New mums exhausted even months after birth

A new study by researchers from Queensland University of Technology in Australia has revealed that extreme tiredness is not something that plagues new mums just weeks after a baby’s birth, but months – months after birth!


Research shows that half of new mums are likely to be excessively sleepy 18 weeks into motherhood. Interestingly, experts recorded stable sleep for new mums 4 months after baby’s birth – and yet many are still exhausted.

And exhaustion affects one’s ability to function.

According to the study, Aussie mums wake on average twice a night to attend to their babies at six, 12 and 18 weeks, with sleep time totalling seven hours and 20 minutes. American mums get six hours and 53 minutes a night. But it’s not about the quantity as much as the quality; it’s the sleep disruption that heightens the exhaustion. Luckily, the disruption dissipates as time passes (so says the study) – mums become more efficient at settling babs and ‘midnight awake times’ become shorter. Yay!

Now all of this might not exactly be news to you, dear mum, but what research does is authenticate experiential knowledge through scientific substantiation. In this instance the research is so significant that it warrants the possible reconsideration of the length of maternity leave in Australia (which has an 18 week paid parental leave scheme) by the powers that be.

In my mum-of-three experience, as time passes, you learn to cope with the physical toll that looking after children takes on both your mind and body. Sleep shmeep – you learn to live with little then your babs sleeps through and you get used to sleep again, until you have another baby…and another one. Then they become teens and you spend your nights worrying about them. It comes with the territory. The trick is giving yourself the time to adjust – if research is correct, then 18 weeks doesn’t quite seem like enough?

Source: – “Why new mothers shouldn’t rush back to work: Many are still ‘exhausted’ four months after giving birth (