One of the problems with postnatal insomnia is the reaction you get from people (sadly, for me, that also includes some healthcare professionals). The conversation predictably goes something like this - ME: "I'm not sleeping well at night". THEM: *sympathetic but slightly amused smile* "Well, that's newborns for you. It does get easier!". The thing is, it isn't Little Monster keeping me awake. He's actually starting to sleep better. I, on the other hand, get up to feed him and then lie awake for the rest of the night.
I think it started because Little Monster has a tendency to wake every hour after 4 or 5am. I would creep back to bed and by the time I'd drifted off he was awake again. Then it progressed to not going back to sleep between those feeds. And then, inevitably, the cycle has migrated to the other feeds which has left me with only 2-4hours sleep for the last couple of nights. Which equals a very tearful and depressed me, not to mention that I'm not much fun for Little Monster.
So today I've been doing my usual thing of Googling the problem to find a solution. The general advice seems to be:
- Adopt a consistent bedtime routine (same time every night, same activities before bed)
- Get some exercise in the day
- Try relaxation techniques like listening to relaxation tracks, breathing exercises and muscle exercises
- Limit caffeine and alcohol
- Work on reducing anxiety by thinking about happy thoughts/memories
To be perfectly honest, I think anxiety is the route of the sleeplessness. Ever since Little Monster was born I seem unable to relax. I get really stressed out if he's crying (and babies...well they cry right?). I have been constantly worrying and feeling guilty about breast feeding (more about that on a later post I think). All in all, I'm a little bundle of wound up energy and nothing seems to help me relax, even though Little Monster seems to be pretty content most of the time.
I don't know what the fix is. At this point I'll try anything. I'll be updating here when there's any progress on my journey. If you're reading this because you're suffering postnatal/postpartum insomnia, I hope things improve for you soon. X