Body Shaming

The year was 2016, and a wave of body positivity swept the nation. Articles and think pieces flooded the media praising the newfound courage of parents to show off round bellies, butts, and back hair? Oh that’s right, this movement was in celebration of “dad bod”. While beer guts and bearded faces graced the cover of newspapers, and online articles praised men who rocked their soft and squishy features, women all across the country were still reading “Tips and Tricks to Bounce Back from Pregnancy”, and how to lose that “mom bod”. 

On top of the struggle to adjust to your new life as a parent, and the pressure of being a perfect one at that, the last thing a mom needs is to constantly judge herself. Go ahead and tell a mom how important it is to squeeze in that 30 minute power cycling class between her hour commute home and making dinner. Consciously, we know how ridiculous that sounds, but unconsciously our eyes are drawn to magazines and articles that give miracle solutions to losing the baby belly. 

We’re not saying that eating a balanced diet and getting the recommended amount of movement isn’t important. Postpartum healing and breastfeeding are directly affected by this. But many women feel that their obsession with getting fit and “bouncing back” negatively impacts the time they spend with their babies and children, and the relationship they have with themselves if they fail at getting super fit. The belly we loved looking at everyday while it grew with a little one becomes a symbol of resentment once the baby is born.

These types of body image issues didn’t develop with the baby, they are implanted on our brains at an extremely young age by all forms of media, and most importantly, by our own moms. The Common Sense Media report found that more than half of girls and one-third of boys as young as 6 to 8 think their ideal weight is thinner than their current size. By age 7, one in four kids has engaged in some kind of dieting behavior, the report said. Psychologists note that talking negatively about yourself or others in front of children increases the likelihood that they will see themselves as wrong and in need of fixing. Where does the cycle end? 

Women are constantly fighting against the idea that our bodies are not our own, and that they can be commodified by industries and sold back to us as weapons against our own sense of worth and self esteem. That fight will not end anytime soon, but as moms we can play our part in stemming the tide against feeling shame over our bodies by teaching our children to respect themselves, and reject the idea that there’s one perfect way to look. If we can impart that lesson onto younger generations, we might finally be able to embrace it ourselves. 

Mom Shaming

Chances are you will experience a subtle or not-so-subtle version of mom-shaming. Heck, you have statistically most likely mom-shamed someone yourself whether intentionally or not. A friend tells you she’s been co-sleeping; you see your tired sister hand her toddler an iPad loaded with Paw Patrol; a co-worker is still breastfeeding her kid! You might not have said any of these opinions aloud, but the voice inside your head whispering “they’re doing it wrong, and I’m doing it right” is hard to avoid.

Let’s be real, the main reason any of us thinks these thoughts is because of insecurities. There is an overwhelming amount of information available for new parents to absorb that professes the perfect, and the perfectly wrong, approaches to parenting. Are we’re worried that we’re going to screw everything up. Social media doesn’t make it any easier to dodge drive-by comments from friends, family and even strangers. Thought that photo of your daughter was cute? Now you have someone telling you all the dangers of baby’s wearing socks. Pic of your baby boy all swaddled up? Now someone is grilling you about his hip development. 

In fact, most of the negative feedback or snide comments women experience are from their own family, particularly their own mom. A University of Michigan study found that 61% of women surveyed have experienced mom-shaming at some point, and 36% of those shammers were their own parents. Several reasons for this are simply the advent of new approaches and best practices for different topics, which can make you mom feel like how things worked in her day weren’t good enough. She also most likely just wants to feel involved in her new grandbaby’s life. Co-parents and in-laws are the next common voices to offer unsolicited advice, often for the same reasons. Particularly fathers who feel pushed out of the parenting conversation for one reason or another can find themselves at odds with mom when opinions clash. 

We want to make sure moms feel supported, so here are some tips from Psychology Today on how to combat the feeling of being shamed:

1. Accept and expect that it will happen to you at some point so you’re not caught off guard
2. Understand they’re probably trying to make themselves feel better or involved in parenting
3. Some people are just know-it-alls and want to show off
4. They could be covering for their own insecurities and wish they could have a do-over
5. Spend more time with people who do support you
6. Know that some days you’ll feel like you messed up, but know that parenting is a complex and multifaceted thing and there are plenty more days ahead
7. Keep up a sense of humor and use it to deflect the negativity
8. Don’t be influenced by friend’s and family’s perfect online representation of parenting; it’s probably a smokescreen 
9. Their judgement might actually be ignorance
10. You know your kid better than anyone, so be confident in your skill
s!

