There’s no tiredness like a new mom tired. The days are busy, the nights are often sleepless, and there’s always so much to do. Stanford Medicine Children’s Health states that the typical newborn wakes up every 3 hours to be fed, changed, or comforted. For new moms, this massive shift in their lifestyle and their sleep patterns—or lack thereof–takes major adjustment. Many common go-to’s used to combat the lack of energy can actually backfire.
Lifestyle changes are usually not quick fixes—they are improvements in all areas of a new mom’s life that can help them feel better and provide lasting energy that can fuel them through the tiring days and long nights.
Here are eight ways that new moms in need of more energy can make meaningful changes to their lifestyle:
8 Hydrate Frequently
Staying hydrated is a simple way to keep your body healthy. A NBC news article focusing on the benefits of drinking water confirms:
“…dehydration can manifest as fatigue or low energy, so staying hydrated will help prevent that.”
When we first start to feel thirsty, our body is already slightly dehydrated. It’s important to keep water accessible throughout the day, during meals, and even next to our bed at night. Juice or milk are acceptable alternatives, but water is still the best option.
According to The Australian Parenting Website, It’s recommended for women to drink 8 cups of water per day and men to aim for 10 cups of water per day. There are also foods with a high-water content like watermelon, cucumbers, or water-satiating foods such as oatmeal.
7 Limit Sugar
Sugar is a sneaky solution for a quick energy boost that many new moms reach for—until they crash. Sugary drinks and snacks seem like a simple way to get more energy, but this often backfires because after consuming sugar or simple carbohydrates, our blood sugar levels drop lower than normal. This means that after the initial sugar high wears off your body will feel even more tired than it was before.
If it seems counter-productive, it is. Instead, reach for some fruit that has natural sugars and will not cause your blood sugar levels to crash the way that starchy carbs or processed sugars will.
6 Allow Yourself to Rest
There’s never a shortage of things to do as a new mom, but not every second of the day needs to be productive. By making rest a necessary part of the day, precious energy can be conserved for the times it’s really needed. Constantly expending energy without preserving it can be draining.
A new mom’s body needs adequate rest as it heals and transforms during the postpartum period and beyond. By taking the time to properly care for yourself, you’re caring for your new baby, too. A well-rested mother is more patient, alert, and happy. Your baby deserves that version of you.
5 Seek Out The Sunshine
The vitamin D that our body gets from the sun provides a variety of health benefits. One perk shared by WebMD is that natural sunlight boosts the chemical serotonin in the brain, which helps people stay calm and focused, and provides additional energy. It’s still important to be safe while soaking up some sunshine, like using sunscreen and limiting exposure.
But sunlight is a natural way for our body to recognize daytime hours as the time to utilize our internal energy sources. Try walking outdoors or being active in the yard, even taking phone calls while absorbing some of the sun’s rays.
4 Focus on Whole Foods
It was mentioned earlier how sugary treats and simple carbohydrates like white kinds of pasta and bread can cause a decrease in energy because of the blood sugar level crash that occurs after consumption, but not all carbohydrates are bad. In fact, it’s your body’s preferred energy source. Optimally processed complex carbohydrates like:
Wheat- or bean-based pasta
Whole grain bread
These options contain protein and fiber which, according to Insider.com, make them less likely to cause your blood sugar levels to crash. Consuming adequate amounts of protein and healthy fats also help you to feel full longer and provide your body with essential vitamins and nutrients.
Good health begins with good food, and this helps your overall energy levels to stay at an ideal level.
3 Prioritize Sleep
Sleep is hard to come by when there’s a newborn in the house—which is why you have to fight for it. It can be tempting to reclaim the parts of life we enjoyed pre-baby, such as binging Netflix or scrolling social media until all hours of the night, but sleep is vital to our health.
It may not always be possible to “sleep when the baby sleeps”, but when sleep is an option, new moms should take the opportunity–no matter how few and far between they may come. The less sleep we get, the less energy we have, and vice versa. Getting more sleep will naturally improve low energy levels.
2 Digitally Detox
Being on our phones can be physically and mentally draining. Not only does the comparison between our life and someone else’s highlight reel take a toll on our mental health, but it can also prevent someone from being content with their own life. Stress can drain energy, so it’s important to eliminate external factors that may be causing our body or mind stress.
Taking a digital detox to be present and free up the time that we’d normally spend scrolling our social media feeds can be both an energy and mood booster.
1 Move Your Body with Intention
We’ve all heard this before: A body in motion stays in motion. We hear it often because it’s true! The more energy we burnally intentionally, the more rested we can become. When we’re well-rested, we have more energy. The science behind it, according to The Mayo Clinic, is that exercise allows our cardiovascular system to work more efficiently by delivering oxygen and nutrients to the tissues in our body. Improved heart and lung health allows tasks to be done without consuming as much of the body’s energy.
Plus, exercise releases endorphins naturally into your body—the mood-boosting hormone. Win-win!
Making these lifestyle changes can help anyone naturally increase their body’s energy. Most of all, it will help new moms feel better and healthier. If these changes don’t make a difference and energy levels are still low, there could be health-related reasons that should be checked out by a doctor. It’s important to feel good in order to do good; There’s no one that does better than a mom.
Sources: Stanford Medicine Children’s Health, NBC News, The Australian Parenting Website,The Mayo Clinic, WebMD, Insider.com