One thing I remember from being a new mom…fatigue! And not just a couple of days where I was a little bit more tired than usual, but real ‘can I just do everything from the bed’ kind of fatigue. My babies were both colicky. And when I kept reading about how all these experts said that colic wasn’t a real ‘thing’ I felt like inviting them over for a day or two of my life. As a matter of fact, when our first daughter started sleeping 4 straight hours a night, I said to my husband, “Perhaps it’s time to have another because I don’t think I can go back to experiencing a full night’s sleep only to have it snatched away again.” He thought I was crazy, but he obliged.
There are some real reasons for the mind-numbing fatigue that new moms experience:
- It takes 90 minutes to get into REM sleep, the type of sleep the affects the ability to learn and do complex tasks, so if you are being woken up by a baby every 1 ½ hours you are not likely to be able to get much REM sleep.
- People keep popping by to ‘help’ you and visit with the baby. The problem with these wonderful family and friends visiting you is that you end up feeling guilty for not having a clean house or a bountiful selection of goodies and drinks on hand for such a special visit. You know, because you are too tired to do it….
- Extra work! Even though you are not working outside of the home you are probably working harder than you ever have before. Just the amount of laundry, cleaning and baby care alone is enough to boggle the mind! And then there is that lack of sleep…
- Like it or not, your body is a slave to your hormones. Most of us equate the word ‘hormone’ with estrogen and progesterone but we have many hormones that regulate our body functions and they have diffuse effects that interact with each other. Right now your body is probably still in a hormonal flux. A lack of sleep isn’t helping!
There is good news, though…light at the end of the tunnel. Hope for the future…
Here are some strategies you can implement that will help get you back on track:
- Sleep whenever you can, but best sleep is to be had at night. If baby is waking up every 1 ½ hours to be fed, try cluster feeding leading up to bedtime. Not only does it fill baby’s tummy, but if you are breastfeeding it allows baby to access the hind milk which has more fat and will keep baby satisfied for longer.
- Instead of entertaining guests in a messy house, use the opportunity to take baby for a walk. Even better, plan to meet the visitor at a park or a beach so they don’t need to see your house at all. Plus, when the walk is over, the visit is over!
- The laundry is pretty much continuous. Laundry ‘day’ has turned into laundry ‘week’. Try putting a load in before dinner, transfer it to the dryer after dinner and fold it first thing in the morning. Don’t forget to put on some awesome music and dance while you are folding!
- The best way to decrease the impact of the hormonal changes is to get as much sleep as possible and eat well. this means consuming a diet higher in protein (more plant-based than animal-based), lower in processed carbohydrates and moderate in healthy fats. Don’t forget to do some physical activity each day! Walking is ideal at this stage.
The next blog post will delve more into how to ease back into fitness.
Please share any tips or tricks you may have for how you are coming Back to the Land of the Living!