Lack of sleep

A lack of sleep (sleep deprivation) can have a great effect on your mood, energy and ability to think clearly. Things can seem so much more catastrophic if you have not been getting enough sleep, and as a result you are likely to feel more overwhelmed, teary and emotional.

It’s important to recognise the impact of sleep deprivation on the way you feel and function.  Don’t be too hard on yourself.

Try and identify what may be causing problems with your sleep, for example, is this due to the baby being unsettled or do you have problems falling back to sleep once the baby has been settled.  It is then useful to try and come up with some practical strategies with your partner or other support people to help you get the sleep you need. This may include for example someone else doing the midnight feed, or, if your baby tends to cry frequently this may include arranging for someone to take the baby for a long pram walk.

I think the sleep deprivation and new mother experience makes you very vulnerable and you need people around who will be there and help you. Preferably your partner, but also your family and friends.

Talking with your maternal and child health nurse, general practitioner or paedeatrician may also give you some insights, as can calling a helpline or service to get some practical tips.

Sleep is a basic human need. Don’t underestimate how much it can help you by building your energy, resilience and help you to maintain a positive and realistic outlook.