Feeling Tired While Breastfeeding? Six Tips for Coping with the Early Stages of Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding is a wonderful experience and provides your baby with everything that they need to grow and thrive. Breast milk is, indeed, a perfect food. That being said, breastfeeding can be exhausting because each time you feed your child, you lose a lot of fluids. When it comes to breastfeeding exhaustion, however, the remedies are very simple, so you can get back to feeling a lot less tired immediately if you follow a few simple tips. Below are six of them.
1. Increase Your Caloric Intake
Yes, it takes extra calories to make enough breast milk for your baby to grow. Because of this, you need to add a minimum of 500 calories per day to your diet. In other words, this is not the time in your life to concentrate on losing weight. Instead, concentrate on eating enough to make the calories needed to produce that much breast milk.
Some experts recommend that up to 800 extra calories are needed, but each mom is different, so check with your doctor and always follow that advice instead. Whatever the number ends up being, keep in mind that you do indeed need extra calories in order to produce the milk your baby needs.
2. Drink Lots of Fluids
Postpartum fatigue is a real thing, but it doesn’t have to stick around a long time. Fatigue is always a part of a new mother’s life in the beginning, but if you eat enough and drink enough fluids, it will help a lot. Remember the old eight-glasses-of-water-per-day recommendation? This is a good one to follow, but you should also make sure that you’re drinking healthy drinks, such as water or sugar-free juice.
Also, keep in mind that you should never drink anything with caffeine in it because caffeine is a stimulant. Caffeine is also proven to dehydrate the body, and dehydration automatically makes your fatigue a lot worse.
3. Watch the Foods That You Eat
Adding calories to your diet is important, but it’s more important to choose the right foods whenever you’re hungry. It’s a good idea to eat three meals per day plus one or two snacks. When you’re hungry and you reach for food, make sure that it isn’t junk food or high-sugar food. Instead, try eating foods such as yogurt, oatmeal, and green tea, not to mention fruits, vegetables, and lots of high-protein foods.
High-protein foods are good because they tend to make you feel fuller longer, and they give you the extra energy that you need when you breastfeed. In fact, a lot of OB-GYNs recommend that breastfeeding women eat the same way they ate when they were pregnant.
4. Consider Pumping at Least Occasionally
Some nursing moms ask themselves, does pumping make you tired? The answer is yes, it can. Not only are the fluids coming out faster than they usually do when you’re breastfeeding, but the pumping action itself can tire you out, especially if you’re using a manual breast pump. If you choose to use an electric breast pump, it can help a lot, and while they can be pricey, it can save you energy in the long run.
When you lose fluids like this, it is bound to make you tired, which is why getting extra calories and drinking extra fluids each and every day is so important. Of course, another huge advantage of pumping is that your partner can help with one or more of those late-night feedings, which means that you can get some extra sleep.
5. Get Some Extra Sleep When You Can
Did you chuckle at this tip? We don’t blame you! The truth is that all mothers of newborns are tired, so this shouldn’t be a concern when it happens to you. Nevertheless, the saying “sleep when the baby sleeps” is excellent advice. Naturally, you may not be able to do this if this isn’t your first child, but if it is your first child, it’s a good time to ignore housework and take a nap whenever the baby does the same.
You might think that these short catnaps aren’t doing you any good, but they are. Napping when the baby naps is a great way to get the extra sleep you need to feel at least a little better throughout the day.
6. Try to Exercise Regularly
If you took a lot of cardio classes before you had your baby, you may not be able to go back to those immediately, but if you try to meditate, do yoga, or simply take a walk around the block, it can do you a lot of good. It’ll clear your head and help you feel better both physically and emotionally. It can also help increase your energy levels so you don’t feel nearly as tired.
Keep in mind that you’ll need to get your doctor’s approval before starting to exercise again, regardless of the type of delivery you had. Most doctors require you to take at least a week or two off, but again, that depends on your doctor.