3 Tips to Help New Mums Get More Sleep

posted in: Life, Parenting | 0

Someday, hopefully soon, your sweet newborn baby will sleep through the night. In the meanwhile, it’s inevitable that, as a new mum, you’re likely to suffer from sleep deprivation. In fact, you can expect to experience disrupted sleep for as long as six years after the birth of your child. However, there are several things you can do to increase the chances that you will get a decent night’s sleep:


Make Sure You Have a Restful Bedroom Environment

There are many things that can cause insomnia or sleep deprivation beyond your newborn’s frequent feeding habits. The usual culprits include light pollution and an uncomfortable mattress. You’ll want to proactively avoid these extra complications by dealing with any related problems that may be plaguing you:

      • If too much ambient light finds its way into your bedroom, get yourself some high quality blackout curtains.
      • Research the most comfortable mattresses and upgrade yours if necessary.
      • Eliminate distractions that can keep you awake; in particular, ban all tv, phone and similar screens from the room. Especially avoid watching or reading the latest world news before bedtime, as that can be stressful.

Caffeinate Only With Extreme Caution

Short of stapling your eyelids open, it might seem like caffeine is your only hope for staying awake after a sleepless night of constant awakenings to feed your baby. The problem with that approach is that the caffeine will hang around in your system for many hours and keep you awake later when you’re finally ready to sleep.

The solution to this problem: Drink caffeinated beverages in the morning if you must, but be aware that you need to cut off your consumption earlier than you might think. Research indicates that caffeine you drink as long as 6 hours before bedtime will adversely affect your ability to fall asleep when it’s your bedtime later.

Avoid “The Transfer”

No doubt you’ll notice that there’s one particularly tricky point in the process when you’re attempting to get your child to sleep through the night. After the baby has fallen asleep, in that moment when you make the transfer from your arms to the cot, it’s quite likely that the wee one will awaken, screaming, eliminating any chance of you sneaking quietly off to your own bed.

It’s possible to go through this cycle endless times:

      • Rock the baby to sleep;
      • Attempt the transfer;
      • Fail;
      • Repeat.

By the time you’ve gone through a few cycles of this, you’re ready to scream.


Want to learn the tricks for avoiding this scenario completely? It’s easy. There are two possible approaches you can take.

If you breastfeed your baby, you might want to attempt the transfer once. Sometimes it will go smoothly, in which case you can sleep as usual. On nights when the baby doesn’t stay sleeping when you attempt the transfer, you can simply skip making the transfer at all. Keep the baby in bed with you after nursing. This is known as “bed sharing” or “co-sleeping”.

 Bed sharing is sometimes frowned on because it appears to increase the risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). However, bed sharing alone is not the most significant risk factor for SIDS. In the vast majority of SIDS cases involving bed sharing, there were other risk factors such as alcohol or drug abuse involved. Bottle fed babies also appear to be at greater risk in a co-sleeping situation, and so it’s prudent to avoid bed sharing if you are bottle feeding your newborn.

Before we get any further into this discussion, you need to know that there are scenarios when you should absolutely NOT attempt bed sharing:

      • Do not put the baby in bed with you if you have been taking drugs, drinking alcohol or smoking cigarettes.
      • Do not sleep with a baby on a couch, chair or any surface that is not an actual bed with a proper mattress.

But in situations where a healthy, sober mum wakes to breastfeed her newborn in bed and then keeps the baby in the bed with her for the rest of the night, the overall risk of SIDS is very low. 

If you bottle feed your baby, or you indulge in the occasional adult substance, there’s a different approach that should be considered instead of bed sharing: It’s a Montessori floor bed. Here’s how it works:

You completely childproof your baby’s nursery. Then you ditch the cot and instead put your child to sleep on a mattress on the floor. When it’s time to put the baby to sleep after a feeding session, you get in the bed with your little one, easing the baby onto the mattress carefully. At that point, don’t leave quite yet. Ensure the baby is sleeping peacefully, and then sneak away quietly to enjoy your own peaceful sleep until it’s time to awaken for the next feeding. The entire transfer process is easier when you are able to get in the bed with the baby.


These tips won’t immediately get you back to a full night of sleep each night, but they can definitely help to get you pointed in that direction. Keep in mind that your sleep-deprived state of affairs is only temporary. You’ll no doubt be astonished at how quickly your tiny newborn will develop into a child who sleeps well through the night.