Having your first child can be an exhilarating experience, and while it does present some challenges, a lot of new moms wouldn’t trade what they have for the world. However, it can also be exhausting as labor and delivery can take a toll on your body. Add that to the fact that caring for a newborn takes a lot of time and energy, and you’ve got all the makings for post partum fatigue.
According to a study, 38.8% of women experienced severe tiredness at 10 days post partum, and 27.1% still felt fatigued one month after giving birth. Since post partum fatigue can lead to breast feeding problems, depression, anxiety, and sleep problems, it’s important to find ways to manage it, for your own wellbeing and your baby’s health. Here are some smart ways to cope with new mom fatigue.
Getting Through the Night
As a new mom, you may find yourself struggling to stay awake during late night or early morning feedings. This is fairly common, and a study of more than 2,000 moms found that 72% of those who feed their babies in bed fall sound asleep with their little ones. Falling asleep while breastfeeding can be dangerous since your baby may be at risk of suffocation, and they may even fall out of your arms.
If you find yourself nodding off while breastfeeding, you’ll need to find a way to stay awake and get yourself through the night. Watching TV can be a good solution, but you can make this time even more productive by doing something that can boost your mood and confidence. For instance, reading books by authors like Brene Brown, Jen Sincero, and Elaine N. Aron, which are about courage, strength, compassion, and vulnerability, can be deeply empowering for any new mom. If you need a mood-booster, listening to upbeat music on your phone could work to help you stay awake. Just make sure to use headphones so you won’t disturb your baby.
Maintain Energy Levels with the Right Food
Most new moms forget to eat well once their new baby arrives. However, neglecting your own nutritional needs can be detrimental to your health and seriously deplete your energy levels. You’ll need to consume food that will restore your body’s strength, so eat enough protein such as poultry, red meat, dairy, beans, and fish to improve muscle strength. Meanwhile, to beat post partum fatigue, include fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and nuts and seeds to your diet. Chia seeds can also give you energy for the whole day, so add a teaspoon to your morning smoothie, then later in the day, add a scoop to a cup of yogurt for an energy-boosting afternoon snack.
Stay away from processed foods as much as possible since these can make you feel sluggish and heavy, which is the last thing that you want when you’re trying to stay alert and active. As for coffee, it’s generally safe to drink it when breastfeeding, but experts recommend limiting your caffeine intake to 300 milligrams per day for your health. You can also drink herbal tea as a substitute for coffee, so consider brewing a big batch and storing it in the fridge so you can have a drink whenever you want.
Prioritize Your Comfort
If you’re going to be caring for a newborn for the most part of the day, then you might as well do it while staying comfortable. Get yourself a couple of soft, well-fitting nursing bras and nightwear, and treat yourself to a quality nursing chair or glider so you can breastfeed comfortably. A reclining chair can also be a good addition to your nursery if you don’t want a glider. Invest in a good post partum or donut pillow to cushion your tailbone while you’re sitting down. Also, if you’ll be spending a lot of time in your little one’s room, you might as well outfit it with things that can make your days a little more enjoyable, such as a trolley cart filled with healthy snacks and drinks, or a small bookcase for your books. These little things may not seem like a lot, but they can help to make you feel better when you’re feeling too tired to give yourself the care that you need.
New mom fatigue is real, so it’s essential to find ways to manage tiredness before it turns into other health problems. Consider these tips to cope with post partum fatigue and have a happier time caring for your newborn.