Better Sleep for Breastfeeding Mothers and Babies: Things That You Can Do for Both of You to Feel More Rested
If you’re a new mom and you’re breastfeeding, being tired is likely a huge part of your life; fortunately, there are some things that you can do to get better sleep for both you and your baby. When you first get your baby home, things are usually pretty chaotic, but it can be a lot easier after a while if you learn a few tips.
When You First Get Home
When you and your newborn arrive home, the first thing that you’ll notice is that your life is completely disorganized and hectic, but you might be surprised by how quickly that can change. The first thing that you should do is not try to be a superwoman. Yes, you can have it all, but it’s still best not to aim for that, at least in the beginning. If you can afford it, consider hiring temporary help for chores such as laundry and housekeeping.
In other words, don’t try to do everything yourself. Ask your family and friends for help if you can’t afford to hire someone, and for the first month at least, concentrate only on taking care of your baby. Pregnancy, breastfeeding, and caring for a newborn are hard work, so it’s a good idea to relax your expectations and ignore the things you used to consider important before you became a new mom.
Relaxation Is a Must
Lots of new mothers are tense, but if you concentrate on just one task every day that is designed to help you relax, it can make a huge difference in your outlook on everything.
For starters, try these easy techniques that can help you relax and feel better about your day:
- Enjoy a cup of chamomile tea. Among herbal teas, chamomile is one of the most relaxing. You’ll need to check with your doctor before consuming any type of herbal tea, as some of them do more harm than good. Stinging nettle, lavender flowers, and anise tea are also good choices when breastfeeding.
- Don’t stop taking your prenatal vitamins. Both you and the baby need the extra nutrition right now, so keep taking the vitamins until you stop breastfeeding. Certain vitamins, such as vitamins D and B12, are found in high quantities in prenatal vitamins and both you and baby need them.
- Drink lots of fluids. Extra fluids are necessary because they help make the breast milk, but remember that soups and broths also count as fluids. You should always aim for water, but you can also drink milk, no-sugar-added juices, and even water-heavy fruits such as watermelon and other melons.
- Take a warm shower. If you take a warm -- not hot -- shower, it can relax you almost instantly. Once you wash up, stand under the shower and allow the warm water to flow over you until you feel relaxed. Between the warm water and the steam it produces, your muscles will automatically start to relax; therefore, so will you.
- Rest every chance you get. If this is your first child, you should take advantage of that and nap whenever the baby naps. Forget about the housework and concentrate on taking good care of yourself and your newborn. If you eliminate some of your household responsibilities at least temporarily, you’ll feel much better both physically and emotionally.
Learning How to Breastfeed the Right Way
Yes, there is a proper way to breastfeed, and your doctor or the hospital’s lactation specialist can help you learn what it is. One of the most important tips to remember is to get comfortable before starting to breastfeed. Buy yourself one of those breastfeeding pillows or set up some pillows high enough so your arms can relax while still holding the baby in the right position.
Once you’re comfortable, you’ll feel more relaxed from start to finish, even if your baby falls asleep while nursing. It is both physically and psychologically more relaxing if you make sure everything is in the right place before you start breastfeeding at each session. And the more relaxed you are, the less tension and fatigue you’ll feel as a breastfeeding mom.
Your Diet Is Crucial
Believe it or not, there are some foods that can fight fatigue. These include the following:
- Bananas: Bananas contain potassium, which converts sugars such as carbs into energy.
- Oatmeal: There are lots of ingredients that fight fatigue in oatmeal, including the right carbs, vitamin B1, protein, and magnesium.
- Yogurt: Although some yogurt has a lot of sugar, you can find some with less sugar and it also contains probiotics and protein that fight fatigue.
- Green tea: This type of tea boosts energy, reduces stress, and even improves your immune system.
Naturally, you should also eat very little sugar and lots of healthy foods, including fruit, vegetables, and high-protein foods. If you get hungry, don’t reach for junk food; instead, reach for healthy, high-protein foods that can help both you and your baby sleep better so you can have more energy during the day.
A healthy diet, herbal teas, resting when you can, and drinking lots of fluids are just a few of the things you can do to sleep better while you’re breastfeeding. And because your baby will “eat” whatever you eat when you breastfeed, you can both sleep a lot better at night and feel more alert during the day if you follow these tips.
It doesn’t have to be complicated, but give yourself enough time to adjust to your new life and don’t sweat the small stuff when you’re breastfeeding.