There are several reasons for the extreme fatigue following the birth of your baby. Women do not sleep well late in pregnancy and are further exhausted by the physical work of labor. Excitement and many visitors further compound the problem. Hospital surroundings and routines along with the physical discomfort can make it difficult to rest.

New parents are unprepared for the conflict between their need for sleep and the infant’s need for care and attention. The joys of parenting can easily be overshadowed by the exhaustion and frustration that result.

Newborn infants develop their own sleep and feeding cycles as well as crying spells. They typically sleep 16 to 20 hours per day and may wake up every 2 to 3 hours to eat. They may spend part of the day crying.

When sleep is not possible, relaxation exercises may be helpful. This relaxation is accomplished by lying quietly as you alternately tighten and relax the muscles of your neck, shoulders, arms, legs and feet.


  • Simple meals and flexible meal times.
  • A relaxed, flexible home routine.
  • Help with shopping and cooking.
  • Friends and family to care for other children.
  • Postponement of other major household projects.
  • Avoidance of products containing caffeine (coffee, tea, cola and chocolates).
  • Sleep when the baby sleeps. This may be only a few minutes of rest several times a day, but these minutes can add up!