As women, and as new moms, is this really how we should be treating each other? It’s more important than ever that we support each other instead of tearing one another down. Having a conversation about all the different approaches to parenting doesn’t have to shift to personal attacks, and can even be enlightening when you hear about a new way to get your 1 year old to keep from throwing their plate of food across the kitchen. And listening to another mom about why she chose to bottle feed because of latching issues and postpartum depression can help destigmatize another woman’s suffering.

When it comes to pregnancy and parenting, women already lack the bodily autonomy that men take for granted. Strangers touch you while pregnant, and then tell you what to do when a sudden tantrum breaks out at the grocery store. As a community we can use our strength to support each other through these moments even when it feels like the world is judging us.

Postpartum Support

They say it takes a village. This used to be literally true when a woman would give birth in a small village she was rallied around by other members to provide her with all she would need for recovery like food, child care, and emotional support. But times have changed, and so has the postpartum support system.

Before delivery there are celebrations and parties and games to welcome the new baby in, but many women talk about how all those people disappear after giving birth. Support from partner, friends and family are arguably more important after the baby has arrived. Your sleep is messed up, the dishes can start to stack, and you may still be experiencing pain that makes it difficult to do basic tasks. Societal changes like living further away from family, an increase in people working from home, and poor family leave assistance have all contributed to the isolation many experience during postpartum.

This is a recipe for increased feelings of depression, loneliness, of being overwhelmed. Friends and family can not only alleviate the work that goes into caring for a newborn, but can be the first line of defense in spotting postpartum depression or other physical and mood disorders. Help from others is not only critical for a new mama, but also a new baby. The early postpartum stages are crucial for bonding, and poor bonding can have longterm effects on a child’s social, emotional and potential for thriving development.

It’s not easy to talk to the people in your life about making sure they’re there for you in all the ways you need them to be. But getting the conversation started sooner than later can hopefully make them more informed and well prepared for the roles they can take on. Grab your most Type A personality friend and tell her to organize a spreadsheet with weekly chores that friends can be recruited to help with, you’ll be surprised at how willing people can be to help if you reach out.

If you feel depressed or suicidal, please seek help immediately. Postpartum International is a wonderful organization with resources for women and their families.

 
The mission of Postpartum Support International is to promote awareness, prevention and treatment of mental health issues related to childbearing in every country worldwide.
 
It is the vision of PSI that every woman and family worldwide will have access to information, social support, and informed professional care to deal with mental health issues related to childbearing. PSI promotes this vision through advocacy and collaboration, 
and by educating and training the professional community and the public.

Postpartum Bleeding

Is This Normal?

Sounds scary, but yes, you should bleed after you have delivered your baby, vaginally or via c-section. The question that is on every woman’s mind is what is normal for postpartum bleeding. You haven’t had a period in almost 10 months, so dealing with the heaviest one you’ll experience when all you want to do is kick your feet up with your newborn is annoying to say the least.

Society likes to make the birth experience seem like it’s all over after your baby arrives, which is why so many women are unprepared for the postpartum phase, and all this blood can seem like something is wrong. We’ll break down what is normal, and what you can expect (3-10 weeks of bleeding and discharge!), and when to seek medical attention.

Postpartum bleeding is called lochia – it’s the process of your body getting rid of extra blood and tissue. Pregnant woman increase the volume of blood in their bodies by 50-70%, and uterus adds a lot of extra thick layers to protect the baby. When giving birth, the uterine layers and placenta shed from your body and essentially creates open tears that need to repair. So your lochia will be comprised of:

  • blood
  • pieces of uterine lining
  • mucus
  • white blood cells

But how much lochia can you expect? Let’s break it down:

1-3 Days After Delivery You’ll be expelling mostly bright red to dark red blood with a metallic smell similar to period blood. Some woman have clots that range in size from a grape to a small prune

4-7 Days After Delivery Blood will lessen and begin to turn a pinkish or brown color, and clots will gradually get smaller

8-10 Days After Delivery You can expect to see less blood and more mucus that is white or yellowish in color. This is normal as your uterus repairs itself.

3-10 Weeks After Delivery Light mucus and spotting that eventually stops.

