Pregnancy and baby

Sleep and tiredness after having a baby

How can I cope with a lack of sleep?

Media last reviewed: 11/04/2012

Next review due: 11/04/2014

Getting enough sleep with a new baby

Most of the time, parents put up with tiredness. But if you're feeling low, bad tempered and unable to cope or enjoy things, you need to find a way of getting more sleep, or at least more rest. Here are some tips that may help you feel more rested.

An early night

Go to bed really early for, say, one week. If you can't sleep when you go to bed, do something relaxing for half an hour beforehand, such as soaking in the bath.

Try deep relaxation

As little as five to 10 minutes of deep relaxation may help refresh you. You can learn relaxation techniques online, or go to the library for books or DVDs.

Sleep when your baby sleeps

Rest when your child has a daytime rest or when they're at playgroup or nursery school. You could ask a relative or friend to take your child for a while and spend the time sleeping (not doing housework).

Take turns with other parents to look after the children to give yourselves time to rest. Set an alarm if you're worried about sleeping too long.

Watch this video where a health visitor explains how you can get your baby into a routine from about eight weeks of age.

Take it in turns to 'do the nights'

If you can, share the responsibility of getting up in the night with your partner. Take alternate nights or weeks. If you're on your own, a friend or relative may be prepared to have your children overnight occasionally. Find out more about childcare.

Don't let stress get on top of you

Tiredness is often a sign of stress. If you can do something about the stress, you might find it easier to cope, even if you can't get any more sleep. Find out more about low level stress in Moodzone.

If you can't sleep at night even when your baby is sleeping, it could be a sign of postnatal depression. See Feeling depressed after birth for more information and advice about postnatal depression.

More information on your sleep after having a baby

Postnatal depression

Mums who have had postnatal depression talk about the feelings they faced, and perinatal psychiatrist Dr Margaret Oates explains how it can be treated quickly with the right help.

Media last reviewed: 16/09/2013

Next review due: 16/09/2015

Page last reviewed: 09/01/2014

Next review due: 09/01/2016

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The 1 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

lemming1 said on 04 September 2013

A lot of this advice assumes bottle/formula feeding. You can't share night wakes or send your baby away for a night if you breast feed and not all parents who bottle feed want to be separated from their babies so young!

If breast feeding you can get more rest by feeding laying down in the night and following the unicef safe co sleeping guidelines.

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