I didn't even know it was a thing until I was wide awake at night while everyone else peacefully slept.
The phrase "sleep like a baby" always cracks me up because, as mamas know, babies don't necessarily sleep well. In fact, when they are brand new, they sleep only a couple of hours at a time, which shocked me when I first became a mom. I need a lot of sleep and my first was a terrible, terrible sleeper. After weeks of very little rest at night, I was miserable. Not surprisingly, my mental health took a toll.
When I became pregnant again, I made sure to focus on my postpartum plan, hoping I could prevent finding myself in the same spot I was with my first. One of the biggest splurges we had—and one I'm aware not everyone can afford—was a night doula. Because I knew I was going to have twins via a repeat C-section, I wanted to make sure I could get some nights of semi-full sleep between pumping so I could be better to my babies than I was the first time around.
O course, things don't always go as planned. The first night our doula came over I was so excited to finally get some sleep. I tucked myself in bed, closed my eyes, and... I couldn't fall asleep. My husband laid next to me, snoring. My toddler was in his room, snoozing. The babies were quiet and taken care of, and I still could not drift off. The hours went by, and it was time for me to get up to pump again. I did it while crying my eyes out and sobbed so loudly that I woke up my husband. He was concerned that something was physically wrong, and when I told him what truly was up he worried that I was going to fall back into that dark place from a couple of years before.
I didn't sleep at all that night.
The next morning I called my doula friend and asked what was broken in me. "Nothing" she said reassuringly, "it's probably postpartum insomnia from all the adrenaline in your body." Great. I hadn't planned for this. I posted about my experience on one of my parenting Facebook groups, and so many moms told me they had been there as well. Graciously, they shared their tips and tricks on how to be able to get some rest. I applied all of them the next time our night doula was at home with us and guess what? I slept, not like a baby—like a log.
For any mama who is going through the same struggle, here are my product recommendations to battle postpartum insomnia:
These pajamas are so soft and comfortable, I recommend them to all pregnant friends. They are also ideal for postpartum as the waistband is elastic, and it accommodates whatever stage your body is at from postpartum swelling and recovery.
I discovered the SNOO with my first, and it was a total game-changer. The peace of mind that I had knowing that my baby was in the safest sleep environment meant I could relax and sleep myself. Even more impressively, the innovative SNOO helps babies connect sleep cycles, which means more sleep for baby and mama in the long run. Can't beat that.
When I found out I was expecting twins, one of the first decisions I made was to pump overnight instead of breastfeeding to optimize time and get more sleep. My husband or our night doula would feed the babies while I pumped that way feeds would take minutes versus hours. I still woke up even if babies didn't so I could empty my breasts and keep up my supply, especially when they were little.
Believe me when I say this comforter will make you feel like you're sleeping in a cloud.
I discovered the magic of white noise machines after traveling and sharing a room with our first kid. It works. So now we have one of these in each room for everyone in our family to get restful sleep at night.
With pumping came bottle feeding in the middle of the night. Knowing how much milk my babies were taking gave me the peace of mind I needed to be able to fall back asleep quickly even in those early newborn days. These are the bottles we used with all our babies. The wide nipple resembles a breast, making it easy to switch from bottle to boob without any strikes from baby. They are made out of silicone which makes cleaning them so much easier. They come in two colors, pink and green, so if you have multiple children you can assign a color for each.
I'm sure you've heard about the benefits of weighted blankets for both adults and kids, so it's no surprise this is on my list. However, the Layla blanket is next level. It's super soft and hugs just right. Also, I haven't had issues with my temperature even after sleeping under it during the winter and summer. I still remember the first time I pulled this blanket over me and immediately let out a sigh of relief because it felt so good.
One of the first things I packed in my hospital bag was this eye mask. For my first birth, I was totally unprepared and didn't bring one, which made sleeping at the hospital challenging (it's never pitch black like I'm used to). Also, having something tightly around my eyes helped me relax, so I still wore my mask even at home when it was super dark in our room.
This pillow is everything! Plush and airy, soft and supportive, I actually discovered it after suffering from tension headaches caused by the very very old pillow I had been using. The fabric is comfortable enough that you could even use it sans pillowcase.
This throw is made of two layers of super soft fabric that will have you snuggling with it while you watch TV or get ready to snooze all night long. Our toddler loves it also, so it works for the whole family.
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