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Surviving the Fourth Trimester: Sleep Tips for New Moms

Congratulations on the arrival of your new addition! You’ve been so excited to welcome your bundle of joy into the world and are enjoying all the sweet baby snuggles. But among all the joy and love, sleep deprivation can be a real struggle for new moms and the first couple of weeks are hard. This is especially true during what is called the “4th trimester,” AKA the first three months postpartum. In this blog post, I’ll share some sleep tips and products to help new moms and babies sleep better! These are opinions and things that have worked for my family and me. I am not a sleep consultant (though I worked with one during this phase of my life), but I am a mom sharing my opinions and knowledge that I do have. 

Back to the sleep deprivation, it truly is a struggle for all moms – poor sleep has been known to start when mother’s become pregnant. Some research has shown that lack of sleep during the perinatal period has been linked to postpartum depression (read that study here). It goes to show that the lack of sleep in early months of having a new baby is also linked to postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety later on in the postpartum period (read that study here). Your mental health (and your partner’s) is important to look after, in the early weeks and during all of parenthood. Now, I understand that as new parents it is hard to get into the groove of things and figure it all out, I hope these tips will be a great way for you to catch a few extra ZZZ’s or at least help you and even your baby sleep!

Please note: if you are feeling more than just the baby blues please seek professional help, there are many support groups online you can find some here. You can also tell your health care provider or obgyn provider, they will be able to help you find the support you need and give you more insights of what type of support is available within your healthcare institution. There is nothing wrong with feeling the way you are feeling and you should be getting the postpartum care that you need mentally, emotionally, and physically. I am here to tell you that there is help out there, you NEED to advocate for yourself (our healthcare system is lacking in advocating for women…sad.) If you need help finding help in your area please EMAIL ME (info@livingextroverted.com) I will help you find the help you need. Want to read more about mental health in the 4th trimester? Click here!

Disclosure: This blog post may contain affiliate links. This means, should you click on the links, I may receive a commission at no cost to you. For more information please review the disclosures here.

Create a Sleep-Friendly Environment

Creating a conducive sleep environment is crucial to navigate the exhaustion of the first weeks of motherhood. Proper sleep will help with the physical recovery/postpartum recovery post birth, help with mood swings, and emotional changes of this new life you are living. The early days are hard, but the good news is that taking care of your own health will help you take care of your newborn baby (and they will sleep through the night soon enough which will help you too!). 

Here are some ways I like to create a sleep-friendly environment that I used and tell all the first-time moms I know: 

  • One key component to consider is reducing exposure to artificial light before bedtime, as it can interfere with your circadian rhythm and disrupt your sleep patterns. As stated by sleep expert Matthew Walker in his Masterclass article, “Our bodies did not evolve to be exposed to the light all day and all night… We were meant to have light and dark cycles.” To limit your exposure to artificial light, consider investing in blackout curtains, which will block any external light from entering your bedroom. Additionally, a sleep mask could provide an added layer of light protection. If you’re up for late-night feedings, it might be worth looking into ambient night lights that emit minimal light and don’t interrupt your sleep cycle as much.
  • Another tip from Matthew Walker is to maintain a cool bedroom temperature, ideally around 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18 degrees Celsius). This might seem chilly, but it’s actually closer to the ideal sleep-inducing temperature for your body. To achieve the perfect sleep temperature, consider investing in a fan or a cooling mattress pad.
  • Lastly, reducing noise disturbance is another crucial part of establishing a serene sleep environment. If your surroundings are noisy, consider earplugs or a white noise machine to drown out unwanted sounds. By following these tips, you can transform your bedroom into a sanctuary of sleep, helping you and your new baby navigate the weeks postpartum with  ease.

Invest in Necessary Sleep Products For Mom and Baby

There are many products that can help new moms and your snuggly new family member get better sleep. Here are my favorites that have worked for us:

  • A bassinet that works for you and your family (do not forget safe sleep you can read all about that here within the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)! We used the Snoo created by Dr. Harvey Karp this bassinet is not a necessity, we used other bassinets at grandparents’ homes that worked just fine too (you can find my favorites within this post).
  • A white noise machine can help lull your baby to sleep and block out other noises that may wake them up. 
  • A swaddle can help keep your baby snug and comfortable while they sleep. Plus helps with the startle reflex and help them keep the kind of environment they are used to (the womb). Newborn babies are getting used to their new normal outside of the womb and wearing a swaddle can help them through this transitional period of getting used to the outside world.
  • A nursing pillow can be helpful during night feedings, and a comfortable breastfeeding-friendly sleepwear can help you get back to sleep quickly.

Sleep When the Baby Sleeps

Caring for a newborn is undoubtedly rewarding, but it can also be exhausting. Hence, the age-old advice: “Sleep when the baby sleeps.” To make this actually possible, consider some products that can get your household chores done quicker and more effectively, if you can’t have extra help around the house like a postpartum doula, family, or close friend. 

