There is no denying that caring for a newborn can be extremely exhausting. It can be challenging trying to figure out how to manage getting enough sleep, especially the first few weeks after bringing your newborn home. Between the numerous feedings, baby care, sleep deprivation, and monitoring your postpartum health, you may be wondering how you are going to survive the postpartum fatigue! You're not alone in this fourth-trimester struggle.
Even though it is common for the focus to be on the new baby, we're trying to help raise awareness that there should be a focus on women's health issues too, especially during the first six weeks of postpartum. It's important for new mothers to take care of themselves, too! There are many tips that can help you kick exhaustion to the curb.
1. Let Family and Friends Help
Many moms try to do it all and want to be “Super Mom." You may be less than thrilled to have your mother-in-law, for example, staying with you for several weeks, but accept the help that is offered because it will make a huge difference. Any extra help will allow you to sneak in power naps and get the rest you will need.
2. Nap as Much as Possible
We're guessing you've heard the saying "sleep when the baby sleeps" one too many times, but as unrealistic as it may seem, getting sleep (whenever you can get it) will be the best form of self-care and have a noticeable impact on your well-being when you're battling postpartum sleep deprivation. Newborns sleep around 16 hours a day for about 3 to 4 hours at a time. Understandably, you may want to use those chunks of time for other things that need to be done, but the more naps you're able to squeeze in, the better you'll feel.
3. Eat Well, Stay Hydrated, and Exercise
- If you are not eating well, your body will not be receiving the vitamins it needs and your energy will suffer. We love this online tool from the US Department of Agriculture that suggests healthy meal plans based on your unique breastfeeding needs.
- Keep yourself hydrated. It is especially important that you are eating well and remain properly hydrated if you are nursing.
- You will also have more energy if you are able to do some form of exercise. Take it easy, especially as you're recovering from giving birth, but as you're feeling up for it, going on walks can boost your energy levels.
4. Monitor Your Mental Health
During the first few months postpartum, it's normal to experience tiredness, a dip in energy levels, and other fatigue symptoms, especially when your baby's sleep patterns aren't established and they want to breastfeed throughout the night, however, keep an eye out to make sure you're not experiencing depressive symptoms. Postpartum depression (PPD) is one of the most common health problems for postpartum women. If you think you may be experiencing PPD, please reach out to your healthcare provider. The postpartum period is hard enough on its own, but help is available.
5. Let Someone Else Feed the Baby
If you pump breast milk ahead of time, someone else can feed your little one while you get some rest. To check your eligibility for a free breast pump, fill out our Qualify Through Insurance Form today and let us take care of the rest! Once you have submitted your insurance information, one of our Specialists will verify your insurance and will let you know what your free and upgrade breast pump options are. You're eligible to apply at any point during pregnancy and your first year postpartum.
6. Hire Assistance If You Can
These options may not be feasible for everyone, but if they are an option for you, they can help reduce your maternal fatigue. You may feel like you need to be on top of everything – but this is a difficult time, and try to remember to cut yourself some slack! While you're recovering, especially in the first few weeks, you may want to consider having groceries or meals delivered to your house.
- If housework piles up (and perhaps your partner/family members aren't keeping up with everything the way you'd like), you can either hire a cleaning service until you're more adjusted or, take a deep breath and remember in the long run, it doesn't really matter. All that matters right now is taking care of your baby and your mental and physical health.
- Did you know in addition to offering a mom postpartum and breastfeeding support, a Postpartum Doula can help with errands, light housework, and taking care of other family members’ needs?
- Probably the least applicable but one of the most helpful resources we've heard of: hire a night nurse. How much this costs depends on your location and their experience, and ranges from $25/hour to $75/hour. If this is an option for you – get that sleep, mama! And then please buy our coffee when you see us in line, struggling to hold our eyelids open.
And remember, this new mom exhaustion won’t last forever. You’re doing your best, and that’s more than enough!
Information provided in blogs should not be used as a substitute for medical care or consultation.