For all the wonders that it does for our babies, breastfeeding certainly cops its fair share of flack. As a breastfeeding mother you’ve probably heard just about every negative statement possible, such as how breastfeeding gives you saggy boobs, stops you from losing any of the baby weight, and how it means your baby wakes more often through the night.
When we’re feeling tired, we often look to pinpoint these feelings on one culprit and unfortunately breastfeeding is an easy target. It’s something that uses up so much of our energy, and since we are feeding another little human with our milk, it’s no wonder that it gets the bad rap of an energy zapper. However, there are some things to consider about breastfeeding that might show you the light about why you could actually be tired.
You’re A Parent to A Baby
Sometimes we can get so caught up in finding the cause for our lack of energy, blaming everything from night feeds to a racing mind, that we forget we have the greatest excuse of all for being tired. Being a parent to a baby, whether it’s your first or fifth time, is by far the most mentally and physically demanding challenge of your life, so it’s normal to feel tired.
Be kind to yourself and remember you’re undertaking a huge task, so it’s perfectly fine to feel tired most days. Try to remind yourself that these days are very short and before you know it your baby will be grown, and the constant need for night feeds and round the clock comforting will be a distant memory, one that you’ll look back on fondly.
You’re Low in Iron
Sometimes, an iron deficiency can follow on from pregnancy and develop further leading to anaemia once your baby is born. If you feel exceptionally tired or find yourself prone to mastitis and nipple thrush, these can sometimes be symptoms of anaemia.
When in doubt, a simple blood test can be performed to check your iron levels, and you’ll be able to get some supplements from the chemist to give you a boost. The good news is your baby will always receive adequate iron from your breastmilk regardless of your low supply as they take what they need first, so there’s no need to worry about them also.
Breastfeeding Mothers Get More Sleep
You’ve probably heard many, many times about the mothers who swear their baby started sleeping through the night once a bottle of formula was introduced. Although this might be the case with some babies, there are also plenty of breastfed babies who sleep through the night from early on too; they just don’t receive as much airtime.
A recent study has shown that breastfeeding mothers get more sleep in the night than mothers of bottle fed babies, and it takes less time for them to fall asleep too. Simply knowing this information can be enough to give you a mental boost and keep you positive on your breastfeeding journey.
You Can Sleep On the Job
When it’s time to feed your bub, and you’re feeling particularly exhausted, there’s nothing stopping you from getting a relaxing lie down while you do so. Provided your baby is old enough to feed safely while lying down, you might prefer to use this method so you can relax as well.
There are plenty of diagrams available online for the best way to lie down and nurse which ensures safety for your baby, and you may find that you like it so much you want to incorporate it into your sleep each night. Many mothers co-sleep with their babies by following safety guidelines and find that they’re able to get much more rest when their little one can feed as they wish through the night.
Look for Support
As mothers, it can be incredibly hard to ask others for support in fear that we might be failing this job we were essentially born to do. However, being the sole provider of food and nourishment for another little person is no easy feat, so there’s never any shame in asking for help. Whether you’re feeling tired from being up in the night feeding or just noticing a lack of energy and think it might be something more, reach out to friends, family, and medical professionals to get the help you need.
Just because we’re mothers, it doesn’t mean we need to suffer in silence, as your family will only be as happy as you are. Breastfeeding isn’t always a walk in the park, but with a few tweaks and the right support, it can be one of the most fulfilling things you’ll ever do. For more advice on making the breastfeeding journey easy on yourself, we invite you to browse our Peachymama blog – it’s full of gems!