How I’m Surviving Post-Maternity Leave on Little Sleep

April 9, 2019 All posts Sara O'Keefe

How I'm Surviving Post-Maternity Leave on Little Sleep
Sara O'Keefe, Reverie Community Manager

I just spent twelve incredible, life-changing, and exhausting weeks at home with my new baby boy. While it seemed at first like I would have all the time in the world on maternity leave, the days and weeks quickly flew by and I was back to work before I knew it.

The thought of actually going back in to work made me feel both excited and a little terrified. While I was looking forward to getting back into the groove of things, seeing my coworkers, and having a little bit of “myself” back, I was also anxious about leaving my baby and dealing with a more solid routine while functioning on a not-so-great sleep schedule.

Sleep was already pretty hard to come by before my baby, but it’s even more scarce now. I remember when I was pregnant, I read that babies typically start sleeping through the night by 12 weeks—but the reality for me and my baby has been quite different. While my baby is starting to sleep for longer stretches at night, and I’m starting to notice some consistency, we’re not sleeping through the night just yet.

Compensating for this short sleep by sleeping in or napping on the couch is not really an option anymore, so I’ve been trying to optimize my daily routine to help me get as much sleep as possible when I have the chance. Here are a few tips I’ve found helpful in getting baby and me out of the door on weekday mornings without feeling like a complete zombie:

Prep the night before

I’m riding solo in the mornings, as my husband has a long commute and has already left for work by the time baby and I are up and at ‘em. This means we do everything—and I mean everything—the night before.

We make bottles for the next day, pack lunch, organize my pumping bag, and I always lay out my outfit. I make sure my mornings require the least amount of work possible. This ensures I can sleep in those extra few minutes and not worry about a laundry list of things to do in the morning.

Starting the day

The first thing I do in the bedroom is turn on the lights and open the blinds. Not only does my baby love looking outside, but the sunlight also gives both of our bodies the signal that it’s time to wake up and get going.

Multitask mornings

I like to get ready for the day with my baby so that I don’t need to waste any time going back and forth between rooms. There are seats, toys, and other items to keep him occupied in the rooms I spend the most time in, like the bedroom, kitchen, and bathroom. That way he’s happy, in sight, and I can play and talk with him while I get ready for the day.

Don’t forget breakfast (and let's be honest, coffee)

You have to remember that you can’t run on an empty tank. I make sure to eat a quick breakfast every morning before we head out the door. I personally like to have a protein bar, a banana, and some orange juice while my baby plays for a bit on his activity center or play mat.

I also keep a good stash of snacks on hand at my desk that I can grab to keep my energy up throughout the day. And okay, I may or may not stop to get a strong coffee after a particularly rough night. I like to play the "one shot of espresso per wake up" game, which earned me a funny look from the barista on a four-wake-ups night.

Prioritize evening activities

Evenings can feel rushed. There are feedings, bath time, diaper changes, and of course, play time. There simply aren’t enough minutes in the evening to accomplish what I could during baby’s naps on maternity leave. That means the dishes might have to wait until tomorrow and the laundry might have to pile up until the weekend. At the end of the year, I won’t remember how clean my kitchen was, but I’ll definitely remember the fun moments I soaked up with my baby.

How I'm Surviving Post-Maternity Leave on Little Sleep

Remember to recharge

Between carrying and feeding my baby, my back is putting in some work. I’m lucky enough to have a Reverie®️ power base, which means at the end of a busy day I can adjust to the Zero Gravity position and give my back and body that much needed break. My Reverie bed also ensures that the hours of sleep I am able to get are top notch.  

Be patient. Be realistic. Take a deep breath.

Not every morning is easy. Sometimes I may be late to that first meeting, or leave with spit up on my shirt, or need three cups of coffee just to make it to lunch—and that’s okay. I’m trying to be patient with myself and my little one during this transition, and remember that I’m doing the best I can for our family.

A little perspective

Nobody will tell you that going back to work after maternity leave is easy, but I’m here to tell you it is doable! It just all comes down to remembering what’s important: spending time with your new baby, and taking care of your own health, which means remembering to rest and recharge whenever you can. Before you know it, you (and your baby) will get settled into a good routine, and you’ll get used to this new normal. In the meantime, appreciate the small moments—your baby is only a baby once!


Are you a working mom who's having a tough time getting the sleep you need? You can find helpful tips and info on Reverie's® special site for exhausted moms, or download our free ebook below. 

Mom and baby.

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