You may have already heard never-ending advice on how to manage to get sleep after your newborn arrives. Reality is hitting you differently, and the only truth you know is that your baby never sleeps. We feel you. And we can help.
So, What Causes Lack Of Sleep After Giving Birth?
There are various reasons why a mother could lose sleep after giving birth. These reasons could range from stress to your baby’s sleep routine.
Demanding Newborn Schedule
Your newest member of the family does not know night from day and has short sleeping patterns. Their sleep is mainly short as their stomachs are small, and they have to feed after every few hours. They crave a lot of attention from you as they try to adjust to the new environment.
Postpartum Insomnia is where you have persistent difficulty with sleep onset, maintenance, consolidation, or quality, which are all very common in pregnancy and after giving birth. Your newborn does not have a sleeping pattern yet, and as you tend to them, it also disrupts your sleep pattern.
Stress And Anxiety
Being a first-time mother in the first weeks and months with your newborn might trigger stress and anxiety. Fear of the baby’s safety, worries, and challenges surrounding feeding, taking up the “new mom” role- these adjustments can lead to high cortisol secretion, which results in feelings of anxiety postpartum. And stress and sleep do not mix.
The decrease in progesterone production, a hormone with sleep-inducing properties, and changes in melatonin levels that the body secretes in the evening to promote sleepiness and relaxation will also make you lack sleep. These adjustments will change your sleep rhythm, regulating sleep and mood, appetite, and other bodily functions.
During and after a pregnancy, a mother requires a lot of blood. This need stems from blood loss during birth and infections that could occur during and after pregnancy, like; UTIs, endometriosis, and mastitis. Also, most mothers experience thyroid dysfunction that could result in anemia. The feeling of sluggishness that comes with anemia is easy to pass off fatigue caused by the newborn baby’s frequent wakes during the night.
General Life Changes
Before you delivered your bundle of joy, sleeping eight hours in a row came quickly. But now, with your new addition adjusting your schedule is inevitable, as they do not care about yours (program). This radical change will cause a lot of stress in your body both psychologically and physically, leaving you sleep-deprived.
For some parents, nights up with a newborn can morph into clinical insomnia, a risk factor for postpartum depression. This sleep-depressed cycle is possible for anyone who doesn’t log enough sleep. While feeling a little off is normal, there is a point where you should address this typical feeling.
Tips For Coping With Sleepless Nights
Yes, there are solutions that you can incorporate as you bring up your young one that will help alleviate this menace of lack of sleep.
Trade-off the middle of the night feedings
If you are exclusively breastfeeding your newborn, you might consider expressing milk for the night so that your partner can also help with the feeding. Alternatively, your partner can help as you breastfeed your babe by returning them to their crib. You might also take turns each night looking after your newborn.
Make Up For Lost Sleep
Easier said I know, but it is doable if you set aside every excuse not to. As a new mom, you shouldn’t try to be productive when your babe is sleeping; instead, you should join them to catch a nap. The 20-30 minutes nap will refresh you and that is the most productive thing you can do for yourself (and family).
Establish A Bed Ritual
Doing the same activity each day before you get into bed might help relax and reduce tension, signaling to your brain that it is now sleep time. The activities might be soaking in a bathtub, reading a book, or taking a cup of warm milk. It would be helpful if you also tried to make a specific time for sleeping and waking, though I know it is a bit tricky.
Encourage Self Soothing
Newborns are active sleepers. Therefore you do not need to leap out of bed whenever your babe groans or whimpers in the night. Give your baby some time, and she might fall back asleep. Giving your babe a couple of minutes to work out her gas before returning to sleep is good for both of you.
Put Your Baby To Bed Drowsy But Awake
This routine will encourage your baby to fall back to sleep even in the middle of the night, they will have associated the bed with the process of falling asleep.
Set The Mood
Ensure that your bedroom is quiet, dark, and temperate to induce sleep. Also, remember that when your baby needs nighttime feeding, use dim lights, a soft voice, and calm movements.
Consider Using A Pacifier
Although not all parents are into pacifiers, it might help soothe your baby as they sleep.
Seek Professional Help
You might consider sharing with your doctor your sleep difficulties. This way, you will be sure of whether what you are going through is normal or not.
This Will Not Last Forever
Don't worry, this may feel like it lasts forever but it won't. You will get the much-needed rest you deserve.
While your newborn wakes after every 3-4 hours now, by the time they are four months old, they (and you) will be able to enjoy long hours of sleep during the night.
By six months, your toddler will be able to sleep for five to six hours or more before they need feeding.
Remember, just because you can’t get your baby to sleep through the night doesn’t mean you are a terrible parent. It’s okay to take your time and understand your baby and their ways of communicating their needs so that you can help them sleep better. If you have significant concerns, it is best to contact your doctor.