Nursing Mothers and Insomnia: How to Overcome Sleepless Nights While Breastfeeding

A tired woman that can't sleep

A lot of people, like moms, have experienced sleepless nights. It might be because of too much coffee or sleeping a little too late in the afternoon. But for most people, their sleep pattern returns to normal in one to two days. But what if you can’t stop tossing and turning in bed for more than a week?


Insomnia is a common sleep disorder that affects the way a person sleeps. Someone with insomnia will have difficulties sleeping throughout the night. This can affect a person’s health, productivity, and relationships.


Acute insomnia lasts for a few weeks and is usually caused by stress or recent events. Meanwhile, chronic insomnia goes on for three months or more. Insomnia can make you feel exasperated and scatterbrained.


Nursing mothers can be affected by insomnia. When it comes to treatment, there is no one clear answer. So to fix your insomnia, you need to first know the root cause.


What Causes Insomnia?

People suffer from insomnia for plenty of reasons. Two people can suffer from insomnia but have two completely different reasons why.


Insomnia has many factors, like a person’s lifestyle and environment. Here are some of the common causes for insomnia:


Stress is a part of life, but it can get overwhelming at times. Work, parenthood, and calamities are things that can give someone stress. This can lead to someone feeling restless as their body goes into hyperarousal.


Irregular Sleep Schedule

Our bodies follow a circadian rhythm that dictates when we should be awake and asleep. However, misalignment of our body clock can lead to difficulties in getting sleep. Jet lag and shift work are two examples.


Lifestyle and Habits

Habits can affect the way we sleep at night. Some activities to avoid include doing late-night activities, drinking caffeine, and napping at odd times. Too much screen time on your phone or computer can also keep you up at night.


Physical Pain and Discomfort

Pain and discomfort can make it harder for anybody to sleep soundly. It can be an aching tooth, back, or knee that keeps you from hitting the hay. Health conditions like diabetes can cause complications and make it harder to rest.


Mental Health Issues

Mental health issues have a wide range of symptoms, including insomnia. Conditions like depression, anxiety, and bipolar can cause negative thoughts and feelings. This can make the brain to feel restless and on edge.


Certain Medication

Medications for blood pressure, asthma, and depression can cause insomnia. Other drugs, like antihistamines, can cause daytime drowsiness and throw off people’s sleep patterns.



Sleeping problems often occur in pregnant women. Discomfort, difficulty in breathing, and nocturia make it hard for moms-to-be to fall asleep. Sleeping problems occur at any time, but they’re at their worst during the third trimester.


What Can You Take For Insomnia While Breastfeeding?

Your treatment will depend on what’s causing your insomnia. Most medicines for insomnia are safe to use. However, they should be taken under the supervision of a health practitioner.


Ambien and Lunesta are sleeping pills that can be used occasionally. Only a minimal amount can reach your breastmilk and your baby. 


Benzodiazepine is a drug used to treat mental health disorders and insomnia. It is used by both pregnant and nursing moms. Little trace of benzodiazepine is found in mothers’ breastmilk, but it’s not enough to cause problems for your baby. 


Antidepressants are generally safe for mothers’ consumption. Infant exposure to the drug is low, so mothers can safely take their medication. However, people should only take antidepressants that are prescribed by a psychiatrist.


Melatonin is not a medicine; it is a hormone that helps a person feel relaxed and fall asleep. But melatonin is also available as a dietary supplement. There isn’t a lot of research on melatonin, so only take this for short-term relief.


Home Remedies for Insomnia

You can follow home remedies while taking your medication. These remedies can help alleviate symptoms and give you an easier time resting. You might even get a good night’s sleep!


Practice Mindful Meditation

Meditation can put you at ease and make you feel one with your body. It can reduce your stress, boost your immunity, and improve sleep quality. Meditation can also bring inner peace and helps control negative thoughts and emotions.


Get a Massage 

A massage can relieve any body ache and stress that you are experiencing. More importantly, a massage can help you feel more relaxed and sleepy. You can get a massage from a professional or from a trustworthy friend. You can even do it yourself!


Use Lavender Oil 

Lavender oil can bring relief, reduce pain, and improve your mood. There are many ways to use lavender oil. You can diffuse it, spray it on sheets, or take it as supplements.


Drink Chamomile Tea

Chamomile is another well-known herbal treatment for insomnia. You can drink chamomile tea to calm your nerves. Likewise, you can also steam chamomile.


Go Out and Exercise 

Exercise can help control your weight and strengthen your immune system. But it can also improve your mental well-being. Exercise is a fantastic way to make you forget about your stress and worries. And all that running can make you feel drowsy!


Lessen the Caffeine

Lastly, put down that 3rd cup of joe. Drinking too much coffee, or drinking it later in the day, can make it harder to sleep at night. You can instead swap your drink with tea or flavored water.



Insomnia affects plenty of people, including mothers. Stress, health conditions, and lifestyle changes can cause a person to miss a few nights of sleep. And it can leave a person feeling cranky.


You can treat insomnia with a combination of medicines and lifestyle changes. Drugs for insomnia are generally safe for nursing mothers. However, you first need to consult your doctor before taking anything.


Home remedies that you can do include meditation, exercise, and massage. You can also try herbal medicines like lavender and chamomile.


Insomnia doesn’t immediately go away. Instead, it is an everyday process. But with patience and resources, you can get a good night’s sleep in no time!


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