Sleeping PDF  | Print |  E-mail

If you have had a good night’s sleep, you do feel better the next day, so it is worth persevering to find a comfortable position.

  • Don’t go to bed until you are ready to sleep.
  • Take pain relief in time to allow it to work before bedtime.

Get into bed carefully:

  • Sit on the edge of the bed, then keeping your knees together and bent, lie on your side. Keeping your body and legs in line, roll onto your back/other side. To move across the bed, keep your knees together and bent while you lie or slide your bottom and shoulders across.

To make yourself comfortable:

  • Put a pillow or folded towel between your legs. It can help to continue to use this for several months after birth or until the pain has completely gone.
  • Try pillows in front and behind when lying on your side. 
  • Buy a mattress that is not too hard. It can help to fold a spare quilt underneath the bottom sheet and lie on this to make the bed softer. 
  • Use bed ‘raises’ to make the bed the right height (getting into/out of a low bed can be painful). 
  • Try a monkey pole - a loop that hangs over the bed on freestanding legs that slide under the back of the bed, which allows you to pull yourself up and move across and into/out of bed more easily. (Can also be taken into hospital if one is not available.)
  • Bed levers can help you roll over or sit up more easily. 
  • An adjustable backrest on the bed can help you get more comfortable.


If you have not yet bought your cot, consider how easy it will be to get the baby in and out. Avoid cots with fixed sides! Also, look at the height that the mattress can be adjusted to.

  • You may find it difficult to get your baby in and out of the cot. If you like having your baby in bed with you, it can help to purchase a bedside (e.g. Brio) or side-less bed-level cot. This means that your baby can sleep on the edge of your bed with his/her own blankets, and you don’t have to worry about the baby falling out of the bed.
  • If you keep your baby in his/her own cot, you can get bed ‘raises’ from the OT, or raise it on bricks so that you don’t have to bend down too far to get the baby out. Also make sure that the cot has a side that goes down. (Old-fashioned cot sides often go down much further than modern ones.) 
  • If you have the space, use another cot or carrycot downstairs so that you don’t have to carry the baby up and down stairs to sleep during the day. 
  • If you are unable to rock your baby to sleep because of pain, you can buy or hire an electric or wind-up rocking swing that can be used from birth (check the model). This allows the baby to be gently rocked to sleep. It is also a place for your baby to sleep downstairs and gives you time to rest. In addition, it can help to amuse your baby at mealtimes while you eat or spend a few quiet moments with your partner. (These cost from £60-£100 and some models can still be used when your child is over a year old. Worth seeing if you can get one second-hand.)
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