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10 Tips to Improve Sleep for New Moms

Sleep deprivation and motherhood don’t have to go hand-in-hand.

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.

9. Don’t ignore the baby blues.

Sleep loss can lead to mood changes, and new moms are at risk for baby blues or the more serious postpartum depression. “If you are experiencing some of these symptoms, talk to your doctor to address them,” Park says. Mood changes may be made worse by sleep deprivation.

10. Rule out underlying sleep disorders.

“Short naps should revive you somewhat, but if you don’t feel like they do, see a professional as there may be an underlying sleep disorder that can be treated,” Park says. Sleep disorders like sleep apnea -- pauses in breathing while you sleep -- are very common among people who gain weight, and may develop due to the weight gain of pregnancy. A sleep study, in which you are monitored while asleep, can identify sleep apnea. Treatments are available.

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Reviewed on January 19, 2010
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