New Baby? 11 Ways to Cope with Sleep Deprivation

Being a new parent is hard work with very few breaks. One of the most difficult things can be the ongoing sleep deprivation.

Here are some tips to help you make it through this tiring stage of life.

  1. Try to lay down when the baby sleeps. This is difficult as there is always more laundry or housework to be done but try to make your own rest a priority. A nap in the day can make nighttime feeds much less stressful.

  2. Take a day to stay in your pyjamas and rest. Even if you are unable to sleep, lie down and read a book or listen to music while your baby sleeps.

  3. Try not to look at the clock at night. It can make you more concerned about the sleep you are not getting and make you feel worse in the morning.

  4. Every baby is different and will have different sleeping patterns. Young babies cannot be spoiled. If they wake due to hunger, feel reassured that you are doing the right thing by responding.

  5. Breastfeed lying down. Ask your partner to do the burping and changing for some of the feeds.

  6. Say yes to anyone who offers to help you with household tasks.

  7. Try to get outside every day. Feeling sunshine on your face and getting fresh air can lift your mood, even if you are tired.

  8. Limit caffeine. Caffeine can interfere with sleep when you get the opportunity. It also also increases anxiety.

  9. Discuss with your partner ways that you can both get more sleep. Can you take turns napping? Can your partner be with the baby until midnight while you go to bed to get a 2-3 hour stretch of uninterrupted sleep? Knowing that you are working together to maximize available sleep may make you both feel better.

  10. Take care of yourself in other ways so that your body is getting what it needs (even if sleep isn’t one of them). Drink enough water. Eat healthy foods that give you energy and try to fit in some kind of physical activity.

  11. Know that the sleep deprivation is temporary. It may seem like it will last forever, but it is a phase of life that will eventually come to an end.

coping-with-sleep-deprivation

 

Other related posts you may enjoy: I am so TIRED… More than Just Fatigue? and Baby’s “Days and Nights Mixed-Up“.


About the authors:IMG_9687 4

Cindy and Jana are Registered Nurses and International Board Certified Lactation Consultants who have assisted over 20,000 families.

Download their app NuuNest – Newborn Nurse Answers and Baby Tracking for expert guidance through the first crucial weeks after childbirth.

1 comments

How to Better Understand Baby Sleep

When I was pregnant with my first child, someone told me that having to pee often at night was God’s way of preparing me for the frequent night feedings to come! My fear of sleep deprivation and quest for a good night’s sleep began before my baby had even arrived.

My newborn did feed often. Especially at night. I am convinced he fed every 2 hours at night until he was well over a year old. While I enjoyed nursing my baby to sleep (and it seemed to be the best way to get him to sleep), I had the nagging feeling I was doing something wrong and that he would never learn to sleep on his own.

I know I am not alone. Sleep is a huge issue for new families. Parents of babies only two or three days old ask me if they have started a bad habit because the only way their baby will sleep is tucked into bed beside them.

Desperate for sleep, parents look for a baby sleep solution. I know I did. None, however, felt right to my parenting heart.

I love what IBCLC Meg Nagle (aka The Milk Meg) had to say about one of the common sleep training methods. She graciously allowed us to reprint her article below. We would love to hear your comments and learn what worked for you.

-Cindy   

How-to-Understand-Baby-Sleep

 

Why “Feed, Play, Sleep” routines make no sense for a breastfed baby…

 

*Just to clarify, I don’t think it makes sense for ANY baby, bottle or breastfed to be on this routine…however it makes even LESS sense for breastfed babies. Also, if you are doing this routine and it’s working for you then great! This article isn’t for you (although I’d love for you to keep reading anyway)! This is for the millions of women who are told they “should” be doing this routine but know it’s just not working for them and they are wondering why. Because the reality is that for most women who breastfeed on demand, it doesn’t work! Here’s why…

If you live in a western culture you will have definitely heard of the “Feed, play, sleep” routine. This is a well known and frequently suggested method of getting your baby into a little pattern of eating, playing and then yes, you guessed it…sleeping. Every day. Now as a exhausted pregnant woman (or new mother) how awesome does this sound?! Sounds great until the baby actually arrives and they are on and off the boob constantly.

