There is something to be said for the urgent need to wee 10 times or more per night during pregnancy. There is even a little something to be said for pregnancy insomnia, as insidious as it can be. While these sleep interruptions are irritating and emotionally testing, there is one positive side.They can help women prepare for aspects of sleep deprivation when their baby comes along.

Be prepared for sleep interruptions in those early days

During the immediate period after birth, your baby will be itching to feed, cuddle, develop and grow. These are all beautifully positive signs of a happy, healthy baby but it can be particularly hard on those breastfeeding.

You could be awake every 1-3 hours in the first 6-12 weeks (less or more for some), so it’s a nice idea to create the most comfortable, secure and inviting space possible for your overnight feeds.

Create a breastfeeding station: a cosy chair, a nightlight, a supportive pillow, and a caddy stacked with water, snacks, airpods, burp cloths and all your breastfeeding aids.

How to work with your partner

Every couple will differ in terms of how they support each other or how they manage the night feeds as a pair …

  • If you feel your partner is best left to sleep so that they can care for other children in the morning, walk the dog or take the lead in the housework - perfect.
  • If you’d prefer your partner to share the load by taking charge of the dream feed (around 10/11pm) or doing a bottle feed during the wee hours - make it happen.
  • If you can make it work and you’d prefer to alternate nights or perhaps designate the weekends to your partner - do it.

The right solution is whatever works for you and enables you to operate. If you’re open with your partner and they feel as though they have purpose during the turbulent nights, you may find that your household feels cohesive and united.

Some ways a non-birthing parent can get involved (Link to new notepad story called Notes for a New Dad)

Exercise, sunlight, fresh air

Overtime sleep deprivation can naturally compound with other postpartum factors such as changing hormone levels, learning to breastfeed and physically healing. Feelings of sadness, overwhelm and spiralling confidence are all things to look out for when your body is deprived of rejuvenating rest and deep sleep. You may feel teary, irritable, snappy or exceptionally foggy more often than not at times - and none of this is your fault. It’s an exceptionally tough phase, so try and be kind to yourself.

To help your mood find a smile, the release of endorphins through exercise and the release of serotonin through exposure to natural sunlight are two beautifully accessible ways to feed yourself a little TLC. Getting outside with your baby and into the fresh air can do wonders. While some days it may feel almost impossible to leave the house, it’s worth a go.

Sometimes just sitting in a cafe and enjoying surrounding chatter can lighten feelings of loneliness and ease the discomfort that follows exhaustion.

Flow State - Postpartum & Beyond

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