Feeling Tired After Birth? Get Relief!
By Kristyn Kusek Lewis for Baby + You
“No doubt about it, being a mom is exhausting,” says Martha Davis, author of The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook. If you’re feeling tired after birth and don’t think you can squeeze a single drop of energy out of your sapped self, try these feel-better-fast healthy mom tips:
Healthy Mom Energy Strategy: Diet
- Keep up the protein. “Don’t skimp on protein; it’s what sustains energy,” says Cynthia Sass, R.D., M.P.H., a registered dietitian and spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. For an energy boost, try no-preparation-required protein snacks like cottage cheese, a golf ball–sized serving of nuts like almonds or pecans, or string cheese.
- Cut back on caffeine. Your energy crashes once the caffeine high fades. Have no more than a cup of coffee, or two sodas, a day.
- Eat often. If you go more than four hours without food, you’re not eating frequently enough to maintain energy. Pack portable snacks and drinks in your diaper bag so you can snack every couple of hours.
Healthy Mom Energy Strategy: Sleep
- Grab sleep when you can. “The average new mom gets four to six hours of sleep a night,” says Lauren Broch, Ph.D., director of education at the Sleep-Wake Disorders Center in White Plains, N.Y. But the optimum snooze time for adults is seven to eight hours. Make up for missed sleep by sharing an afternoon nap with your baby.
- Practice good sleep habits. Doing anxiety-inducing activities (like paying bills) right before you hit the sack can affect your ability to fall asleep. Wind down a few minutes before bed by reading something that relaxes you, meditating or stretching.
Healthy Mom Energy Strategy: Make Time for You
- Get moving. Exercise may be the best energy-booster around. If a full workout seems too time-consuming, take a walk around the block, or turn on your stereo and dance while you do housework.
- Sneak in adult stuff. When your days are filled with kid-centered activities, rejuvenate your spirit with simple things you love. Sing along (loudly!) to your favorite CD while you drive to the bank, or do the crossword in the newspaper while your baby eats breakfast.
- Relax! You might not have time to join a yoga class or learn the art of Zen meditation, but you can burn off stress and get energized with simple relaxation techniques. Try deep breathing when you’re stuck at a red light, or enjoy a great cat stretch while you’re on hold with the pediatrician’s office.
- Take time to create time. If you’re constantly frazzled, you’re probably exhausted too. Take five minutes and organize your schedule each morning. Prioritize the day’s activities and decide what can be pushed until tomorrow. This simple exercise will help you move through the day in a more relaxed, contented state.
Kristyn Kusek Lewis has written for Redbook, Good Housekeeping, Parenting, Parents and The New York Times.