We find ourselves reading these books and websites about this wonderful routine wondering, “What is WRONG with my baby?! He won’t sleep longer than 40 minutes and half that time my boob has to be in his mouth! He wants to breastfeed before waking, after waking, during his play time and then to fall asleep again! Why is my baby not fitting into this schedule?! What is wrong with me? Why is this happening?!”

I’ll tell you why this is happening…because your baby is normal. Your baby is born incredibly prematurely compared to other mammals. Your baby is an actual person. A person who cannot do anything for themselves. Your baby needs cuddles, breastfeeds, cuddles and breastfeeds. Breastfeeding is not meant to be scheduled. It’s makes no sense from a biological, cultural or evolutionary perspective.

 

Here is why this little routine does not make sense for breastfed babies…

  • Breastfed babies have virtually all of their needs met by breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding is not just about “feeding” but is about comfort, hunger, thirst, pain relief, boredom buster, tantrum stopper and basically answer to everything elixir. You may not know what is wrong with your baby but chances are…boob will fix it. So throw out that book that’s telling you to stretch out the next breastfeed until it’s “time”. Just whip it out. “When in doubt…whip it out”!

  • Your baby is actually a person…not a cookiecutter clone.

This is something that gets my panties in a bunch…your little baby is a person. This little person is going through many changes. They’ve just gone from a nice warm womb to a cold, crazy world. Your little person is not going to follow a schedule…if they do then pat yourself on the back and do a happy dance that you have a little weirdo (and I mean in a good way) baby! But it’s definitely not the norm.

  • Your breastmilk is MADE to put your little one to sleep.

As I’ve mentioned in my book and in my blog countless times, your milk has components in it to help put your child to sleep! It’s amazing! Just pop them on and watch them fall asleep. Most babies do this. This is not a habit that needs to be broken. It is what they are meant to do. It is important. It is the biological norm.

  • A breastfed baby on a routine means less frequent draining of the breasts which means less milk production.

Breastmilk production is simple…supply and demand. The more well drained your breasts are…the more they will make. Trying to distract a baby to not breastfeed since it’s not “feeding time” can affect your supply and put you at risk for needing to supplement or pump. Even though these routines stress how you can be “flexible” with some of these times, books and websites state that at a certain age you can stick to these routines by the minute…try telling that to most breastfed babies or toddlers and they will respond with a cry asking to be breastfed!

  • Breastfed babies need a breastfeed to help them work through feelings and to help calm themselves.

Breastfeeding is not just about “the milk”. Breastfeeding will happen at various times throughout the day and night that have NOTHING to do with hunger or the need for food.

  • Bottle fed babies find comfort through a pacifier…breasts ARE a breastfed baby’s pacifier.

This is one of the biggest differences in doing these routines with a breastfed baby compared to a bottle fed baby. A baby bottle feeds because they are hungry. When they are no longer hungry you can give them a pacifier and either rock them to sleep or put them down to sleep where they nod off by themselves. Cue the breastfed baby…this baby breastfeeds TO ACTUAL SLEEP because this is how they pacify themselves! They’ll breastfeed to wake up, breastfeed during their play time and then breastfeed back to sleep. They are calmed at the breast.

Here is the typical recommended schedule for people on how to do the “feed, play, sleep” routine…

When your baby wakes up:

  • Offer a feed.
  • Change your baby’s nappy.
  • Take time for talk and play.
  • Put your baby back down for a sleep.

And here is how it usually goes for a breastfed baby who is fed on demand and is with their mother 24/7…

When your baby wakes up:

  • Feed.
  • Change nappy.
  • Talk, Play, Feed
  • Carry around.
  • Feed.
  • Feed/sleep/feed.
  • Play/feed/play.
  • Feed.
  • Sleep.

