Have you noticed that you are getting more tired since you started nursing? Does breastfeeding make you tired? What happens to your body during breastfeeding?
The body takes a lot of energy to produce breast milk. Breastfeeding moms usually require an additional 400-500 calories per day to make breast milk. This is the reason most breastfeeding moms experience increased hunger.
An important thing to be aware of is postpartum fatigue. It is significant to distinguish between being tired from breastfeeding and being tired because of postpartum fatigue. The two are not the same.
According to a study published in BMC Psychiatry, postpartum fatigue is associated with depression.
After giving birth, your body undergoes a lot, which is why it’s perfectly normal to feel exhausted. Insufficient rest after giving birth can cause postpartum fatigue, which can then lead to postpartum depression.
Every woman should be aware of postpartum depression since anyone can experience it.
Why does Breastfeeding make you Tired?
It is fair to say that motherhood can be exhausting regardless of how the baby is fed. You’re tired as a mother, but even more so for nursing moms.
As your child’s only nourishment source, you are more exhausted when you are awake every two hours for feedings, but is there another reason why you feel so tired if not from feeding your baby?
The hormone associated with breastfeeding may contribute to sleepiness. As you breastfeed, your body releases oxytocin, which has a calming effect that allows you to relax.
Mothers who are breastfeeding often feel sleepy during the feeding process. It’s not just that you’re tired from being up all night with your newborn that makes you sleepy.
The hormone prolactin signals your body to produce breast milk after you deliver your baby and placenta. This hormone, however, can make you sleepy.
Below are some reasons that can contribute to you feeling tired;
Fatigue and extreme tiredness could also be symptoms of anemia. A woman who has given birth may lose blood, making her more likely to develop anemia. To overcome your iron deficiency, you may need to add iron supplements to your diet.
2. Lack of sleep
Most if not all new moms are sleep deprived. Getting enough sleep is essential for your body to function properly. As a mother, you may have to wake up repeatedly in the night to feed your baby, change, or simply soothe your baby. You may become extremely fatigued as a result of poor sleep. You might find yourself often feeling drowsy during this time.
3. Problems with the Thyroid
Hyperthyroidism is a condition that may arise after childbirth and will affect your thyroid levels. Hyperthyroidism may induce insomnia, and fatigue may follow.
4. Inadequate nutrition
Not only do breastfeeding mothers need more calories, but these calories must also come from healthy sources, such as fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and meat, and not from unhealthy sources. In addition to causing you to feel sluggish, foods high in sugar and fat provide insufficient nutrition. It is important for a breastfeeding mom to pay attention to her hunger cues and not ignore them.
How to Boost your Energy while Breastfeeding?
Honor your hunger, and give your body nutritious food to keep it healthy. Prepare nutritious meals for yourself, if possible, otherwise, have your partner step in and help. Your body will need extra calories during this time.
Consider easy-to-prepare healthy meals that you can make in bulk so that you can freeze some to use later. Avoid eating foods that will spike your blood sugar.
If you are breastfeeding, make sure you continue taking your prenatal vitamin because your body needs many of those essential vitamins and minerals you require during pregnancy.
RELATED: Does Breastfeeding Make You Hungry?
Here are some ways you can boost your energy;
You can also help your body feel energized by working out. It is normal for new mothers not to feel like exercising. Most doctors recommend that you wait until your body has fully healed before you start exercising.
In the meantime, you can do safe and easy exercises such as walking. You and your baby will benefit from getting some fresh air if you take a walk together and it could also help with weight loss if needed.
Make an effort to sleep when your baby sleeps, even if you only nap for half an hour. Involve your partner by rotating who wakes up with the baby each night.
3. Husband’s Help
Alternatively, you can pump milk and leave it out for your husband to feed the baby so that you can get some sleep
Try to make your room as cozy as possible if your baby is sleeping in your room at night.
You may want to invest in some black-out curtains to keep the light out and help your baby distinguish between night and day.
White noise machines can help babies sleep. Listen to some relaxing or soothing music to help you and your baby relax
4. Seek Help
Reach out to friends and family or your neighbors for support while you do some household chores or go on errands.
You can easily become overwhelmed if you have a newborn, and trying to be a supermom can be exhausting and stressful. Seeking help would be a great way of reducing stress.
5. Drink Plenty of Water
It’s imperative to stay hydrated because hydration also improves energy levels.
Water makes up the majority of breast milk. Consequently, breast milk production requires a lot of water, and if you don’t drink enough water, you may become dehydrated.
Lethargy and fatigue may be caused by dehydration. Improve your water intake.
6. Join a Mom Group
Join a mom group, speak to a friend, or talk to someone about it. Talking to other moms and listening to their stories about how they deal with new babies and sharing mom hacks can be extremely helpful.
Breastfeeding and Muscle Weakness
It is also possible for breastfeeding to cause muscular weakness. An inadequate supply of vitamin D is likely to be responsible for this. It’s essential for strong muscles and bones. Women who breastfeed are particularly prone to vitamin D deficiency, which can lead to muscle weakness.
Vitamin D levels can be increased in several ways:
- All breastfeeding babies should receive a daily supplement of vitamin D to counteract any deficiency in their mother\’s milk, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- At your local pharmacy, you can easily find a vitamin D supplement if your levels are low.
- You can raise your vitamin D levels naturally by exposing your skin to the sun, as your skin is able to convert sunlight into vitamin D. Make sure you wear sunscreen.
- There are foods that are high in vitamin D, such as fatty fish, eggs, and fortified dairy products. It is imperative for a mom to pay attention to what she is eating while breastfeeding.
What’s Happening to your Body during Breastfeeding
- The body starts preparing to produce milk during pregnancy.
- The hormones estrogen, progesterone, oxytocin and prolactin are key to milk production.
- The hormones estrogen and progesterone cause the Alviola cells found in milk ducks to grow.
- Colostrum is yellow milk that is produced in the first days after birth as a result of contractions of the muscles around the Alviola during pregnancy.
- In addition to making more milk, prolactin and oxytocin increase when the baby is breastfed.
- These hormones can also calm the mother and cause her to want to be near her baby.
Despite recommendations to breastfeed, 60% of mothers do not continue because of a variety of factors that can affect their ability to do so.
1. Insufficient family support
2. Unhelpful hospital policies
3. Unsupportive workplace policies
4. No parental leave
Furthermore, there is no federal law mandating employers offer paid leave in the United States, thus, breastfeeding success can be prevented by a lack of resources and support.
Benefits of Breastfeeding or Baby
Breastfeeding protects against many conditions and diseases such as respiratory and urinary tract infections, type one and type two diabetes, lymphoma, and leukemia.
Other benefits include:
· Saves you money since it’s free
· Promotes bonding with your baby
· Breast milk contains antibodies that help the baby fight infections and bacteria
· Helps baby maintain a healthy weight
· Breastfeeding may reduce the risk of certain diseases
There is no doubt that breast milk is a great source of nutrition for babies
Does breastfeeding make you tired? There is definitely a lot to learn about breastfeeding, so talk to your friends and get their advice, and if you can, take a thorough breastfeeding class to learn everything that you’ll need to know.
Breastfeeding mothers will face obstacles such as going back to work or having a low milk supply.
Consult with your lactation consultant or a registered dietitian. They will help you with your breastfeeding journey.