New moms are superhumans, but just because they do it all doesn’t mean that they aren’t constantly exhausted.
Between newborns who wake every two or three hours to feed (or cry), hormonal imbalances—and for some—other kids to take care of, some new moms are losing up to 700 hours of sleep in the first year of their child’s infancy.
This can not only exacerbate already difficult postpartum depression, but it’s so damaging that a study by UCLA found that too little sleep in the first six months of a child’s infancy can add 3 to 7 years to a woman’s biological age. This is about more than just feeling cranky.
The problem is that no matter how tired they are, new moms are struggling to fall asleep. As anyone who’s been woken up from REM sleep repeatedly while traveling can attest, the quality of sleep is lacking, and staying asleep is even more difficult.
To make matters worse, breastfeeding mothers are advised to avoid sleep aids (especially those including anti-histamines) as they may interfere with milk production—or pass on chemicals to the baby which can result in irritability and sleep problems.
So how’s a new mother to catch some shut-eye? We took a look at an all-natural approach that’s been breaking the internet lately: Bearaby weighted blankets.
The Benefits of Deep Touch Pressure
Anyone who has used a Bearaby blanket intrinsically knows the feeling of calm that comes with resting under the heavy weight. Much like how babies like to be swaddled to mimic the comfort of the womb, so too do our adult selves benefit from this lingering human desire to feel comforted by touch.
On a more scientific level, the sensation Bearaby blankets evoke is known as “deep touch pressure,” which leads to increased production of serotonin and melatonin—the neurotransmitters largely responsible for boosting happiness and sleep, respectively.
By aiding in the production of these natural “happy” chemicals, Bearaby’s weighted blankets help regulate circadian rhythms, which makes it easier and faster to fall asleep. This in turn lets new moms take advantage of the power nap windows afforded while the baby sleeps. As they’re able to hit longer REM cycles, the body’s natural ability to replenish its own sleep hormones also increases, in what’s known as a positive feedback loop.
Furthermore, deep touch pressure has been shown to lower cortisol levels (the stress hormone) when weighted blankets are used overnight. Bearaby’s unique knit design evenly distributes weight, which is instrumental in making deep touch pressure as effective as possible.
What Are They Made From? Is It Safe For Babies?
Unlike other weighted blankets that contain fillers or beads, Bearaby’s blankets are all hand-knit from organic or sustainably-sourced materials. Our go-to is the 10 pound Cotton Napper which gets its weight from 100% organic cotton, and like all of Bearaby’s products, contains no toxic dyes.
For heavier weights (15 pounds and above), the Cotton Napper has a 95% cotton, 5% spandex blend to help the blanket retain its structure, however there is virtually no shedding and it’s considered very safe to have around babies.
As far as for the infant itself, new parents should never sleep under a weighted blanket with a baby under 2 years old. This holds true in general, no matter what sleeping apparatus, as it introduces the potential for a full-sized human to accidentally roll over onto their baby while sleeping.
Which Blanket Is Right For Me?
Bearaby’s blankets come in 5 pound increments, from 10 to 25 pounds. While the weight of the blanket ultimately comes down to personal preference, the Sleep Foundation recommends choosing a blanket that is roughly 10% of your body weight.
This doesn’t need to be exact, so for instance if you’re 120 lbs, both the 10 or 15 pound blanket are fine. However, the 25 pound blanket may be a bit too much, especially if you plan on sleeping under the blanket through the night.
As for the type itself, we recommend the Bearaby’s classic Cotton Napper (which has more than 2,000 reviews attesting to its benefits) for new moms. We’d also recommend the kid-sized Nappling for families with kids aged 6 or older, and the queen/king-sized Hugger for couples who enjoy sharing a weighted blanket together.
Whatever your preferred style or weight, a weighted blanket can definitely help ease your restless nights. If you’re on the fence, Bearaby has a 30 day, hassle-free “try it” policy, so there’s no commitment if you’re not feeling the benefits. They also offer the option to pay in monthly installments with Affirm.
New moms need sleep more than any of us, and Bearaby is making good quality sleep natural and accessible. Restful, rejuvenating sleep is just a click away!