Mothers with unsettled babies
Disturbed sleep can be associated with mental health problems, particularly if the woman perceives her baby’s unsettled behaviour or poor sleep patterns to be a problem.
Assisting the woman to understand normal infant behaviour and adjust her expectations about sleep patterns may help to increase her confidence and ability to manage. Just as a woman is on the steep learning curve of motherhood, so too is this new baby “learning” how to sleep and settle- it is normal for this process to take some time.
If the period of disturbed sleep is prolonged, and/or the woman does not adjust, she may experience distress that adversely affects other aspects of her life. In such cases specific care (e.g. in an early parenting centre) may be useful to improve the infant’s sleep behaviour and help to reduce the woman’s sleep deprivation.