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What helps a new mum to get some rest?

You have given birth to your gorgeous baby, you have taken them home. Now what?

You are tired. You are exhausted. You need some rest.

The good news is that your newborn will sleep for around 14-17 hours a day. The not-so-good news is that this will probably be in short bursts of 2-3 hours. So what can you do to get enough rest? Here are my 9 tips to help new mums to get some rest:

TIP 1 Bonding and feeding

First of all prioritize bonding and feeding your baby. Babies who are kept close and comforted cry less and are generally more settled. Try feeding your baby at their earliest feeding cues to keep them calm and content. It is worth getting support with feeding early if needed as any issues can affect their sleep.

TIP 2 Rest your mind and body

You may have heard the adage “Sleep when the baby sleeps?” For most of us, this is more of a hope than reality. Nevertheless, maximise your rest, even if you don’t actually manage to fall asleep. Even if you just rest your mind and body, it will make a huge difference to how you feel.

Try this breathing exercise to ease your mind into a restful state:

A simple breathing exercise for new mums

TIP 3 Ask and accept help from visitors

Vacuum cleaning? It can wait. Washing up? Can a friendly visitor help you out? A handy tip on visitors: It can be useful to plant an expectation of help from visitors before baby arrives.

You might find that people will want to come over and hold your baby. While some mothers are happy to hand over their newborn to have a short break, other mothers feel reluctant to hand the baby over quite yet - even if it means they can get some rest. Remember that however you feel about handing over your baby is totally fine and normal.

TIP 4 Be kind to yourself

Most women find that often, as they lay their heads down, they just can’t sleep. Many report

hearing “phantom” baby cries as they try to drift off. It can be incredibly hard to relax. Try focusing on your breathing, breathing in and out. Notice where your mind wonders to and name the thought. If you notice your baby breathing name it “baby breath”. If feelings come up, name the feeling and let it go. Come back to your breathing, in and out. You can use the mantra “breathing in I am calm, breathing out I let go. I am safe and my baby is safe with me”. This is a sensitive time. Be kind to yourself.

TIP 5 Location, location, location

Set yourself up for sleep success. You might want to think about where you set your baby down for naps as well, so that you can maximize your own rest. As it is dangerous to fall asleep on the sofa with your baby perhaps set yourself up with the Moses basket or bassinet next to the sofa. Get yourself some blankets ready so you can snuggle down while your baby naps. Or learn how to co-sleep safely and have a nap with your baby right next to them in your bed. You might also want to (temporarily) go to bed a little earlier at night to catch up on rest.

TIP 6 Express your needs to your partner

Some families find success by taking the night time care in shifts. Try things out, to see what works for your family. I recommend keeping communication open with your partner and let them know when you need more help or more rest. Sometimes we expect them to just “know” but often they don’t unless we communicate our needs.

TIP 7 Create calming bedtime rituals

Make your bedroom a calm place for sleep. Cool, quiet and dark. Try to avoid screens and engaging with social media in the bedroom, the mental stimulation and blue light from the devices will make it harder for you to sleep. Avoid drinking alcohol at least 2 hours before bed as this can affect the quality of sleep and make it less restorative. Try some herbal tea, chamomile is known to be calming and has been found to help exhausted new mothers get more sleep.

TIP 8 Seek support for your mental health if needed

Your mental health also affects the quantity and quality of sleep. If you had a particularly difficult or traumatic birth I would urge you to seek support with this right from the start. You might find previous mental health difficulties worsen or you may find you experience difficult thoughts for the very first time. There is support out there and I encourage you to access it. Support will make things will feel much better, faster.

TIP 9 Fresh air

And finally, maybe the hardest tip of all. When you feel ready and have had enough time to recover, start getting outside every day. Even if it’s only for a short time. The full spectrum of broad daylight is known to lift our mood. It also has the added effect of helping to establish and support your baby’s day and night rhythms. The more sunlight they are exposed to during the day and the more dark they experience at night, the quicker they will get used to night as the best time for sleep.

Allow yourself to prioritize rest and lean into spending these early weeks connecting and getting to know your baby. Yes you will feel tired but you don’t need to feel exhausted!

About the author

Anna Bracher is passionate about helping families to thrive. Her approach to sleep coaching is a holistic one: she dismantles myths, bases her approach on research and has an eye and ear for what is needed in each individual family situation. She has an open mind and an open heart, guiding parents in a gentle way, respecting their own parenting style and preferences. For more information, blog posts or a free phone consultation check out

Longing for more tips about rest and recovery after birth? Read my blog post with 10 Tips for Recovery After Birth: Essential Rest for New Moms (!



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