This is the last installment of the 6-part series of Sleep Deprivation & Anxiety Series.  Together with Boulder, Colorado based therapist Gen Morley, I discuss how we can best support friends, sisters, or our spouse through sleep deprivation and anxiety. 

 To be clear, one does not need an official diagnosis to relate to this discussion or information. Anyone caring for an infant or young child could benefit from extra support.  I hope you get some ideas of where to go for help and resources to be there for the ones that you love.

?Click on the video below to watch our final discussion. ?

In this final vlog episode, we address a situational anxiety question from a viewer about how to “sleep with one eye open” when her son moves to a big boy bed (Gen addresses the anxiety and I provide sleep support guidance for best results when moving to a big boy bed).

We discuss how holding loving boundaries around bedtime is great to instilling trust, practicing how families deal with learning new things and creating positive attachment.

Additionally, we discuss options for supporting those you love: your wife, sister, doula client, friend, partner, coworker if you are concerned there might be anxiety or sleep deprivation issues going on for them.

In short:

1 – Be gentle with yourself and with them. Any small comment can feel really attacking in the early postpartum days and weeks.

2 – If the concern is large (like someone asking you to help keep them safe), do not leave them alone until help is arranged.

3 – Help in the way THEY want help.  Don’t hold the baby unless that is what is most helpful.  Perhaps walk the dog, make food, or do some cleaning instead. Meal services or housecleaning services as a gift can be helpful.

4 – Be a listening ear, empathize and encourage them.  Let them know how amazing they are doing. Ask them if they want help.  Validate them.

5 – Help to normalize their experience. Encourage them to not isolate (even joining a “mommy group” online can help, or googling blogs about experiences like theirs, podcasts are great company, too).

6 – Help them to “not go it alone”. Connect them with professionals – postpartum doulas, therapists, breastfeeding support groups, MOPS, etc.

7 – Sleep is essential and can be the biggest game changer.  Help them get a 5 hour stretch (see Vlog Episode #1), hold the baby or supervise the baby so they can sleep without concerns.  Contact a Sleep Consultant like Sarah Branion, ALLOTRIBE (Denver/Boulder 2 hour response time on-call service for Birth and Postpartum Doulas), a postpartum doula or night nanny for respite care and for long term sleep support.

Remember there is ALWAYS a way forward.  Please reach out and I’d be glad to help you take the first step with sleep support or with getting you connected with a mental health professional.


Sarah Branion