Finding time for more rest
Making time for a little R&R—even if it’s just grabbing a few minutes for yourself here and there—is good not only for you but also for your baby. You’re a more attentive mom when rested and refreshed. Here are tips for combating lack of sleep, fatigue, and stress:
Seize every napping moment
When the opportunity arises to take a nap, take it. Try to nap when your baby naps. Ask your significant other, a friend, or a relative to sit with the baby (and your other children) while you sleep for an hour or two.
Eat small, frequent meals throughout the day
This will help keep your energy level up. For fatigue-fighting snacks pair fruits, vegetables, or whole grains with a little protein (such as peanut butter, reduced-fat cheese, low-fat milk, nuts, or tuna). Also make sure your daily diet includes plenty of iron-rich foods such as red meat, iron-fortified cereal, spinach, lentils, kidney beans, and liver.
Steer clear of caffeine
An occasional coffee or caffeinated soda may give you the boost you need to stay alert, but don’t overuse caffeine as an energy crutch. Too much caffeine can keep you (and your breastfed baby) awake at night.
Make time for exercise early in the day
Exercise is a great stress-buster. Take your baby for a walk, join a postpartum exercise class, or pop in an exercise DVD. Make sure you check with your doctor before starting any exercise program. If you’re trying to get back into an exercise routine, schedule your workout in the morning, when it will give you an energy boost. Late-afternoon or evening workouts may make it difficult to fall asleep.
If you’re breastfeeding, keep some breastmilk in the refrigerator
With a reserve supply of expressed breastmilk, your significant other (or a willing friend) can feed the baby while you rest.
Divide the duties
Stress may be a by-product of fatigue or a symptom of trying to do too much. Let your partner, other family members, or friends temporarily take over some duties.
Don’t try to entertain
Don’t be afraid to limit visitors during the first weeks at home with your newborn. Put her announcement on your answering machine and let the machine handle most callers. Ask potential visitors to call ahead.