Health and Wellness

7 Tips for Better Sleep for New Moms

7 Tips for Better Sleep for New Moms

Getting enough sleep when you have a new baby can be a very difficult task, especially in the first year or so. Not only can this affect your mental health, but it can really take a toll on your overall health if you let it go too far without finding some relief. 

You could also be suffering from postpartum insomnia due to hormone fluctuations, worries about your newborn’s care, and all of the tasks that continue to add up in this sometimes overwhelming phase of life. The good news is that there are some tips you can put into place to help set up your environment so that when you do get the opportunity to rest, you can use it efficiently and effectively. 

Practice Healthy Sleep Hygiene and a Sleep Environment

Many things will feel out of the control of new mothers in a baby’s first few weeks and months, but the best advice for working through lack of sleep is to start with forming habits that encourage good sleep hygiene. 

Some of the best ways to do this include

  • Create a bedtime routine and stick to it as closely as possible. Part of what causes insomnia is your body being out of a natural rhythm. Try and build your day in as predictable of a routine as you can.
  • Set up your bedroom environment to prepare your body for sleep. Keep it dark, limit your screen time, take away noise and distractions, and keep the room at a comfortable temperature to help build healthy sleep habits. 
  • If time allows, take a warm bath before bed to relax your mind and body.

Ask for Help, and Accept It

Sometimes even grabbing short naps throughout the day can be helpful to a new mom. If you have friends or a family member that have offered to take care of your baby, don’t automatically turn them down. (which is what many of us do without hesitating or even realizing that we’re doing it!) 

The best thing you can do for yourself and for your baby is to accept the help that is offered to you, and if someone hasn’t offered, don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for it. Depending on the age, you can even ask your oldest child for some help so that the demands don’t feel quite so insurmountable. 

Bringing a new baby into your home affects the entire family, and you might be surprised how much it helps each member bond with the newest member when they are given a chance to feel important in the process. Be sure and include your partner, especially in those first few weeks. Have them get the baby for you to feed or the pump parts if you’re needing to pump. Those little minutes and feeling like you’re working as a team will help your family function more efficiently. 

Caffeinated Drinks Are Not a Sufficient Substitute for Sleep

In those early days; it’s very easy to grab caffeinated drinks when you are running on little sleep and can’t seem to find the energy to keep moving forward. The problem isn’t necessarily in the caffeine itself but in the fact that you’re using it instead of taking the time to fill your body with whole foods, water, and adequate sleep. 

In some instances, especially with those who already suffer from mental health issues, too much caffeine can increase your risk of postpartum anxiety. A quick reminder that we understand that you will have some days where caffeine is your best friend and the only way to make it through a certain day; the main thing is not to let it continue past that day and instead have habits and routines in place that promote an overall healthier version of yourself. 

Lower Your Expectations for Home Chores

If you are someone who is typically in charge of the household chores and like things kept a certain way, you need to prepare yourself beforehand to lower your expectations for those chores in the early days of your postpartum period. Between not getting adequate sleep, caring for a newborn, and recovering from having a baby, you will have other things that need your focus right now. 

A great way to take some of this weight from your shoulders is to assign older children some of the household tasks. Keep in mind they might not do it exactly as you would, but as long as they are trying to help, it’s important that you encourage them to keep it up. There will be a time in the future to get your house back together, but not everything has to be perfect in those early weeks. Those first moments with your baby will never come around again. 

If you know this will be a struggle for you, there is the option to hire a postpartum doula that can help with house chores and other tasks so that you can look around and feel comfortable in your space. 

Take Morning Walks

Our bodies are made to move. The best way to help improve those sleepless nights is to make sure that you’re getting in some physical activity during the day. One of the easiest ways to get that done is to go for a morning walk. 

This could also help with some of those mood swings you might be experiencing after several nighttime feedings or a fussy baby. Getting outside and enjoying the fresh air and the outdoors can set the tone for a better day for you and your baby. 

Use Your Day to Set the Tone for a Good Night’s Sleep

Now that you know to get your walk in to help promote a good night’s sleep, there are a few other steps you can take so that nighttime you is grateful for daytime. Some of the easiest steps you can take include

  • Not eating any heavy meals close to bedtime
  • Don’t put off stressful tasks and then try to get them all completed right before bedtime
  • Work on creating a daytime schedule that sets you and your baby up to be ready for bedtime 
  • Take the time to learn about newborn behaviors so you have a better idea of what to expect, and so you’re not having unrealistic expectations in those early days and weeks
  • Take the time to rest during the day when the baby is sleeping. Even if you can’t actually fall asleep, allow yourself time to just sit and be without feeling like you need to be doing something all of the time

As your baby gets older and you begin to develop a sleep schedule with longer stretches over the next few months, you might be surprised that you will actually come to miss these early days ad weeks with your newborn. 

However, that first full night’s sleep after the birth of a child is also a beautiful moment to be grateful for! 

If you are looking for a great nursing or pumping bra that will be comfortable even when you’re sleeping, we recommend looking into The Emma and The Rose 2.0

Reading next

Psychological Effects of Breastfeeding
Starting Your Breastfeeding Journey After a C-Section

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