Or to be more exact for the breastfeeding woman (because breastfeeding is not just about “FEEDING”…)

Now don’t think for one second that I don’t think routines are good ideas…Babies and children LOVE routines. They thrive on knowing what is going to happen when. However, I strongly believe that breastfeeding can happen before, during and after these rituals you do every day. Before sleep times you can read a book, sing them a song, give them a bath…all of this can happen while breastfeeding here there or everywhere in between these rituals you do. Remember your baby is a little human. A little person…and this little person needs frequent breastfeeds and frequent cuddles day and night. You are mothering through breastfeeding…not creating a soldier for the next graduating class of military cadets. Relax and just enjoy your baby.

xx

Meg

 

Learn more about newborns and sleep: 11 Ways to Cope with Sleep Deprivation and Baby’s “Days and Nights Mixed-Up”

 

Meg Nagle. The Milk Meg. Photo


About Meg:

In between breastfeeding her youngest boy, chasing after her oldest two boys, blogging and occasionally sleeping  …Meg Nagle works with women to help them reach their breastfeeding goals! Meg has also written a book, “Boobin’ All Day…Boobin’ All Night. A Gentle Approach To Sleep For Breastfeeding Mothers” which can be found HERE.

0 comments

12 Ways to Pamper Yourself Without Leaving Home

 

Last week we wrote about the Myths of Motherhood and the importance of taking time to nurture yourself. This can be difficult given the demands of raising a baby. Sometimes at best you can squeeze 20 to 30 minutes to yourself. We have 12 suggestions for ways to pamper yourself on those busy days. Keep a mental list of the ones that appeal to you most so that when your baby’s nap time hits or your partner is available, you can have a mini-pamper session.

1. Write in your diary, journal or blog

If you are a person who loves to journal, pick up your pen or computer and take guilt free time to express yourself.

2. Indulge in a warm cup of tea, coffee or hot chocolate.

Next time you are at the grocery store, buy a “special treat” variety of your favorite hot beverage and stash it in the back of the cupboard. When you have 20 minutes, boil your brew and take it to your favorite chair. Slowly sip and relax, focusing on the moment instead of your to-do list.

3. Do a home pedicure

Soak your feet in a tub of warm scented water for 10 minutes. Rub off rough spots with a pumice stone. Use your favorite moisturizer on your feet and apply a coat of your favorite colored toe polish.

4. Dress up, style your hair and put on makeup

In the busyness of life with a new baby, the majority of our days may be spent in sweatpants. However, when you need a lift, pamper yourself and put on your favorite outfit. Dig out some earrings and style your hair.

5. Take a long soothing bath

Negotiate with your partner to keep the little ones quiet while you indulge in a long bath. Playing music, lighting candles or using bubble bath or scented oil can make it feel extra special.

6. Read a good book or your favorite magazine

It can be a treat to curl up with a good book or your favorite magazine. Try to choose something other than a “how to” book about parenting! This can be doubly relaxing when combined with suggestion #5.

7. Watch an episode of your favorite series

Is there a series you used to love in your “pre-children” days? Take the time to watch an episode, guilt free.

8. Burn your favorite scented candle

We often purchase scented candles for special occasions. Make today the special occasion and burn your best scented candle. This can be relaxing and a wonderful stress reliever. Even if you can’t get a break a real break, the flickering of a candle can help you to relax.

9. Phone a friend.

When you have 20 minutes, telephone a friend to have an adult conversation. Catch up on news, trying to focus on talking about anything other than parenting.

10. Yoga

Put on some soft music, get out your mat and do a few of the most relaxing yoga poses. Try to quiet your mind and focus on something you find relaxing, perhaps your favorite vacation spot.

11. Go for a walk

This technically involves leaving your house but you wouldn’t have to go far…When your partner gets home, take 20 minutes to go for a walk by yourself. Put on earphones with your favorite music and go for a brisk walk. The exercise, combined with music and the outdoors can really lift your mood.

12. Do absolutely nothing

This is quite possibly our favorite way to pamper ourselves when time is tight. Sit in your most comfortable chair and do absolutely nothing for 20 minutes, guilt free. Concentrate on the feeling of relaxation. Sit in a lounge chair in the sunshine if weather allows.

