Midnight Feeding Insomnia can be a huge struggle for most new parents. Before having a baby, you would never think that you could have an issue falling back to sleep at 2 am but for some reason moms all over the world have this problem. Us moms walk such a fine line between trying to wake ourselves up enough so we don’t fall asleep WHILE feeding the baby, but not waking up too much so you are stuck staring at your ceiling texture for hours after the baby is soundly back asleep.
As if we weren’t sleep deprived enough already, right? It almost feels like our bodies are betraying us! We know that we need the sleep, we want nothing more than to fall peacefully back asleep as soon as our eyes close, but yet we can’t! The worst part is that while you lay there exhausted but awake, the dogs are snoring in their beds, your husband (and his useless nipples) looks like he could be in a serta commercial, and even the baby – who is supposed to have terrible sleeping habits as an infant – can fall back to sleep no problem.
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I am nowhere near a sleep expert, but I had this same problem and after doing tons of research and reading what worked for other moms, I am now able to fall back asleep within 15 minutes of crawling back into bed. Either my body became so exhausted that it finally gave in to letting me sleep when I wanted, or these tips actually worked! Either way, I figured I would share with all of you because at the very least, it can’t hurt.
During the feed:
- Stay off your phone during the night feeding.
- This was a hard one for me, it was my favorite time to scroll through those mom forums, catch up on social media, and sometimes even watch netflix with headphones. I used the excuse that I needed my phone to keep me awake during the feeding. Instead, turn on an indirect light like the hall light outside the baby’s room. You can try reading a book or a non-backlit e-reader. You can also listen to podcasts – just limit the screen time when selecting shows or pre select which one you will listen to before you go to bed.
- Keep it calm. Don’t try to start a load of laundry or any other “quick” chore since you are up. Roll out of bed, grab the baby, feed, then roll right back into bed.
- Stay cozy. I kept a fuzzy blanket in my rocking chair to cover my lap during the feed. It helped create that calming/cozy environment that my bed normally provides.
Once you are back in bed
- Try not to worry about the time or how long you have been up. (I was especially bad at this one). I turned all the clocks away and preset alarms before bed for times that I needed to be up. If my alarm hadn’t gone off, then I knew I still had time to sleep. This helped me stop thinking about how I “only” had two hours or 30 minutes; sleep is sleep and you will get more once you stop worrying about getting more.
- Use aids such as sleep eye masks or test out a weighted blanket. There are a lot of studies that show the positive effects it can have on insomnia. They are a little pricey, but it might be worth it if it means better sleep.
- Try to relax (I know, easier said than done). Flex and relax all of your muscles starting at one end and working your way down/up. You can also relax your mind by picturing something that relaxes you instead of thinking of all the tasks you have to get done in the morning.
- I picture myself laying on a warm sandy beach with the sun rays warming my skin, the water in the background, and baby boy right next to me cuddled up. I pace my breathing to what I imagine the waves would sound like.
If you still can’t sleep after about 30 minutes, get out of bed. You don’t want to associate your bed or bedroom with not being able to sleep.
- Make yourself a hot cup of chamomile. I keep one of those electric kettles in my bathroom, my mug, and a box of (caffeine free) tea. It keeps me from having to go downstairs, turn on lights, clink through the cabinets, and everything else that would surely wake me up even more. Take your warm cup and go sit (not in bed) with a blanket on your lap and just slowly drink your tea. You could listen to relaxing music or a meditation podcast.
You might also want to look into moving baby into your room; either to a bassinet or relocating the crib for a while to limit your movements at night.
Calming your Mind
Mindfulness techniques are a great way to calm your mind and ease into sleep. When most people hear “mindfulness” they think of meditation, but you can also be mindful through simply breathing or putting your pen to paper for several minutes. Below are three printable exercises that can be super helpful in guiding you to fall asleep faster. One of the best parts about these mindfulness activities is that they don’t require any devices. Eliminating screen time right before you close your eyes is crucial to promote healthier sleep patterns. You can download these print-outs here. These print-outs were provided by Gabrielle Gardiner, check out her bio below.
If these tips don’t work for you, talk with your spouse or ask a family member to help out. You can pump during the day or after the last feeding and baby can receive a bottle at one of the night feedings. If you typically get up at 1 am and 4 am to feed, see if they can take the 1 am feeding so you can get a solid stretch of sleep.
Just know that you are not alone in this! This too, is just a phase and will soon pass. Good luck Mommas – wishing you a better night’s sleep!
Help another mom out by commenting below with tricks that helped you!
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Bio: Gabrielle Gardiner is a digital content creator who helps Tommy John develop interesting, fun, and informative stories worth sharing. Her background in blog writing and digital marketing has led her to cover an array of topics in the wellness and lifestyle space.