Last month, I wrote about my postpartum insomnia. That particular post still receives about 30 views a day. Obviously, there are other moms searching for answers and advice in this area, so I want to follow up and share what has helped me. If you are new to my blog and would like to read the original post, click here.
First of all, I want to reiterate how terrible postpartum insomnia can be. Trying to care for a new baby on little to no sleep (for weeks and even months) takes a toll on your mental state. If you're dealing with this, you are certainly not alone. It's awful. Out of desperation, I was typing "postpartum insomnia" into every search engine I could find and reading every article that would pop up in the results. I knew I didn't want to use sleeping pills and wanted to find another "cure".
I really didn't find any straightforward method for fixing the problem, but I did find a common theme among the women who had overcome the issue. One way or another, they were able to sleep for the first time. After that first night of sleep, it got easier.
This is what I did:
I completely broke down. I asked my husband for help and stood over his shoulder as he read my original insomnia post. I don't think he had a clue. He knew I wasn't sleeping and that it was bothering me, but he didn't realize how crazy it was making me. That night, we put the baby to bed, and he stayed up long enough for me to fall asleep. Because I knew he was awake and available to care for the baby should she wake up, I was able to relax (kind of) and eventually fall asleep. It did take a few hours, but eventually it happened. Yes, I had to wake up at the slightest noise from the monitor, but it didn't matter because I had finally gotten a few hours of sleep. It took a couple of weeks to get used to sleeping through the night, but it was much easier after breaking the cycle. For a while, I still had difficulty when I would first go to bed, and I would wake at the softest sound or movement, but it really did get better. I now sleep pretty well. I wake when the baby wakes, but I no longer freak out every time I hear her turn her head or take a deep breath.
My advice is to simply do whatever you have to do to get one good night of sleep. Have your partner take over for a night, hire a babysitter, ask a family member or friend to help, try sleeping pills, meditate before bed, pray, whatever you need to do, do it. Once you have that first night out of the way, it should get better.