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Health After Pregnancy

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Last Reviewed: April 2017

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Staying Healthy

Getting Enough Sleep

Key Points

  • Most new mothers get only 2-3 hours of sleep at a time.
  • Resist the temptation to "catch up" on things while your baby sleeps.
  • Don't be afraid to say no to visitors so you can get the rest you need.
  • Accept offers to help from your partner, family and friends.

Newborn babies can feed up to 12 times in 24 hours, so for the first couple months new mothers may get only 2-3 hours of sleep at a time.

Following these guidelines will help you get the sleep and rest you need to feel calmer and happier as you adjust to the challenges of being a new parent.

Sleep when your baby is sleeping

Resist the temptation to "catch up" on chores as your baby sleeps. Instead, take a nap, lie on the couch and put your feet up. If you can't sleep, even just resting can help replenish your energy.

Involve your partner

Resist the temptation to "catch up" on chores as your baby sleeps.

Your partner can do lots of things besides feeding. Partners can bathe, burp, change and soothe baby to sleep after breastfeeding.

Your partner can also bring baby to you to breastfeed in the middle of the night. This not only gives you a chance to rest, but also lets your partner develop a relationship with baby. Involved partners are great partners!

Prevent interruptions

Before you settle down for a nap:

  • Turn off the phone ringer.
  • Turn off the answering machine.
  • Put a sign on your door that says, "Mother and baby sleeping. Please don't ring the doorbell."

Taking these actions will help you have an uninterrupted nap.

Say yes to help

Accept all offers of help from family and friends. When they come to visit they can help with laundry, bring food or watch older children while you sleep.

Limit visitors

Your friends and family will be enthusiastic to see your new baby, but having visitors can be very tiring for you.

If you're really tired, don't be afraid to say no to someone who wants to visit. Simply suggest another time when you're feeling more rested.

Help baby tell day from night

The longer baby is awake during the night, the longer it can take to get him back to sleep.

So during night feedings, keep the room dark and quiet and have everything you need for diaper changes close by. This will help baby understand that nighttime is for sleeping - not playing.

Readjust your priorities

Having a newborn means you won't be able to do all the things you did before.

Before you tackle the laundry or wash the breakfast dishes, ask yourself, "Is this something I have to do right now?" Feeding, caring and playing with your baby are more important now than having a clean house.

Take it easy, and go easy on yourself. Housework will still be there when you have the energy.

Get some exercise

Daily exercise will reduce your stress level, help you sleep better and make you feel more relaxed.

Tucking baby into his stroller and taking a daily walk will help both you and baby sleep better at night.

Take time to relax

Taking a warm bath before bed can help you to fall asleep. If you're having trouble sleeping, try reducing the caffeine in your diet. Caffeine might give you more energy during the day, but it can make it hard to fall asleep.

If you're feeling stressed, take a break from your baby. Ask your partner, a family member or a friend to watch the baby while you go out. Even a walk around the block can help recharge your batteries.

Related links:

Speak with a Peel Public Health Nurse
905-799-7700
Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Caledon residents call free of charge at 905-584-2216


Bringing baby home | Staying healthy | Dealing with the unexpected
Your changing relationship | Becoming a dad | New parent resources | Contact us

Revised: Tuesday June 27 2017

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