Do you have other mini-pamper ideas that have worked for you? We would love to hear them.

 

Other suggested posts for new moms: I am so TIRED… More than Just Fatigue? and New Baby? 11 Ways to Cope with Sleep Deprivation.

—————–

 

IMG_9687 4

About the authors:

Cindy and Jana are Registered Nurses and International Board Certified Lactation Consultants who have assisted over 20,000 families.

Download their app NuuNest – Newborn Nurse Answers and Baby Tracking for expert guidance through the first crucial weeks after childbirth.

3475199344_22c0327a80_m

(Photo courtesy of Flickr: dMap Travel Guide)

2 comments

C-section: Guide to Recovery

Approximately 25-35% of all deliveries in North America are by Cesarean section (C-section). Some of these are planned while others are the result of complications that arose during labour.

 

A C-section is major surgery and will require recovery time. If you have gone through labour in addition to the surgery, you can expect an even longer recovery time.

 

When people have surgery, such as having their appendix removed, they know must rest and take time to heal. The same should apply when you have a C-section. The difference, however, is that in addition to needing to heal, you also have a newborn to care for. Your rest will be in 1 or 2-hour blocks only and there may even be company to entertain!

 

It is important to be realistic in your expectations of yourself; enlist the help of others with tasks such as cooking, cleaning and laundry.

C-Section Guide to Recovery

 

 

Getting mobile

Most women will stay in hospital for 2 to 4 nights after a caesarean. Nurses will assist you to get up and walk a few steps as soon as possible after your surgery. Although this will no doubt be uncomfortable, it will help to speed your healing. Start with just a few steps and gradually increase the distance you walk.

 

Walking is important to keep the blood circulating in your legs to lessen your chance of developing a blood clot (deep vein thrombosis or DVT).

 

Symptoms of a blood clot in your leg include:

  • severe pain that is worsened when you pull your toes up towards your head
  • red area on your leg that is warmer to touch than surrounding areas
  • one leg that is significantly more swollen than the other

 

These symptoms should be reported to your healthcare provider.

 

Your bowels temporarily shut down during surgery. This can result in a painful accumulation of gas. Walking helps the gas to work its way through the bowel. Some women will experience a “referred gas pain” in their shoulder area. You could try drinking Peppermint tea; some women say it helps!

 

Managing the Pain

You will require pain medication after your surgery. Most pain medication is compatible with breastfeeding. Check with your healthcare provider or pharmacist if you are unsure.

 

Try to take your pain medication regularly for the first couple of days after surgery. Being pain-free will allow you to move more easily and care for your baby more comfortably.

 

It is important to take pain medication before you are discharged from the hospital. The effort involved in transferring to your vehicle, then getting settled at home can result in increased pain.

 

Incision pain should decrease each day. If you find that you are starting to forget your pain medication, it is a good sign that you are healing well.

 

Coughing or laughing

It can be uncomfortable to cough or laugh after surgery. “Splinting” your incision can help. Use a folded towel to put firm pressure with your hands on either side of the incision while you cough or laugh.

It is important to know that while it may be uncomfortable, your incision is sutured in many layers and can withstand sudden movements.

 

Bowels

Keeping your bowel movements soft will make them easier to pass without using your stomach muscles. A gentle stool softener may be prescribed. Drinking plenty of fluids and having a high fibre diet will also help.

 

Vaginal Bleeding

You will have some type of vaginal discharge for several days following a C-section.

 

Your discharge will typically be a red bloody flow for 3-5 days, followed by a pinkish watery flow for another 10 days.

 

Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding can begin as soon as you are comfortable after a C-section. If you have had a general anaesthetic, you may breastfeed as soon as you awake. If your C-section was done without a general anesthetic, you will likely be able to breastfeed as soon as baby is born.

It can be challenging to find comfortable nursing positions after a C-section. Many women like to use the football hold, side lying or laid-back position to keep the weight of baby off their incision.


Learn more about positions for breastfeeding in this free video lesson. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click preview for the Comfy Breastfeeding Positions lesson.


