If you’re a breastfeeding mom, you may have noticed that your usual energy levels just aren’t what they used to be, despite starting each day with the best intentions. Breastfeeding can have an affect on our energy levels and make us feel more tired than normal due to the additional hormones and changes in our diet that accompany it. In this blog post , we will discuss how breastfeeding can make you tired and explore way to increase you energy levels as a breastfeeding mom.
If you’ve noticed the days are getting longer, and your energy levels are decreasing since breastfeeding, you’ve probably put two and two together and have found yourself wondering “does breastfeeding make you tired?” Wee actually, it does!
Yes, breastfeeding can make you tired. In addition to the emotional challenges of caring for a newborn and adjusting to life with a baby, nursing mothers often experience physical fatigue due to the additional energy demands of breastfeeding. This is normal and usually passes over time as your body becomes more efficient at producing milk.
It’s important to remember that this is perfectly normal, many moms experience increased exhaustion for up to 6 months or longer after giving birth, especially breastfeeding moms. While this can seem overwhelming and start to affect our daily lives, in a not so great way, there are ways to get some of your energy back. Read on as we look at what causes fatigue in mothers who breastfeed and explore some possible solutions for managing your energy levels.
Why Does Breastfeeding Make You Tired?
Everyone warned me that having a baby makes you tired, this I was prepared for, but no one told me that breastfeeding can make you even more tired! Otherwise, I would’ve done this research months before have my baby, so that I could prepare myself. It wasn’t until I began breastfeeding and experienced my own bouts of extreme exhaustion that I learned why breastfeeding makes you tired and what to do about it. Here’s what I learned.
The physical changes that occur after childbirth, combined with the additional energy demands of providing breastmilk for your baby, can account for much of the fatigue experienced by new mothers. Breastfeeding itself requires an intake of more calories than usual in order to maintain a constant supply of breastmilk – this can leave the mother feeling run-down, as her body is working hard to provide nutrition for both herself and baby.
Additionally, breastfeeding causes an increase in prolactin levels which can make moms feel sluggish and less motivated, resulting in an overall feeling of fatigue. Prolactin is the hormone responsible for milk production, prompting it to increase during breastfeeding. It can also have a calming and sedative effect, making moms feel more relaxed but at the same time exhausted.
Furthermore, hormonal changes that occur after childbirth can also contribute to feelings of exhaustion, as these changes mean that it takes the body longer to recover and recuperate from physical exertion. Estrogen helps to control our sleep cycles and when it drops, we naturally become more prone to feeling sleepy and exhausted.
Lastly, sleep deprivation, emotional stress and lack of social support can all contribute to feelings of exhaustion for new moms, breastfeeding or not. This combined with the physical demands of taking care of a newborn baby can leave mothers feeling overwhelmed, fatigued, and exhausted.
Many mothers experience broken sleep as they feed their baby during the night, and this can cause extra tiredness. It is also important to remember that your body needs time to recover from childbirth, so it is essential to allow yourself plenty of rest and relaxation during the postpartum period.
10 Reasons Breastfeeding Makes You Tired
1. Hormonal changes: Breastfeeding requires additional hormones to be produced, which can make you feel tired.
2. Dehydration: When breastfeeding your body will need more water than usual and dehydration can lead to tiredness.
3. Lack of sleep: Feeding your baby during the night can mean broken sleep for you, leading to fatigue.
4. Stress hormones: The release of stress hormones in response to childbirth and/or breastfeeding can lead to exhaustion.
5. Lack of social support: Feeling unsupported by friends or family can lead to increased stress and exhaustion.
6. Nutrition demands: Providing breastmilk for your baby requires an added intake of nutrients which can leave you feeling run-down and tired.
7. Emotional stress: Emotional stress from being a new mother, as well as the extra responsibilities that come with parenting can contribute to tiredness.
8. Postpartum recovery: It takes your body time to recover from childbirth and this can mean feeling more tired than usual.
9. Prolactin levels: This hormone is responsible for milk production, prompting it to increase during breastfeeding which has a calming but fatiguing effect on the mother.
10. Overwhelmed: Feeling overwhelmed by all the physical and emotional demands of taking care of a newborn can lead to feeling extremely tired.
Although breastfeeding can make you feel incredibly exhausted, it is important to remember that it is temporary and that your energy levels will improve as you adjust to life with your baby. To help manage fatigue while breastfeeding, be sure to drink plenty of fluids, eat healthy meals, rest as often as possible and ask for help from family and friends. Most importantly remember that you are not alone – many mothers experience feelings of exhaustion while breastfeeding.
How to Manage Your Energy Levels When Breastfeeding
The most obvious reason when it comes to having more energy while breastfeeding would be to get more, rest, eat well, stay hydrated etc… but sometimes even that isn’t enough or even so, we may struggle to keep up as new moms. So here are a few things that helped me stay a bit more energized and are a bit less obvious.
Prioritizing and UN-prioritizing
One thing that helped me was setting priorities. Breastfeeding isn’t a former thing, so something on our to-do list may have to go undone for a little while or less attended to. If we’ve been wanting to organize all the closets, redecorate the nursery, start a new business, or attend a new community organization, maybe now isn’t the time. For things we have control over, and ones that don’t need immediate attention, consider putting them off until a time when you have more energy.
