How to Sleep When Your Baby Does Not

It’s 1 AM and you are up again to pump or breastfeed- and feeling stressed and exhausted. Your newborn may refuse to latch or starts crying, adding to your anxiety and stress levels. You try going back to sleep, but it is difficult. This can happen several times throughout the night. This scenario is very common for new mothers, whether they are doing this on their own or have help from their baby nurses or family members.

As a result, sleep is minimal, fragmented, or virtually nonexistent. Getting a good night’s sleep is important for our general well being and mental health. It helps to bolster our immune system, improve memory, and combat depression. Here are 5 tips to optimize on the quality of sleep and its benefits postpartum. 

1. If possible, try to fall asleep or catch some sleep in the earlier hours (8PM to midnight), where you will get the most benefit from nonREM sleep (deeper and more restorative)

2.   Avoid using electronic devices during the night or wear glasses/ blue light filter

3.   In the evenings, use lamps or night lights with red bulbs

4.   Make sure your sleeping area is comfortable to eliminate joint pain. Try a mattress topper, a cervical pillow, or additionally a body pillow if you are a side sleeper. After a cesarean section, you may also find it more comfortable to have a roll or pillow under your knees

5.   Once you’re in bed, try some breathing exercises by inhaling for a count of 4, then exhaling for a count of 6-8. Feel the movement of your chest and belly. Do this for a few minutes. 

Being a new mom comes with many challenges, but it is important to take care of yourself, even if it is taking one step at a time. 

Reach me if I can answer any questions on physical therapy, serving you locally in New York City or anywhere online virtually through “telehealth“.

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