This can seem like an awfully long time, but there are a lot of circumstances that can determine how long postpartum bleeding lasts. Such as:

  • Breastfeeding: which produces the hormone oxytocin that can cause postbirth contractions to help expel excess materials in your uterus
  • C-section: You can still expect some bleeding and discharge, but there will be less
  • Postpartum massage: A nurse or midwife will often massage your uterus and belly after you give birth that helps the placenta and excess lining shed faster

How to Prepare

Just like a period, you might notice the flow of blood increase when you stand or get out of bed after sitting for a long time. Exercising, lifting a heavy object too soon, or straining in the bathroom can also temporarily increase the amount of blood. Listen to your doctor, and make sure you take it easy especially the first week.

To make sure you’re ready for the crimson wave, it’s important to stock up on specially designed postpartum pads. Longer and more absorbent than regular menstrual pads, postpartum pads may be available to grab from the hospital, but it’s good idea to have some packs on had at home just in case.

You won’t be able to use tampons or menstrual cups for at least 6 weeks while you heal, so make sure you’re ready!

When to be Worried

Hopefully we’ve given you enough information on what to expect, and what’s considered normal, that you won’t be too freaked out.

But here are signs that something might be wrong:

  • Bleeding through a postpartum pad in an hour or less
  • Blood clots the size of a golfball or larger
  • Foul smelling discharge
  • A fever over 100.4, especially if accompanied by chills
  • A second week of bright red blood and a heavy flow
  • Dizziness or feeling faint
  • A tender feeling on one of both sides of your tummy
  • Irregular heartbeat, or a racing heart

These signs could be signs hemorrhaging or infection, and you should call 911.

Your uterus may also be having trouble contracting back down to its regular size, meaning it’s not getting rid of the excess blood or tissue, and surgery may be recommended.

Hemorrhages affect 5% of women who give birth, and usually occurs within the first 24 hours of delivery, but it can happen up to 12 weeks postpartum, so it’s important to know the signs because they could save your life.

 

C-Section Care

Planned or unplanned, a cesarean surgery can leave a lot of women and their partners in the dark on how best to recover from their major surgery. Like we mentioned in our previous newsletter about c-section births, the risk and recovery is like that of any major surgery, and there can be some emotional trauma to the mother as well when an emergency during the birth necessitates surgery. Undeniably, there’s an idealized version of what giving birth is “supposed” to look like; a fresh faced new mom who’s glowing with her beautiful newborn. No doubt you’ve spent a lot of time researching and putting together your own birth plan, only to have to toss it out the window when complications arise. Just remember, there’s no perfect way of having your baby, just what is right for you.

But information is power! Almost 30% of births are through cesarean, so being prepared gives you agency, which positively impacts your physical and emotional recovery.  

First, the recovery will take longer. This is frustrating when you want to be spending as much time as possible with your baby, but anesthesia and surgery requires a lot of rest to heal your body. General anesthesia, the kind where you’re made unconscious, isn’t as widely used for c-sections as it used to be, so most mom’s are able to see their baby right away. (For the more adventurous parent, a mirror can also be angled above the surgery for you to be able to see what’s happening.)

Sometimes you can have the baby brought into your recovery room right away, and even breastfeed, but often the surgical drugs slow down hormones a bit and breastfeeding can take a little time and patience. Feeding with the incision can take some creative maneuvering to feel comfortable, using the “football” method of holding your baby is common, but if you’re still having issues talk to your doctor or a lactation consultant for some tips.

Most women can expect to stay in the hospital for 3-4 days after surgery to monitor for any immediate complications like blood clots or hemorrhaging. Walking around the hospital the day after can help prevent this, as well as help get your bowels back online. Surgical drugs and use of a catheter also slow down this function, and a stool softener might be recommended so you don’t put pressure and strain on your body.

Once you are home, setting yourself up for ease of comfort is important. Putting all necessary items close by prevents you from having to get up too often, as you’ll still need to rest your body. Most doctors recommend not lifting anything heavier than your baby (around 13 lbs) for a couple weeks. This means getting family or friends to help with baby and house work! Your postpartum support system will be needed now more than ever, so make sure you’re talking to loved ones now about how they can lend a hand in your recovery.