Also, if you can’t cut your schedule in half, consider finding ways to make time more meaningful, by pre-tasking. Such as meal plan for an entire week so you don’t have to cook everyday, or organizing your weekly planner in a way that will save you time and energy down the line. Here’s an article to help you learn more about how pre-tasking can make your life as a mom or breastfeeding mom easier. How Do Stay At Home Moms Stay Sane? Top 3 Secrets and 25 Tips!
Vitamins and Supplements
Another way to manage your energy while breastfeeding is to take multi-vitamins aimed to improve energy levels, such as B-complex. Often times we may be lacking in a few nutrients and taking supplements can help us get back on track in managing our energy levels so that breastfeeding doesn’t have to feel so tiring. I also added healthy energy bars to my daily intake to give me a boost!
10 Vitamins that help with energy that are safe when breastfeeding
1. Vitamin B6
3. Vitamin D
5. Folic Acid
6. Vitamin B12
7. Vitamin C
8. Vitamin B Complex
10. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
These vitamins will not only help you have more energy but also support better milk production and help with postpartum recovery as well! Taking these vitamins daily can help boost energy levels while breastfeeding, making the process easier and more enjoyable for both you and your baby.
Designate Time For Yourself
As difficult as it is with a newborn, it is important to not get stuck in the reality of exhaustion, take time for yourself, and give yourself permission to ask for help or take a break if you need it. Even if just 15-20 minutes. Communicating with your spouse or partner is key!!!
I sat my husband down and expressed my feelings of tiredness with hi, knowing that he too was tire from work, we were still able to come up with a rest schedule that consider both our needs not just one of us.
In a 15 hour day that began at 7am, I asked my husband to take our son at 6pm daily, for 1 hour. This gave me time to rest after preparing dinner, and before we sat down to eat. It also give him an hour after getting of at work from 5pm-6pm, to rest as well. (He works from home, so no travel time was considered). This gave each of us an hour of decompression in which I was able too shower or bathe, complete a skin care routine, read a 5-10 minute devotion, stretch, nap or whatever I wanted to do with that time!
Consider trying this yourself and communicate with your spouse or partner to see if it’s a possibility. If this isn’t an option for your, another thing I recently began implementing is “quiet time”. During this time, if my baby was awake, I’d place him in his playpen with his favorite toys, or safe snack, and use that time for myself. Some days I also utilized educational screen time for 30 minutes once he was older.
Independent play is encouraged in babies and toddler, as it allows them to explore their environment, practice rolling over, sitting up, crawling, and be creative in a safe way. It can also be a game changer in managing energy levels while breastfeeding. Don’t feel guilty for allowing your baby some screen time or independent playtime, if you lack the support needed to thrive! Just be sure your designated “quiet time” area is safe, secure, and you can still monitor them.
Make Your Breastfeeding Spot Comfortable and Ergonomically Friendly
An ergonomically friendly space will make it easier to feed your baby in a position that’s more comfortable for both of you while also allowing you to change positions if needed. Investing in a comfortable chair or nursing pillow, with a tray table or cup holder for your water tumbler, can make all the difference in how you feel while nursing and help preserve your energy.
A good, comfortable breastfeeding setup may include an adjustable chair, a supportive nursing pillow, plenty of pillows for support and some cozy blankets or nursing covers that can help keep you warm during those early morning feed! Having your breastfeeding spot setup this way will make it easier to relax, so that breastfeeding felt more like taking a sitting break, than another task.
Warmies products are also worth considering, as they are stuffed with dried lavender. Warming them in the microwave can provide some added comfort while feeding and put you in an overall better, more calming, relaxed mood!
Finally, if you’re looking for a little extra support when breastfeeding your baby, consider investing in a hands-free pumping bra or device. This was a lifesaver for me during those late night pumping sessions and allowed me to multitask while still staying close to my baby.
These are just some of my personal favorites for managing energy levels while breastfeeding, below are some more common tips and techniques to try!
10 Tips to Stay Energized While Breastfeeding
1. Take frequent breaks– Break up your nursing sessions by getting up and taking a walk, stretching, or having a snack.
2. Drink plenty of water –Keep yourself hydrated while breastfeeding to help ensure that your body has enough energy to keep going.
3. Eat healthy snacks – Snacks like nuts, fruits, and vegetables can provide a boost of energy without weighing you down.
4. Avoid caffeine –Caffeine may give you a temporary burst of energy but can cause long-term fatigue if overused.
5. Take naps –Napping during the day or taking frequent breaks for rest can help keep your energy levels up throughout the day.
6. Exercise –Low-impact exercises like yoga or walking can help boost energy and reduce fatigue.
7. Get support –Ask your partner, family, friends, or other breastfeeding moms for help if you’re feeling overwhelmed.
8. Do something you enjoy– Spend time doing things that make you feel energized, like listening to music or reading a book.
9. Try herbal supplements –There are many herbal supplements available that can help boost energy without the crash of traditional energy drinks.
10. Make time for yourself–Make sure to take at least 10 minutes each day for yourself
Overall, managing your energy levels while breastfeeding is all about finding a balance between rest and activity. Try to find wats, and time in your day to recharge so that you can keep up with the demands of motherhood. With these tips and tools, you’ll be sure to find what works best for you!