 

C-Section, what to expect

Emotions

Women can experience a wide range of emotions in the weeks after a C-section. Some may feel relief that surgery finally ended a long and difficult labor. Others may feel let down that they were unable to give birth vaginally, the way they had envisioned during their pregnancy. Still others have mixed emotions. There is no one right way to feel after a C-section.

 

If you are having feelings of disappointment or frustration regarding your C-section, it is important to talk about it. Talking about your feelings helps to resolve the issue in your mind. Feel free to ask your doctor or midwife for explanations about why the surgery was necessary. Give yourself time to reconcile your birth experience with what you had envisioned.

 

If you find you are struggling with your feelings beyond the first few weeks, talk to your healthcare provider. Postpartum blues are quite common in the first few weeks but if they do not resolve or the symptoms worsen, you could be suffering from postpartum depression and may benefit from treatment and a support group.

 

Hospital discharge

The day of discharge from hospital will be a busy day. You will likely see your doctor and be given discharge instructions by your nurse. Packing up baby and transferring from your hospital room to the car to your home can take a lot of energy. This will not be a good day to entertain company at your home.

 

Once home, remember to rest as much as possible. Try to limit trips up and down stairs. Ask your support people to help you set up diaper change stations close to where you will be resting.

 

You will need help for the first few days at home. Enlist the help of your partner, other family members or friends. If you can afford it, hire someone to do the cleaning and laundry.

 

Incision

Most C-sections are done with a bikini incision, a 4 to 6 inch incision just above your pubic bone. The incision has many layers of stitches. The outermost layer may be stitched with dissolvable sutures or metal staples. If you have staples, a healthcare provider will remove them five to seven days after the surgery.

 

At first, the incision will be bright red and may be slightly raised. It will take 4 – 6 weeks for the incision to fully heal and it may feel itchy as it heals. The red scar will gradually fade and become flush with your skin.

 

It is not unusual for the area around the incision to be numb. This is due to a disruption of the nerves during surgery. The numbness may last for several months but normal sensation should eventually return.

 

It is normal to have a small amount of a watery yellow discharge from your healing incision. Notify your healthcare provider if:

  • your incision is red, warm to touch, and swollen
  • you have a fever
  • you have increasing pain, despite taking your pain meds
  • you have thick yellow or yellowish-green discharge from your incision

 

Activity guidelines

Because your abdominal muscles have been cut, it is important not to lift anything heavier than your baby for approximately 6 weeks. 2 – 6 weeks. Car seats are heavy. If you need to make a trip alone with your baby, leave the car seat in your car and carry only your baby.

 

Avoid driving until your incision is well healed. Lifting your foot from the gas to the brake pedal contracts your stomach muscles. You will want to be sure you can do this without hesitation before you resume driving.

 

Be patient with yourself. Your recovery will take time but you will eventually be able to return to your former level of fitness. Continue with short walks but avoid strenuous exercise for at least six weeks. Check with your healthcare provider before resuming your fitness regime.

 

Sexual intercourse

After a C-section, you should be physically ready to resume sexual intercourse in about 6 weeks. You may or may not be emotionally ready at that time. It is normal to feel tired and “touched out” with the demands of caring for a newborn. Discuss with your partner what is right for you.

 

It is normal for breastfeeding women to have decreased vaginal secretions. Using a water-based lubricant may help intercourse to be more comfortable.

 

You may need to be creative with positioning to find one that is comfortable for you, not putting too much pressure on your incision.

Pregnancy can occur before you have had your first menstrual period. Speak to your healthcare provider about methods of family planning and choose one that is right for you.

 

Recovery after a C-section takes time and will vary from mother to mother. Women who have gone through labor prior to their C-section will need more recovery time than those with a planned C-section. Try to be patient with your body throughout this healing time and take advantage of any help offered.

 

Other related posts you may enjoy: New Baby? 11 Ways to Cope with Sleep Deprivation and Nutrition for New Moms.


IMG_9687 4

Cindy and Jana are Registered Nurses and International Board Certified Lactation Consultants who have assisted over 20,000 families.