Your recovery will also depend on understanding your pain management options. The only safe options if you’re breastfeeding are ibuprofen and acetaminophen. Narcotics like morphine or oxycodone should not be taken if you are planning on breastfeeding, but that doesn’t mean you have to forgo pain medication altogether. All drug guidelines should be followed for your own safety. If you don’t breastfeed and are taking a narcotic medication, don’t drive! In fact, until your wound has healed driving in general is not recommended until you can turn and check for other cars without terrible pain. Your doctor may also suggest heat be applied to the incision (such as a heating pad) to help soothe your muscles.

Something that may come as a surprise to you in your c-section postpartum journey, is how similar it can be to vaginal delivery. Remember you’re still recovering from being pregnant as well. Things like vaginal discharge and contractions (or after-pains) are normal as your hormone levels change and body adjusts to not being pregnant anymore. In addition to the normal postpartum changes you’ll experience, being on the lookout for depression, infection, wound irritation, and irregular swelling in arms and legs is crucial to preventing serious health complications.

Like the recommended well-woman 3-week checkup, a visit to the doctor should happen no later than 2 weeks after surgery where they’ll check the incision and any other health concerns. Arm yourself with information and questions to bring to your doctor, be honest with how your recovery is going, and advocate for your health!

And wait about 6 weeks before having sex 😉

Prolapse

As a kid I remember my mom making lighthearted comments about peeing a little when she would sneeze or laugh too hard. When I learned later in life that while delivery her first child his heart rate began to plummet and she had to have an emergency epistiomy and forceps were used to delivery him quickly, those references to “a little leakage” probably signified some level of pelvic organ prolapse, or POP.

There are several different kinds of prolapse, with varying degrees of severity, but the statistics of how common it is might blow your mind. Indeed, 44% of ALL WOMEN will encounter some degree of prolapse in their lifetime, and the likelihood increases to about 50% for women aged 50-79. So your mom, your grandma, aunts, and even you or me could encounter this condition at some point in our lives. Now that we’ve got that scary statistic out of the way, it’s important to note that most women with POP will experience little to no symptoms, and is detected by a doctor when examining for other things.

But let’s back up. What is prolapse? In basic medical terms it’s when one or more organs begins to slip forward or down. This can refer to various parts of the body like heart valves, but it most commonly refers to pelvic organs: uterus, vagina, bladder, urethra, and rectum. When one organ begins to collapse and/or slip into another organ, urinary, bowel and sexual function can become impaired. The most common symptom someone can experience when this happens is feelings of discomfort, difficulty going to the bathroom, leakage and pain during sex. There are worse symptoms that you can read about here (in case you’re eating lunch while reading this). Because this condition feels so intimate, many women are reluctant to talk about it despite the vast number of people who it affects.

There are a handful of reasons for why prolapse occurs, which could be a combination of several reasons: Surgery, like a hysterectomy that can cause organ detachment; genetics; pressure, from a chronic cough, lifting heavy objects, or fibroids; menopause and aging weaken the muscles through loss of estrogen; and pregnancy, which causes pressure from carrying the baby and vaginal delivery that stretches the muscles.

If you find yourself in the company of thousands of women with prolapse that is impacting your quality of life, there are several courses of action you can take for treatment that range from conservative to surgical.

Conservative
Strengthening the muscles of the pelvic floor through Kegel exercises have been shown to reduce the impact of minor POP and even revert it. Lifestyle changes like losing weight can relieve some pressure. And using an external medical device, like a Mama Strut 🙂

Mechanical
This method involves insertion of a pessary (a silicon tube like ring) into the vagina to help support organs from falling into each other. These can be for temporary or for lifetime usage, though they need to be replaced every 3-4 months and can cause tissue abrasions when used for a long period of time. But this is a good option for those who don’t wish to have surgery or aren’t good candidates such as age and wanting future children.

Surgical
For those who have found conservative or mechanical methods have not worked for them, surgery may be recommended. This is often a last resort because the risk of prolapse recurrence even with surgery is still relatively high, and several methods of surgery could have an impact on a woman’s fertility.

So there’s the lowdown on POP. Let’s talk about it more! It doesn’t have to be a life sentence of worrying about peeing yourself when you watch a comedy movie or sneeze too hard. Let’s start the conversation with young women, push the medical field to better understand preventative and repairing techniques, and listen to your own body when you feel like something isn’t right.

