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Lack of sleep harms new mothers

New mothers are feeling the pressure as a study shows most are only averaging three hours sleep a night.

A lack of sleep has been blamed on a range of health conditions, and can lead to irritability and a lack of concentration, which can ultimately harm a young child.

Around 30% of new mums get even less than three hours sleep, and 18 months after birth, the average is still only five hours, according to the survey of 3,000 parents by Mother & Baby Magazine.

Half of all new mothers believe sleep deprivation has put their relationship under strain, and one in 10 have almost split up from a partner because of it.

Eight out of 10 say lack of sleep has put them off sex, and even when the baby does rest for a while, 75% say they worry about cot death and check their baby in the night.

Elena Dalrymple, editor of Mother & Baby Magazine, said: "The pressure modern parents find themselves under is enormous, especially mums.

"It is primarily mums who do the night-time baby duty, yet many are also back at work full-time by the time baby is six months old.

"Ultimately, parents-to-be have no idea how the lack of sleep a baby brings will devastate their lives.

"If you're only getting three hours sleep night after night and sometimes less, you'll most likely take your frustration and anger out on your partner."

Mother & Baby Magazine

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Your comments: (Terms and conditions apply)

"I feel that even if new mums wait longer before going back to work, that in itself will not alleviate the problem of sleep deprivation. New mums need some sort of respite so they can sleep. When I was a new mum my husband worked out of town so I was up with a new baby day and night, and I had a toddler as well. I went through depression, was unable to nurse because my letdown reflex wasn't working, resulting in mastitis infection in both breasts. I was not eating properly due to fatigue and I don't know how my toddler managed to stay safe and occupied as I often fell asleep sitting at the kitchen table. I had no safety net in friends or family as we had just moved to a new city - it was awful and the exhaustion and lack of sleep nearly did me in" - Gail Hardock Cochrane, AB