For many new mothers dealing with it, postpartum anxiety may be triggered or exacerbated by a number of different sources. Much of treating this anxiety involves developing a healthy relationship and attachment with their infant, including one major area that pertains to both mother and child: Sleep quality, and the resulting anxiety that comes when this quality is reduced.
At Serenity Recovery & Wellness, we’re proud to offer a variety of services for postpartum anxiety and depression treatment, offering caring and tailored postpartum therapy to numerous mothers. We’ve assisted a number of mothers with not only helping their baby obtain better sleep, but also evening out their own sleep schedule as one method to reduce postpartum anxiety or related symptoms. One particular theme often discussed here: Sleep props for the baby. Here’s a quick primer on these and why it’s often advisable to eliminate them over a period of time as your baby gets older.
Sleep Prop Definition and Issues
First and foremost, what exactly is a sleep prop? Technically, the term refers to anything your baby uses to fall asleep or fall back asleep – it may refer to an item in some cases, or may refer to a technique you take in others. Some babies do better sleeping with a pacifier in their mouths; others will require some soothing and comforting, such as rocking the baby or nursing them to sleep.
And during the early periods of a baby’s life, these kinds of sleep props are often unavoidable and totally acceptable. Young infants often simply struggle to sleep, especially in the first few months of life.
However, past the 3-6 month period of their life, it pays to begin looking for ways to phase out sleep props. It’s important to develop a natural sleep schedule for both the baby and the mother, allowing the brain to build healthy sleep habits rather than relying on props. This area will not only improve sleep, but also other areas of postpartum anxiety in many cases.
Phasing Out Sleep Props
Here are some good natural tips to phase out sleep props:
- Feeding: Eating is exercise for babies, and requires energy. Help them out by feeding them right when they wake up, when they’re both hungry and well-rested. This will also limit issues of falling asleep on the bottle or breast.
- Putting down: It may seem scary, but try putting your baby down while they’re still mostly awake – but still calm and relaxed. This implements a routine over time, helping them get into the cycle.
- Mimic motion: If your baby loves the motion sleep prop, such as rocking, try to mimic the motion while they’re lying down. Lay your hands on the torso and apply pressure, possibly even leaning in like a hug. Over time, you can phase this behavior out.
For more on how to limit sleep props for babies in an effort to decrease postpartum anxiety, or to learn about any of our postpartum therapy services, speak to the caring staff at Serenity Recovery & Wellness today.