Postpartum Nutrition & Supplementation

Food During Pregnancy

Woman cannot live by coffee alone. As much as I wish this were true, my addiction to daily quad-shot iced Americanos can only support me physically and emotionally for so long. And for new moms, a vitamin and nutrient rich diet is more vital than ever.

The focus of women’s nutrition has always been on the during pregnancy phase. Prenatal, prenatal, prenatal. It is important to make sure you’re providing a safety net for you and the baby by supplementing your diet because adequate levels of vitamins and nutrients lowers the risk of fetal and infant mortality, intra-uterine growth retardation, low birth weight and premature births; it also lowers the risk of birth defects, poor brain development, and the risk of infections.

What is less talked about it the fact that breastfeeding is more nutrient and energy draining on a mother than growing a baby for nine months. Among women exclusively breastfeeding their infants, the energy demands of lactation require taking in 300 kcal more per day than the last two trimesters of pregnancy.

“Postpartum nutrition is highly overlooked in our society. My first postpartum I basically ate bread, got nutrient deficient, and barely had energy to enjoy my baby. Eating healthy fats, lots of vegtables, pure protein, & utilizing good quality nuritional shakes can prevent fatigue, increase breastmilk, and correct postpartum depression.” –Anna Nieboer (CMN)


Let’s say, hypothetically, that your diet is perfect. You eat the recommended 2700 kcal/day, consuming vitamin D fortified food, nutrient-rich leafy greens, whole-grains, lots of lean protein, and calcium-rich dairy. It’s possible that you’re consuming enough of the right stuff to make sure that your baby’s diet needs are met, as well as getting enough to keep your own energy up. But let’s step back into reality for a second, imagine you have a dairy allergy, already have one other child, and you ate a banana on your way to work, which might be the only thing you eat for hours. That perfectly fortified 2700 kcal diet is looking pretty far away.

When you don’t meet the nutrient demands of creating breast milk from your diet, your body will transfer available nutrients from tissues organ and muscle tissues, which can have serious and lasting consequences for energy levels and body function. Even mood and susceptibility to depression are possible side effects of depletion. Like a prenatal, a daily postnatal vitamin can create that safety net that will protect your health. Though a lot of women think that simply taking a prenatal while breastfeeding will do the trick, there are several key things needed for postpartum that are missing in a prenatal vitamin. Calcium, magnesium, zinc, vitamin B6, and folate will be especially effected. Vitamin A is crucial for newborns, but is not as soluble for transference through breast milk, so a doctor will often recommend a liquid supplement or shot for the baby.

Women who don’t eat dairy, eggs, and/or meat, woman who have had bariatric surgery like a gastric bypass, or those with anemia and other health conditions prior to pregnancy are at greater risk for vitamin deficiency. A helpful way to get a comprehensive blueprint to your body is to have blood work done that can tell you where you might be lacking, and specifically target those areas with doctor prescribed vitamins or over the counters.

Since caffeine is unfortunately not a food group, we have to find other ways to take care of our baby’s and our bodies by building the foundations of good nutrition.

Postpartum Follow Up Care

The fourth-trimester. AKA postpartum. You’ve probably heard us talk about the importance of this stage in motherhood; it’s the stage that is overlooked by many doctors, media, and even moms. Now an ally of woman’s health is also using the phrase fourth-trimester to raise visibility of how vital care during this period is. A recent convening of the Presidential Task Force on Redefining the Postpartum Visit Committee on Obstetric Practice headed by The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists (ACOG) has produced a revolutionary article on the topic of optimizing postpartum care for the 21st Century American woman. The revolutionary part? Make it woman-focused, and woman-led.

Research has shown that women feel there is an “intense focus on women’s health prenatally, but care during the postpartum period of infrequent and late”. There’s no shortage of stories from woman noting that in all their prenatal visits the topic of a postpartum care plan is rarely or hardly ever discussed. ACOG, in their May 2018 journal, recognizes that as many as 40% of women do not attend any postpartum visit, which leads to health disparities and an expanding array of future complications that healthcare professionals are just now realizing are tied to inadequate postpartum support. Heart disease, stroke, and future depression are among the handful of medical issues that impact women even a decade after birth, and doctors are finding that identifying and managing these issues within the first 3 weeks of delivery can positively affect a mother’s future health on the path of being a well-woman.