2 comments

 

vag-delivery-compressed

 

Vaginal Birth Recovery: Answers to Top 10 Questions

 

 

 

csectiondeliverycompressed

 

Answers to the Top 10 Questions after a Cesarean Birth

 

 

 

c-section-recovery-compressed

 

C-section Recovery Guide

 

 

 

bleedingafterbirththumbnail-150x150

 

Bleeding After Birth: What’s Normal and What’s Not

 

 

 

coping-with-sleep-deprivation-compressed

 

Coping with Sleep Deprivation

 

 

 

fatiguecompressed

 

New Mom Fatigue

 

 

 

depression-compressed

 

What You Need to Know about Postpartum Depression and Anxiety

 

 

 

Tamaras-story-compressed

 

Postpartum Depression Recovery: Tamara’s Story

 

 

 

copingin-newbornperiod-compressed

 

6 Tips for Surviving the Newborn Period

 

 

 

siblings-compressed

 

10 Tips to Help Baby’s Siblings Adjust

 

 

 

sexafterbabywithborder

 

Sex after Baby

 

 

 

motherhood-myths-compressed

 

8 Myths of Motherhood

 

 

 

exercisecompressed

 

How to Fit in Exercise as a New Mom

 

 

 

does-not-go-as-planned-compressed

 

When Breastfeeding Does Not Go as Planned

 

 

 

depression-weaning-compressed

 

Depression after Weaning

 

 

 

nutrition-for-new-moms-compressed

 

Nutrition for New Moms

 

 

 

truths-about-ppd-compressed

 

12 Truths About Postpartum Depression and Anxiety

 

 

 

Comments Off on Mom’s Recovery Posts comments

Baby’s “Days and Nights Mixed-Up”

Help! My newborn baby sleeps all day and won’t sleep at night. I am exhausted. What can I do?

 

If your new baby seems to have his days and nights mixed up, you are in good company. Newborns are notorious for being sleepy in the day but awake and feeding often at night. If we had a magic solution for this ‘problem’ we could be rich!

 

Why do newborns wake more often at night?
  • New babies don’t understand the difference between night and day. They will need time to learn.
  • Background noise in the day may lull baby to sleep. A newborn is used to the sounds of your womb, your heart beating, your bowels gurgling as well as muffled sounds from the outside world. The quiet of night time may feel foreign.
  • Newborn tummies are tiny; they need to breastfeed often to feed their growing brain.
  • Frequent night waking prevents babies from entering deep sleep. According to respected infant sleep researcher, Dr. James McKenna, this lowers their risk of SIDS.

 

While it may seem like an eternity, the stage of mixed up days and nights will eventually pass (usually by the time your baby is a month old).

 

How to to ease your baby into a more adult friendly sleeping pattern:

 

  • Wake baby frequently for feeds during the day.

Newborns breastfeed at least 8 or 10 times in a 24-hour period. Sleeping for long stretches during the day inevitably means more frequent feeding at night. Try waking baby to feed at least every 2 or 3 hours during the day.

 

  • Keep lights on and shades open.

The light patterns that affect adult sleep may also affect babies. Open your curtains during the day; leave the lights on. At night, try to do feeds and diaper changes by the glow of a night-light.

 

  • Interact during the day but be “boring” at night.

Talk, sing, and play with your baby throughout the day. At night, try to be calm, quiet and “boring”. Speak softly, in soothing tones, while you change, feed and burp.

 

  • Start a bedtime routine.

A bedtime routine can help your baby to know it is time for sleep. You could include a bath, a bedtime story, a massage or lullaby music.

 

  • Do not limit daytime noise.

Try not to limit daytime noise. Don’t worry about the doorbell. Leave the television on. Play music. At night, keep noise levels low. “White noise” may be soothing, reminding your baby of the womb. You could try a fan (not blowing on your baby) or quiet radio static.

 

Caution:

Some parents try to keep their baby awake during the day in the hope they will sleep at night. This may have the opposite effect as baby may become over stimulated. An over stimulated baby will be fussier throughout the day, as well as the night.

