Whether you're struggling to read this through heavy, tired eyes after months of being woken up by a restless baby or you're feeling completely unmotivated and can't shake off feelings of anxiety and depression since you gave birth, you're not alone and you've come to the right place.


We’re here to help with brilliant advice and reassurance from our resident NHS GP Dr Philippa Kaye in our new Top Testers’ Clinic series, featuring burning medical questions from parents just like you in our MadeForMums community.

Sleepless nights

mother with brown hair breastfeeding her baby son in the night

Q: "Is it worth pushing to see someone about my 8-month-old son's frequent night wake-ups? He wakes up around every 1.5 hours. My health visitor says it's because he's used to being breastfed back to sleep and she keeps suggesting sleep training, but I'm wondering if there could be medical reasons for it like low iron or sleep apnoea?" Emily Elliott

A: "If you are ever concerned about your child’s health then it is important that you see a healthcare professional. It doesn’t necessarily mean that there is something wrong, but even having the reassurance from your GP may be helpful. Some babies wake up more than others and there are various reasons for this, from how and what they are being fed to noise levels.

"It may be that if your baby is used to sucking to sleep, that when they wake and find there is nothing to suck on they can’t go back to sleep alone. Some parents find that it is helpful to use a dummy or soother in this situation.

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"Others may advise not breastfeeding your child to sleep, but trying to put them down after a feed when they are awake but settled, meaning that they learn to go to sleep on their own.

"Some parents prefer to put their children down awake and then making ssh-ing noises, or pat their child back to sleep. There are many and various methods of sleep training, which don’t involve leaving a baby to cry. If you are concerned, please get your baby checked out by your doctor." Dr Philippa Kaye

Postpartum depression and anxiety

tired mother in pyjamas leaning against cot looking depressed

Q: "I have a 3-year-old and a 21-month-old and I was diagnosed with PPD and PPA and given 50mg of sertraline about a year ago. It certainly helped, but I am feeling progressively sadder and unmotivated about life again. Does the medication stop working after time?" Bridget

A: "I am sorry to hear that you are struggling with postpartum depression and anxiety. You are not alone and in writing you will be helping many other mothers who will be going through the same thing.

"It is only by us talking about these conditions that we can help end any stigma which is still present about mental health and help look after each other.

"Sertraline is a type of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) medication which is used to treat depression and anxiety. You mention that you are on a 50mg dose of sertraline and that although it helped initially you feel that your symptoms are worsening again. There are lots of reasons why you might have noticed that you feel worse and it is important that you go back and speak to your doctor.

"It may be that you would benefit from some talking therapy or that you need to increase the dose of your medication, or if this does not work possibly change to another medication. Please see your doctor to get the help that you need."


Please note: this advice is not personalised or meant to replace individual advice given to you about your child by your doctor or medical team. As always, if you are concerned about your child’s health then please seek medical advice.

About Dr Philippa Kaye

Dr Philippa Kaye works as a GP in both NHS and private practice. She attended Downing College, Cambridge, then took medical studies at Guy’s, King’s and St Thomas’s medical schools in London, training in paediatrics, gynaecology, care of the elderly, acute medicine, psychiatry and general practice. Dr Philippa has also written a number of books, including ones on child health, diabetes in childhood and adolescence. She is a mum of 3.

Read more: Top Testers' Clinic with Dr Philippa Kaye: Poo anxiety and post-natal weight loss