Suggested components of a postpartum care plan

The holistic approach that ACOG recommends to all women is to have contact with a care provider within three (3) weeks postpartum for an initial assessment to create a comprehensive approach to an individual woman’s needs going forward concerning a battery of health and wellness concerns. But this care system should be started during the prenatal phase to begin a postpartum plan that involves identifying who the mother’s care provider will be, address health issues, especially chronic ones, mood disorders, and external care support like friends and family.

The phrase “it takes a village” has loosely defined traditional approaches to postpartum care for decades. Robust family leave programs in other countries has underscored the poor maternal mortality rate that is scarily rising in the U.S. Today, 23% of employed women return to work within 10 days postpartum, putting a strain on a mother’s ability not only to find childcare, but find the ability to schedule a doctor appointment. While we wait for federal policy changes that allow for a full paid 6 week leave, technology can create a safety net in the interim. Phone calls, text messaging, and apps can be powerful reminders for appointments and follow-ups. Simply checking in about how a mother’s mood is, how feeding is going, and if she’s experiencing any adverse physical conditions can make a mom feel supported and be more apt to open up about any problems or concerns.

Bottom line, every woman’s health is as unique as she is, and there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to her postpartum journey. Putting as much planning into a postpartum care plan that goes into researching strollers is as instrumental to the health of a mother as it is to a baby. When a mother’s health is compromised caring for her little one is made more difficult because small tasks like climbing stairs, doing dishes, and feeding are all potentially impacted when the fourth-trimester isn’t valued and respected. Many policy changes are needed to correct an imbalance in maternal healthcare, especially for women of color, to make sure the future of postpartum care is woman-focused.

Night Sweats and Hot Flashes

Sleep Tips For Pregnancy Image

Hot Flashes/Sweating– Changes in estrogen levels, lactating and the body’s process of eliminating excess fluid retained during pregnancy all contribute to what most postpartum women experience –night sweats. They usually last a few weeks and may not occur every night. Night sweats accompanies by pain, chills or fever may be signs of an infection and you need to call your care provider if you experience these additional symptoms.

Some tips to reducing these unexpected hot moments include:

Keep the bedroom cool
Put a fan in your room, or turn the a/c on. Consider switching out that heavy comforter for a lightweight blanket

Drink a lot of water
A lot of the excess fluids your body was holding on to during pregnancy are now being released through sweat and urine, so drinking water helps keep your body in homeostasis and prevents dehydration.

Eat more soy 
You can blame some of these sweats and hot flashes on the changing levels of estrogen, which can be boosted through eating products made of soy (tofu, miso) or taking supplements for a little while. Be sure to talk with a doctor before adding in dietary changes.

Wear loose, natural fibers
Bust out the flowy cotton and let your body breathe!

Limit triggering foods
Spicy foods, caffeine, and alcohol are known triggers for hot flashes

 

Postpartum Insomnia

There’s a painful irony in being told over and over how important sleep is to your physical recovery of childbirth, and in staving off depression, and then not being able to sleep, even if your baby is sound asleep.

Many women experience some type of postpartum insomnia, even though the cause and severity of it can vary from person to person. Most new parents will be sleep deprived, but the difference between this and insomnia is an inability to fall asleep or stay asleep.

Stressors or major life changes (good or bad) are a common cause for insomnia, combined with hormonal changes that can disrupt natural sleep patterns, as well as an increased alertness for your baby all add to the likelihood of insomnia. A lack of quality sleep and depression are also cyclical, which can exacerbate other health concerns.

Instinctual ways to beat insomnia can actually make it worse, the University of Michigan’s Leslie Swanson, Ph.D says

Unhealthy bedtime behaviors include spending long periods in bed when frustrated or anxious and “trying” to sleep; inconsistent bed and wake times (usually because moms are timing their sleep to the infant, who doesn’t yet have a circadian rhythm); and thinking in bed

Women caring for newborns often don’t get as much natural light as they should, and increasingly reach for a blue light producing phone when they can’t sleep. Both of which can affect the body’s levels of serotonin and melatonin, necessary chemicals for mood and sleep.

Some ways to treat insomnia without the use of medications include reducing screen time for about an hour before going to bed; getting out of bed and doing another quiet and calm activity like reading or drawing until you get tired, then going back to bed to try and sleep again; asking a partner or family members to help with household tasks to try and alleviate some stressors.

Often a rhythm will work itself out, but if insomnia persists for more than 6 months, a doctor or sleep specialist should be consulted.