10 Tips to Improve Sleep for New Moms
Sleep deprivation and motherhood don’t have to go hand-in-hand.
4. Sleep when your baby sleeps.
Any experienced baby nurse will tell you that the key to staving off
postpartum sleep deprivation is to sleep when your baby sleeps. “If your baby
takes a nap, put everything aside and take a nap too,” Zafarlotfi says.
“Everything can wait -- except the baby.”
Park agrees. “It is very tempting to try and do chores, wash dishes, do
laundry and clean floors when your baby is asleep. But accept that your
house is dirty and messy and go to sleep because once baby is up, you
have to be up too,” she says.
Do not use this time to make phone calls or catch up on episodes of
Grey’s Anatomy, 24, or other favorite shows that you have been
“I don’t care of you have piles of laundry all over the house -- if you are
too tired to drive your child to the pediatrician, you have a problem on your
hands,” says Michael Breus, PhD, author of Beauty Sleep and the clinical
director of the sleep division for Arrowhead Health in Glendale, Ariz.
5. Say yes to help.
“Accept any help that you can get,” Park says. “Many people are resistant,
but whether it is a family member, friend, or babysitter, accept help, so you
can get a few hours of sleep,” she says. “People think of sleep as a luxury,
but it is a medical requirement.
“When you do get to nap, avoid television, radio, and looking at your clock
so you don’t focus on how much time you have left,” she says. A cool, dark
environment is also optimal for napping.
6. Don’t worry that you won’t hear your baby cry.
“A baby is a natural alarm clock and mothers tend to be attuned to their
baby’s crying,” Park says. If you are concerned that you won’t hear your baby
or if the nursery is far away from your bedroom, buy a monitor and keep it near
you. Remember that your baby is safe, and if he cries for a few minutes before
you hear him, he will be OK.
7. Outsource tasks.
If your baby takes a bottle, ask your partner to take on some of the
feedings. If you’re breastfeeding, says Park, “Consider pumping and giving
someone else a turn to feed.” Try to divide up all your household
responsibilities as best you can.
8. Keep your eye on the prize.
One day -- maybe tomorrow, maybe when your infant is 8 months -- she will
sleep through the night. And so will you. Some babies sleep through the night
earlier than others. If your baby is crying all night, talk to your
pediatrician as there may be a medical reason -- such as acid reflux or too
much gas -- that can be treated.