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If breastfeeding feels like the last mile of a marathon, it’s not just the act of breastfeeding that is the issue. There mostly are underlying factors that are contributing to the ‘tiredness.’

The decision to breastfeed your baby is one of the many decisions you’ll have to make as a new mom. The benefits of breastfeeding cannot be over-emphasized.

Nutritionally, breast milk contains all the nutrients your baby needs to grow for the first six months of his life. Breast milk is flooded with antibodies that help build your baby’s immunity.

Why does breastfeeding make you sleepy?

If you always struggle to stay awake during breastfeeding, you are in good company. Here’s why it may seem like breastfeeding is causing drowsiness:

Hormones

Pregnancy and motherhood come with a barrage of hormones. Those hormones are still present in the body for a while after delivery.

The hormone prolactin is released right after birth to signal your body to start producing milk. Suckling also induces the production of prolactin, which enables milk let-down.

Guess what else prolactin does? It makes you tired.

I used to doze off so many times when breastfeeding that I once almost dropped the baby. I resulted to propping him on a breastfeeding pillow for comfort and safety.

In addition to protect my baby from falling, I’d also breastfeed on a comfortable chair or the bed when I felt drowsier.

Prolactin is a natural way of telling new moms that rest is essential. Obey mother-nature, mommy.

Postpartum fatigue

Are you running around so much that the only time you sit is when breastfeeding? Motherhood is synonymous with sleep deprivation.

Midnight feeds, colic, unusual sleep patterns leading to a baby who just won’t stop crying leaves you perpetually zonked. And if you’re exclusively breastfeeding, the baby’s demands to be fed may drive you up the wall. 

If breastfeeding makes you tired, the moment the boob hits the baby’s mouth, you may just be exhausted out of your mind, and your body is giving you hints.

You’re not eating and drinking right

Breastfeeding sucks the energy out of you. You’re literary giving parts of yourself to a sometimes ravenous little being that is growing exponentially.

Therefore, you should be diligently replenishing the energy and nutrients that the baby is taking from your body. A healthy diet keeps you energized and gives your baby all the nutrients he needs. It’s a win-win.

Simple carbohydrates and sugars give you a quick and energy spike. However, you go back to feeling weary and hungry much faster, especially after breastfeeding.

Soft drinks and carbonated drinks are also a recipe for fatigue for a breastfeeding mother.

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Include complex carbohydrates in your diet. These take longer to digest and keep you feeling fuller for longer. Most complex carbohydrates have vitamin B complex, which is ideal for the baby’s developing nervous system.

Proteins must also be a part of your diet. They are slow-digesting, thus keep you from feeling hungry. Nibble on nutritious snacks such as nuts, whole grains, and cereals.

Drink plenty of water and keep away from caffeinated drinks, which make you feel lethargic. Natural juices are also recommended.

Go easy on the dairy products and spicy foods as they are known to cause colic in breastfeeding babies.

Tips to avoid feeling tired when breastfeeding

Find a comfortable place and position

Comfort is critical when breastfeeding. An uncomfortable posture will leave your already tired back and arms hurting.

Get a breastfeeding chair with a well-set backrest and armrests. A breastfeeding pillow is an invaluable asset in your breastfeeding journey. Make sure you’re well settled and comfortable before latching the baby on the breast. 

Select a room that is quiet and with good lighting to breastfed the baby. Nursing is also time for you to bond with the baby. Too many distractions will prevent the baby from feeding properly. It will also mess up your bonding.

Learn how to latch the baby to the breast properly

Improper latching is the primary cause of most mothers’ breastfeeding woes. If the baby does not latch correctly, the result is cracked nipples, a baby who is still hungry, and a mother who’s on her nerve’s end.

To properly latch the baby, let the baby open his mouth fully before putting in the nipple. When the baby has his mouth open, ensure that the whole nipple and the areola are inside the baby’s mouth.

You will know that he is appropriately latched if there are no sucking noises when he’s feeding.

Take a rest

Motherhood and sleep sound like antonyms. Getting adequate sleep for a new mom may feel like a far-away wish. It helps then to be deliberate about taking a rest. 

If the baby also falls asleep after feeding and burping, maximize at that time, and also take a nap. You may not even fall asleep, but just lying down helps you rejuvenate and refocus without the urgency to attend to the baby.

Resist the temptation to tick the boxes on your to-do list at this time. You’ll be grateful you went on mommy-hood recess for a minute.

Does breastfeeding make you tired?

Yes, it does, but it doesn’t have to. Breastfeeding is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your baby in their first months of life. Getting the hang of breastfeeding as a new mom can be a frustrating and painful affair.

Finally

Breastfeeding itself is an art whose intricacies you must master with time. So, the first few days may be awkward and possibly painful. It may take learning and unlearning many things. Do not be afraid to seek help and to ask questions.

When you know what not to do, you will avoid frustration for both you and the baby. Remember, babies don’t keep. Do not forget to enjoy the phase.

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