 

This period of mixed up days and nights won’t last forever. We promise! Every baby is different. Be patient as yours adjusts to life in the outside world.

 

Does your newborn baby sleeps all day and won’t sleep at night. Feel like the days and nights are mixed up These tips will help. CindyandJana.com

 

Learn more about newborns in these posts: Should I Wake my Newborn to Feed and 11 Ways to Cope with Sleep Deprivation.

*Header photo courtesy of Flickr: abardwell.


 

IMG_9687 4

About the authors:

Cindy and Jana are Registered Nurses and International Board Certified Lactation Consultants who have assisted over 20,000 families.

Download their app NuuNest – Newborn Nurse Answers and Baby Tracking for expert guidance through the first crucial weeks after childbirth.

 

1 comments

Although much of your time will be spent caring for baby, it is important to take time to care for yourself.

Vaginal Birth Recovery: Answers to Top 10 Questions

Answers to the Top 10 Questions after a Cesarean Birth

Bleeding After Birth: What’s Normal and What’s Not

Tips for Coping in the Newborn Period

Coping with Sleep Deprivation

New Mom Fatigue

Nutrition for New Moms

C-section: Guide to Recovery

A list of posts about recovery from childbirth

Comments Off on Mom’s Recovery from Birth comments

Tired? How to Know When it is More Than Just Fatigue

 

There is no doubt about it; the first few weeks with a new baby are tiring! In addition to recovering from birth, you have a new baby requiring 24 hour a day care.

It is normal to feel tired for several weeks after having a baby. Sometimes, however, an underlying medical issue can compound the fatigue.

 

Red flags:

  • Feeling excessively tired for more than 6 weeks after baby’s birth.
  • Fatigue prevents you from doing everyday activities.
  • Friends or family members notice your low energy level and voice their concern.

 

If you are experiencing one or more of these red flags, please consult your healthcare provider. The cause of your fatigue should be investigated.

New mom fatigue or more than just fatigue

Potential causes of excessive fatigue:

 

1.  Anemia

Losing a lot of blood during delivery can result in anemia or “low hemoglobin”. In addition to feeling exhausted, an anemic mom may feel overwhelmed, irritable, dizzy or unable to concentrate.

What helps?

  • Resting. It will take time to rebuild your hemoglobin.
  • Taking prenatal vitamins. The extra iron they contain will help to boost your hemoglobin. Iron is better absorbed when taken with a source of Vitamin C (e.g. orange juice). Caffeine interferes with iron absorption so avoid drinking tea or coffee within 1 hour of your vitamin pill.
  • Eating iron rich food. Great sources include:

            – Red meats

            – Egg yolks

            – Poultry

            – Dark green leafy vegetables

            – Iron enriched cereal

           –  Dried fruit (such as prunes and raisins)

            – Nuts

            – Beans, lentils, chickpeas and soybeans

           –  Liver

Note: If your hemoglobin level is quite low, your healthcare provider may suggest iron tablets.

 

2.  Underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism)

Excessive fatigue can be a sign of an underactive thyroid. Talk to your healthcare provider about having your thyroid level tested. An underactive thyroid can be treated with medication.

 

3.  Postpartum depression

Excessive fatigue can also be a symptom of postpartum depression. Learn more about the difference between normal new mom stress and postpartum depression in this excellent article by Katherine Stone.

 

If you or your loved ones are concerned about your level of fatigue, please talk to your healthcare provider. Early treatment will mean a quicker recovery and more energy to care for your new baby.

 

 

Other posts that may be helpful: 11 Ways to Cope with Sleep Deprivation and Nutrition Necessities for New Moms


IMG_9687 4

About the authors:

Cindy and Jana are Registered Nurses and International Board Certified Lactation Consultants who have assisted over 20,000 families.

Download their app NuuNest – Newborn Nurse Answers and Baby Tracking for expert guidance through the first crucial weeks after childbirth.

Photo courtesy of Flickr: RelaxingMusic

7676645672_1a5a13ec48_m

1 comments