping. I have never had to get out of my warm bed to heat formula. I just roll over and pop a boob into my baby’s mouth. That allows me to stay drowsy, so I don’t take long to drift back to sleep.
4. Get a sound machine!
This helps the baby sleep too! I can’t sleep without it, and I am ok with that right now. We live in a world where sound is easily accessible. Quiet is not so freely available.
5. Sleep when your baby is sleeping.
I was so overcome with a whole range of emotions, so it was difficult for my mind to be quiet enough to sleep. This is where the next step comes in. Pay heed and make it happen. This is the best time to sleep when you’ve just delivered a baby. Getting rest is more important than trying to catch up on undone tasks. Letting go helped me get the sleep I needed for my sanity.
6. Keep a journal.
Journaling gave me mental peace and clarity to accept what is, cannot be changed, and the ability to move forward by getting much-needed rest.
I have not heard much about it in other places, so I will elaborate more here. When I journaled, I simply listed all the things that I could think of that were bothering me.
The weakest point in my life was postpartum. I lacked the brainpower to navigate social waters. I simply broke down whenever I had a nonpositive thought.
Telling someone did not always help, even if there was someone there to talk with, because my brain went on a million rabbit trails. I would forget what it was I originally wanted to express, in my rush to relieve my mind of its burden. Thus, writing solved that problem for me. It allowed me to be able to see what was bothering me, despite how petty those sensations felt to me. I felt that being vulnerable on paper was so much easier than talking with people who appeared rushed or possibly controlled by their own set of societal filters.
Once I wrote everything that bothered me down (a brain dump of multiple pages), I felt a huge sense of relief. Everything seemed so much simpler. I laid down, using many of the other tips, and rested knowing that my problems had names. There was no more guesswork about solutions. Resting would carry me to a time where I could talk about it with greater ease.
7. Go to bed early.
This was soooo hard for me because my husband and I would have “pity parties” and binge-watch movies. I would be exhausted, my baby sleeping, and still, we were up past midnight. I later learned the great art form of communication, which helped me to navigate out of those patterns, and leads us to the next point.
8. Learn how to have a good relationship with whoever you are with.
For my life, this boils down to communication. We got counseling, figured out what we expected from each other, and worked through every topic to agree on everything. I need to be on the same page with my husband to get the proper support from him that I need (which includes making a safe time and space for you to sleep). This has helped me so much, to be able to feel like the complete woman that I am. I am emotionally safe because I can express my need for sleep and receive the proper support to make that happen.
9. Share responsibilities when possible.
This will look different for every mother. I personally greatly enjoy all the aspects of caring for my baby, so I prefer to do most of the hands-on responsibilities that come with having a baby. Even so, it is a breath of fresh air sometimes when my husband changes a diaper or puts the baby to sleep here and there. This allows me to settle down into bed sooner rather than later or go back to sleep for a few hours in the morning. Customize this tip to your lifestyle. Everyone is unique, so this will be different for everyone.
10. Ask your friends and family for help where you need it.
I asked my mother-in-law for help when I felt overwhelmed. I asked other family members as well, depending on what the need was, and who was available and willing. There is usually at least one kindly available friend or family member in most people’s circles to get this perk. Take advantage of that and accept their help. That does not mean you have to give your baby to them if you don’t want to. Even just having them help with chores is amazing. It makes it so that things get done in a fast and efficient way so that nap time comes sooner!
11. Get to know and guide your baby’s sleep pattern.
My baby slept fairly well the first two nights. The third night was a different story at first. Then I remembered what I had learned from reading awesome books; I implemented those tips, and my baby went right to sleep, so I could go to sleep! He woke up several times to nurse throughout the night but went right back to sleep afterward. I did not train him to sleep through the whole night without waking up because I believe it is beneficial to wake several times throughout the night. I will probably delve into that in a later post.
The biggest things to remember when guiding your baby’s sleep patterns are to:
- Give your baby an environment for sleep that mimics the womb.
- Pay attention to your baby’s cues so that he or she does not overtire themselves and sleep longer than 3 hours during the day.
I will elaborate more on these two things in another post.
12. Do Savasana.
When I did this practice, I relaxed so much that I drifted to sleep before it was over. I highly recommend this. Just search for one on YouTube or see the link below for one that I have done before.
Exercising helped me to feel less tired when I did it regularly. In the early postpartum stages, it is generally recommended that you avoid working out because your body needs to rest. While this is true for most workouts, it is often considered safe to do the following things:
- Pelvic floor workouts.
14. Listen to sleep meditations.
Listening to sleep meditations helped me to drift to sleep when I was way too alert for sleep.
15. Know your why.
I struggled with this during my pregnancy and then in the postpartum time of my first son. I dealt with a lot of conflicting random thoughts that interfered with my ability to sleep. I was constantly bombarded with such thoughts, to the point of tears. My rabbi recommended that I follow a program that helped me realize that I needed to figure out what my why was in life. Figuring this out changed my life in so many ways. It gave me so much peace. Having peace aided in giving me sleep.
Watch out for signs of postpartum depression, anxiety, and psychosis.
I struggled with the baby blues for sure, but I was not diagnosed with the above. If you are suffering from any of the following symptoms, please seek help.
- Still having trouble sleeping despite following these tips.
- Still feeling tired while doing them.
- Feeling down.
- Not enjoying things that you normally enjoy.
- Experiencing thoughts of harm to self or others.
Please talk with your midwife or doctor as soon as possible to get the help you need to make a rapid recovery.
These tips will help you learn for yourself how to avoid sleep deprivation postpartum:
- Bedshare or co-sleep.
- Get a sound machine.
- Sleep when your baby is sleeping.
- Keep a journal.
- Go to bed early.
- Learn how to have a good relationship with whoever you are with.
- Share responsibilities when possible.
- Ask your friends and family for help where you need it.
- Get to know and guide your baby’s sleep pattern.
- Do Savasana.
- Listen to sleep meditations.
- Know your why.
I hope this article will give you what you need to create a peaceful home where everyone involved can be happy healthy people.
The following resource section contains all the links to where I gleaned this information as a pregnant first-time mom and an internet sleuth.
Connect with me on Instagram! Let’s talk about this stuff. Tell me what you have never heard of before, and what you want to know more about. I can always use content ideas. I love you, fellow mamas! You’ve got this.
Do your research! Go to multiple sources, know why you choose what you choose. The list of resources is very lengthy, so I decided to make another home for it: