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Postnatal insomnia - what helps?

(16 Posts)
Chloris33 Sun 17-May-15 15:33:45

Have been suffering various degrees of postnatal insomnia since LO was born 4 months ago. Recently it's got worse - due I think to a mix of him waking up less at night, while I still wake up (tho I also sometimes struggle to drop off after feeds), and anxiety relating to a trip to Australia coming up soon to visit in laws. The health visitor is giving some support with those worries, having chats with me. Don't have PND, but am not far from the threshold. Sleepwise I go to bed at 10pm and fall asleep ok but can have probs with insomnia in the middle of the night. Really fed up with it. After the Oz trip I'll go to the GP if it doesn't improve, tho I'm limited in what I can take as breastfeeding & want to continue doing so for some time. Has anyone found anything that has helped?

FraterculaArctica Sun 17-May-15 15:47:56

Hope things do improve for you, but if not...

I had horrendous postnatal insomnia that started when DS was about 5 weeks and by about 10 weeks I was sleeping every other night, for about 3 broken hours. No sleep at all on alternate nights.

I was seeing a perinatal mental health specialist anyway (was high risk right from start of pregnancy) - maybe you can get referred to one if GP is unhelpful? She prescribed me Amitryptiline, it was ok with breastfeeding (I'm still on a v low dose and still bf-ing DS at 13 months). I hit another very bad patch at 4/5 months in and had to up the dose of Amitryptiline and take Nytol bought over the counter (would be frowned on by most pharmacists and probably GPs, but the specialist said it was OK and risk of any harm to DS very low... you will know of course if your baby has any reason like prematurity or low weight they might be v susceptible to medication, so don't try any drugs without medical support of course). Insomnia virtually gone by the time DS was 6 months - he was a terrible sleeper (charted in other threads on here) so my nights remained very broken anyway till very recently, but at least I was then able to sleep when he did.

Hope that's of some help - I had never heard of postnatal insomnia before DS was born or given it any thought, it can be very frightening.

Breadwidow Sun 17-May-15 20:55:36

You poor thing, I real feel for you after experiencing the debilitating effects of post natal insomnia after both DCs (still in the throws of it with DC 2). With DC1 I didn't ever go to the doc but found the following things of some help: going to bed super super early (7pm!) occasionally or napping during the day (this counters much traditional insomniac advice but for me being over tired and anxious about not getting enough sleep made it so much worse and I still find for me anyway, sleep begets sleep); valerian tea (I have drunk while bf with no illeffects) - I prefer the clipper brand sleep easy to straigh valerian, tastes nicer and taking 5HTP (a rather pricy food supplement, think it's an amino acid, often taken as an alternatuve to anti depressants kinda like St johns wort). This time around financial anxiety and other life stress has made things worse so I went to the doc and have been prescribed amitriptyline too. The leaflet sats don't take while bf but my GP is awRe I am bf and thinks it's ok if I take a low dose. It's mainly helpful but I have still had the occasional bad night. When that happens I also try some of the remedies I used last time (bar the 5htp) and have also found magnesium supplements or a multi vit containing magnesium also quite helpful.

Jemimapuddleduk Mon 18-May-15 08:44:59

Hopefully this link helps. I posted a similar thread earlier this year. Feel free to pm me op.

Chloris33 Wed 20-May-15 09:49:38

Thanks everyone & for offering that I can PM you, Jemimapuddleduk. Your thread was really helpful to see. I thought of waiting until after our trip to Oz to see if it improves & then consider meds with GP or not. However that's over a month away and at the moment I have probs sleeping after 3am every night. Health visitor coming today, though.

Jemimapuddleduk Wed 20-May-15 19:16:58

Hi Chloris- I got lots of support with the health visitor- she came weekly at one point and it really helped to talk through my anxiety. I held off taking medication for too long and I think that tipped me into pnd. I was still breastfeeding (mostly formula but a couple of bf's a day) when I started the Dosulepin. The medication has helped me massively but took a while to kick in. The problem for me was the anxiety and panic the next day after a bad night of not sleeping- I just felt like I couldn't cope at all. The medication has really helped me sleep better and if I do have a bad night I don't have the panic and anxiety the next day. I hope to come off them by the end of the summer but at the moment just feel so glad to feel like me again! I have had no side effects apart from slight weight gain due to increased appetite.

Zarahaider88 Thu 14-Jan-16 11:40:02

Hello ladies. Chloris33 have things improved for you?

I'm 4 months postpartum and I can't sleep. I feel so miserable. My insomnia started straight after giving birth where I went days with only 1-2 hours of broken sleep a night. I had severe anxiety first few weeks but that got better. But I have anxiety about sleep it's like a vicious cycle. I always thought I can't sleep because my baby constantly wakes up but now that he is sleeping longer I still can't sleep. I have difficulty falling a Sleep and once I do I wake up after an hour or half and hour or 45 min! This continues all night long. I can say in the past 4 months maybe a had full of times I have slept 2-3 hours without waking up. It's always somewhere between 20min to an hour. I'm loosing my mind. I hate going to bed . I feel miserable. I feel like nobody cares. My health visitor doesn't even visit. My GP won't help. What do I do? All I can think of is sleep all I read on the Internet is about sleep. I don't like going out or making plans because I'm so exhausted all the time. I try and stay positive all through out the day so my baby is happy but when I put him to bed for the night I just come to the living room and cry to DH sad

Jemimapuddleduk Thu 14-Jan-16 16:51:10

Zara- have you seen my posts about this last year (linked above). Gives lots of insight and into detail about what helped for me. Ultimately it was ad's (a sedating type) that sorted me out. Let me know if you need any more support/questions sneering. It's torture but you can and will get better.