  • Robotic Vacuum Cleaners: Invest in a high-quality robotic vacuum like the iRobot Roomba. It’ll keep your floors spotless while you catch up on sleep. It’s like having an extra set of hands that never gets tired!
  • Instant Pot: The Instant Pot can be a busy mom’s best friend. This versatile cooker prepares meals in a fraction of the time, giving you more time to rest. Plus, it’s a healthier alternative to fast-food takeouts!
  • Smart Home Devices: Products like Amazon Echo (“Alexa”) can help manage your household tasks. Use Alexa to set reminders, control smart home devices, play lullabies for your baby, and even order groceries!
  • Laundry Service: Look into local laundry services or apps like Rinse that offer wash and fold services. It’s an easy way to cut down on chores and free up more time for relaxation.
  • Online Grocery Delivery: Platforms like Instacart can deliver your groceries right to your doorstep. Say goodbye to time-consuming supermarket trips and hello to more opportunities for relaxation.
  • Healthy Snacks: Having snacks on hand for you can really help when the hunger strikes for all moms who are either breastfeeding or just recovering from delivery! 

Remember, your well-being is just as important as your newborn’s. By delegating tedious tasks to these trustworthy, efficient gadgets and services, you can enjoy more restful hours and be at your best for your little one.

Establish a Bedtime Routine

Establishing a bedtime routine is as helpful for you as it is for your baby. A routine can help signal to your body and baby that it’s time to sleep. It can be as simple as a short walk, a bath, a book, nursing or a lullaby. Whatever you choose to do, try to keep the routine consistent every night. This way, your baby will start to recognize the routine as a comforting signal for sleep. 

Bedtime Routine For Mom

For new moms, a calming bedtime routine is essential not only for the baby but also for them. Here are some products and tips that can help create a peaceful environment and promote good sleep habits:

  • Sleepy Time Vitamins: I SWEAR by Mary Ruth’s Liquid Nighttime MultiMineral. There is no melatonin and it helps me relax and get to sleep so well! I take it right before I am about to brush my teeth and once I am settled it, it does it’s job!
  • Sleep-inducing sound machines: Sound machines like the Hatch Rest Sound Machine can play a variety of calming sounds, such as white noise or soft lullabies, to create a relaxing environment.
  • Aromatherapy: Essential oil diffusers, such as the Canopy Aroma Diffuser can create a calming atmosphere. Try sleep oils like this Deep Sleep Night Oil.
  • Comfortable Sleepwear: Invest in comfortable and breathable sleepwear. Brands like Eberjey offer a wide range of sleepwear designed to enhance the quality of sleep. Shop Eberjey at Nordstrom.
  • Mindful Meditation: Apps like Headspace offer guided meditations specifically designed for sleep. They can help clear your mind and promote a deep and restful sleep.
  • Reading a good book: Instead of scrolling through your phone, try reading a book. It’s a proven way to relax your mind before sleep. Consider a Kindle Paperwhite for its eye-friendly screen and big library. Or check out some of my favorite books below! 

Remember, the most important thing is to create a routine that suits your personal needs and preferences.

Bedtime Routine for Baby

Doing my best to have tentative sleep schedules  (the best that I could in the early months) was really important to my sanity and will help baby’s needs too. I worked around wake windows, but I do want to preface the first months your little one may not sleep long stretches at once. They still need to eat and they are going through a growth spurt what felt like, every day (haha!) This is what I did with my son as a first time mom:

Put him to sleep and woke him up at the same time every day. This helps regulate their internal clock and can make it easier for them to fall asleep at night.

As for a bedtime routine for baby this is what we did, that were a great success:

  • A warm bath to start out the routine! I have some favorite products to promote newborn sleep, check those out below.
  • Always good to add a diaper change in the bedtime routine. A clean, dry diaper can help your baby stay comfortable and may reduce the chances of them waking up due to discomfort. We used nighttime diapers from the get go to help the little man not feel too wet and cause of a fussy baby. Always hard to change a diaper in the evening hours, but we personally did not change wet diapers in the middle of the night (unless he was extra fussy). 
  • Skin-to-skin time is probably my favorite part of our bedtime routine. This intimate, comforting activity promotes bonding and can have a calming effect on your baby. It’s a simple way to help your baby relax and prepare for sleep. (Pro Tip: helps mom too, woohoo oxytocin!) 
  • Reading a book and/or books! I have read to our son from day one! According to the AAP reading regularly to young children not only helps with the parent-child bond but also brain development among other things, read more about that here!
  • Lastly, black out curtains and a sound machine! The sound machine helps little ones go from one sleep cycle to the next and the darker the room the better in my opinion – help them start to understand when it’s dark it’s sleepy time! 

Practice Self-Care

It’s common for new mothers to experience stress and anxiety, and this can affect sleep quality. Practice self-care during the day by engaging in activities that bring you joy, like a relaxing bath, reading a book, or practicing mindfulness exercises. Make sure you have a support network whether it’s your partner, family members, or friends to help you during the postpartum period. Also, limit caffeine intake and avoid screens before bedtime and get that skin contact with your baby to build that beautiful bond and boost that oxytocin! 

New moms often struggle with sleep deprivation and it can be tough to navigate. However, with a few helpful products and habits in place, you can learn to make sleep less of a struggle and more of a reality. Try out the tips we’ve shared in this post and remember to prioritize your own self-care with the support of your loved ones, comment below with any tips or products you love you can also check out my post on postpartum baskets here! Sweet dreams to all the new moms out there!

About Heids

Hi there! So glad to have you here! I am beyond passionate about maternal health and all things pregnancy and motherhood. Take a peek around!

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