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Postnatal insomnia - what helps?

(13 Posts)
Chloris33 Sun 17-May-15 15:48:59

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 big overseas trip 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 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?

Pinkandwhite Sun 17-May-15 21:35:48

I suffered badly from this. Unfortunately I had to resort to a very low dose of sleeping pill (on the advice of my doctor). I take half a unisom tablet a night. I wish I didn't but I was starting to feel depressed because I was so anxious and waking as often as every 15 minutes all through the night. I think I'm a much better mum for not being exhausted. It's basically an antihistamine. Studies show that if it enters your milk supply at all (it shower up in some but not all women's milk after they had taken it) it's in insignificant quantities so it won't affect your baby. I think hypnotherapy would be a much better option and it's something I want to try in the future to get off the sleeping aid but I don't have any childcare at the moment so it's not an option. If you have someone who can care for your child whilst you to go sessions then if I was you I would start with hypnotherapy.

Deduct37 Tue 19-May-15 14:09:30

I had this really bad when my little one was younger and I can totally sympathise with you because it's one of the worst things to overcome.
I went to the doctors in the end because I was struggling to fall asleep, then was waking many times during the night and I was feeling drained the majority of the time. Apparently it is quite normal to be like this after having a baby, but it is still horrible when you physically can't switch off. My daughter is now almost 16 months old and although I don't seem to struggle at the beginning of the night or in the middle of the night, I struggle to make it past 5am as I still listen for her around this time.
Some of the things my doctor suggested were
Only going to bed when you actually feel tired
Not having TV/ computers on right before bed
Not to think about falling asleep or that you can't get to sleep (really hard to do!!)
Trying to stick to the same bedtime and get up time everyday (hard when babies rule!!)
I hope it gets better for you. Good luck

widdle Tue 19-May-15 15:24:16

Oh God!! I had this - it is horrible OP - you have my sympathies. It was linked to post natal anxiety and was completely debilitating

A few things that helped me:
- I had a bedtime routine (like a baby grin) - so bed and cup of tea with a book. Then when I woke and couldn't get back to sleep I would do the same routine. Chamomile tea not anything with caffeine obvs!
- I stopped looking at the clock - the worst part of the waking up at night is that I would wind myself up counting down the hours until the next night feed or until 6am - once I got rid of the clock and stopped worrying about the time it was easier to drop off
- Sometimes I would just get up and change locations - spent many nights at 4am on the sofa - seemed to do the trick and would drop off
- I took tylenol PM - think that's safe while BFing

Hope things get better soon

lexyloub Tue 19-May-15 21:55:14

I also suffer from this I go to bed around 10 every night but will wake around 2am and usually fall back asleep about 6 (baby wakes up 6.30-7) sometimes I don't fall back to sleep at all. I don't know what makes me wake up but when I do my mind clicks on straight away & doesn't turn off. I went to see GP as I Just couldn't cope anymore being so tired was making me very emotional and anxious she prescribed Me citalopram I've only been taking them a few days so not felt much benefit yet. I'd go see your GP sooner rather than later.

RandomMess Tue 19-May-15 21:58:08

For me it was not sharing a room with my baby!!! I just couldn't relax properly...

Not ideal, although I could have slept in the nursery and babies with dh tbh - but for some reason that never occurred to me at the time...

Chloris33 Wed 20-May-15 13:23:16

Thanks everyone, just rang the GP surgery but can't get an appointment for 10 days & I'm away then. Will try the other suggestions, maybe I need to get up for a bit when not sleeping...

theywereworthit Thu 21-May-15 09:12:07

I also second getting your DH to be listening out for the baby whilst you sleep elsewhere. This has worked really well with my second. I would stay in our room and do the feeds/settling until abt 2 or 3am, before which time I found it easy to go back to sleep. After this I would leave baby sleeping and go upstairs or to the sofa and turn on loud white noise. I could switch off as not "in charge". If baby needed feeding my DH would ring me and I would come and do it. As she got older he tried other ways to settle her. I finally started sleeping all night in our bed now she is 10 months and sleeping pretty OK smile

TheCunkOfPhilomena Thu 21-May-15 22:27:38

Oh god, I remember having this and, like PPs, it was related to PNA and PND. I'm not sure what the answer is tbh but is there any way you could sleep at some point in the day? You must be shattered. Also, call your HV and say it's urgent thanks

allypally1983 Sat 23-May-15 21:54:10

I've had this since dd was born, still have it mildly and she's 3. I take half a tablet called phenergan. Its an antihistamine that makes you drowsy. Works wonders, I'm so much more alive from good sleep. You can get it over the counter in most pharmacies. Good luck, its a bugger this insomnia xx

Divaahh7 Fri 07-Aug-15 12:22:33

Did you find anything that helped? I am suffering from really bad insomnia. Like all night no sleep and I have anxiety. Just started taking fluoxetine and take sleeping pills when hubby is watching baby. HELP

HPFA Fri 07-Aug-15 12:36:00

I found Guy Meadows's The Sleep Book helpful, it does take a while but there's been a big improvement over time and his methods also work well for daytime anxiety so there is a bonus! He does run insomnia workshops in London which I found excellent but it is expensive so definitely try the book first.

LHReturns Fri 07-Aug-15 18:14:06

Escitalopram sorted my sleep out after about 4 weeks when I had post-natal insomnia and PND / anxiety. Starting the escitalopram made me feel much worse at first which was totally soul destroying but I was totally cured after about 12 weeks...I feel for you so much. Sleeping tablets are the pits....

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