Jemimapuddleduk Thu 14-Jan-16 16:51:30

Answering not sneering! Sorry

tiredvommachine Thu 14-Jan-16 16:56:50

I had this too. So tired to the point of hallucinating and was horrific.
My DS is 1 at the end of the month and luckily things got better for me as the days/weeks went on. I still don't sleep brilliantly but so much better than I did.

You truly have my sympathy flowers

Zarahaider88 Thu 14-Jan-16 20:13:58

Thank you so much for replying. I feel so sad and alone. So frustrated and angry sad everyone thinks I'm just over exaggerating normal new mom sleep deprivation sad I feel I will never enjoy life again

tiredvommachine Thu 14-Jan-16 20:37:19

My in laws live over the road from me and they took him once for four hours in the evening to try and let me get some sleep but even though I was dropping on my knees and had cried out of tiredness (hence the offer of taking him for a while),
I still couldn't sleep and felt dreadful that I had the opportunity but wasn't able to do it.

I was wary of medication as I Co slept occasionally as was BFing and had a side along crib so didn't want anything to knock me out too heavily.

Probably not what you want to hear but it was simply time that improved things for me. You get used to living in a perpetual fug of tiredness with blurry and sore eyes but it does pass.

I can so relate to the waking up at night time, even though the baby is asleep.
I would then feel so frustrated that it would scupper any chance of sleeping any time again soon.
Plus, waiting to hear the baby stirring would also stop me drifting off.

It's bloody hard but time does improve things.
Is your DH supportive? Will he get up in the night if needed?

Hang in there girl, us women are tough! wink

Zarahaider88 Thu 14-Jan-16 20:48:08

That's exactly what I have been going through. I went and stayed with my in laws for a week and for 2 nights my sister in law took baby in her room and gave him expressed milk in a bottle but I still woke up constantly every hour. Now I'm even worse I can't even sleep for an hour. I also moved baby to his own room as everytime I woke up and he would stir I couldn't sleep in anticipation of him waking up. Now that baby is in his room he has started sleeping 6-8 hours before needing a feed and somes he sleeps all night. But I feel my sleep has gotten worse.

tiredvommachine Thu 14-Jan-16 21:03:54

Apart from posting on here, who else do you talk to?

Are you a member of any Facebook groups with babies the same age as yours or do you meet up with anyone during the day?

The reason I ask is because it's massively therapeutic to be able to share things like this with other people going through it and it doesn't resolve the insomnia issue but I think it's all part of a wider picture of having a coping network and little things sometimes make a big difference.

I'm laid on my bed now, DH is out and DD (15) is painting her face in her bedroom and DS is asleep in his room.
I love my bedroom and feel nice and relaxed.

However, several months ago I would dread coming to bed because I knew I wouldn't sleep and the anticipation of that would (unconsciously) ruin my nights sleep without even starting it.

I suffered too from post natal anxiety, never had anything like it in my life and not with my daughter and that messed me up big time.
I had a planned C section but I didn't sleep a wink that first night because I couldn't stop staring at this wonderful little baby.
I felt fine but by the next night, I was struggling terribly but physically I couldn't put him down and rest.
I was checked by a midwife about 3am and I just cried and cried and cried.
She took DS away to try and let me get some sleep but no, that didn't happen.

This continued when I came home from hospital and I thought I was going mad with tiredness.

I started having intrusive thoughts and everything and it truly was one of the lowest periods of my life.

It was at about 4 to 5 months that I started to slowly, slowly feel better and sleep better.

I do understand xx

Zarahaider88 Fri 15-Jan-16 18:04:38

Thank you ladies. I already feel tons better talking to you lovely ladies. Tiredvommachine I do talk to my family and friends but like I said no one really understands. I have yet to meet anyone outside the cyber world that has gone through this. DH is supportive but to be honest I doubt he truly understands what I feel. Everyone just tells me to relax and stop thinking about stuff when your in bed. And to. Sleep. I tell them I want to sleep more than anything and would if I could!

Thank you for understanding ladies.

Honestly I feel my story is so similar to so many of of you ladies. Tiredvommachine I was the same as you 24 hours before giving birth and 24 hours after giving birth I didn't sleep a blink that's 48 hours then I came home from hospital that very night. I was so tired I begged them to discharge me as I thought I couldn't sleep in the hospital but I would be able to sleep at home. I came home and slept only one hour and it was the same story the following days. I would just cry and cry and not be able to sleep.

I look back at my DS newborn pictures and I miss that stage. I feel I lost the enjoyment because of my anxiety and insomnia and I feel like now I'm loosing the enjoyment of these days and I will miss them in a few months. I also wonder if I'll ever get passed this traumatic experience and if I will ever dare to have another child. I love children and always wanted a big Family.

I look forward to the day where I can come here and write to another lady telling them it will get better and that I did get better too.


tiredvommachine Fri 15-Jan-16 20:06:03

You will do, I promise.


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