Tired & Exhausted During Breastfeeding: Causes and Remedies

Fatigue During Breastfeeding – Reasons and Natural Ways to Treat

Medically Reviewed By
Shruti Kanchan (Lactation Specialist)
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The whole mommy business is not that easy, and it may seem like a herculean task if you have recently entered into this phase. You may feel exhausted and wonder what may be the reasons behind that. Well, one of the reasons could be tending to the breastfeeding needs of your baby around the clock. If this is true, then you may be able to relate more to the following article as we discuss what exactly causes fatigue during breastfeeding and how you can effectively handle it.

Can Breastfeeding Make You Tired?

If you are thinking that it is all in your mind and you may be simply overreacting, the answer is no; it is not so because breastfeeding may actually make you feel tired and exhausted. In order to make milk, your body uses 25 percent of its energy, and this may make you feel exhausted. You may roughly be losing out some 1000 calories a day just by feeding a baby, and believe it or not, it is a lot of hard work.

What Causes Fatigue During Breastfeeding?

If you have your thinking caps on to know why breastfeeding makes you tired, following are some causes that may help you understand better:

1. Inadequate Sleep

It is very important to have at least 5-6 hours of uninterrupted sleep for your body to function effectively. But this may seem impossible after the first few months of your baby’s birth as you may have to keep waking up at night to feed, change, or simply soothe your crying baby. This may hamper your sleep and lead to extreme fatigue.

2. Not Eating Properly

A breastfeeding mom not only needs extra calories but these calories should come from healthy food items, such as fresh fruits, vegetables, dairy, meat, etc. and not from unhealthy and junk food items. This is because food with more sugar and fat may not only provide insufficient nutrition, but they may make you feel more sluggish.

3. Anaemia

If you are experiencing extreme tiredness and fatigue, then the reason could be anaemia too. This is because you may lose blood due to childbirth, which may make you more susceptible to anaemia. You may need to add iron supplements to your diet to overcome your iron deficiency.

4. Thyroid Issues

Your thyroid levels may take a toll after childbirth and may lead to a condition called hyperthyroidism. This condition may lead to insomnia and that in turn may cause fatigue.

5. Breast Problems

A newbie-mommy may be very prone to breast problems such as mastitis, breast engorgement, etc. Some of these conditions may lead to pain, fever, breast tenderness, etc., and make you feel very tired. You should seek immediate medical attention under such circumstances.

Breast Problems

Home Remedies for Overcoming Tiredness While Breastfeeding

Following are some of the home remedial measures that you may effectively use to overcome tiredness while breastfeeding:

1. You Should Exercise

How can exercise overcome tiredness? Well, when you exercise, there is a boost in the secretion of endorphins which will make you feel more energised. Exercising also increases oxygen levels in your blood. Remember, only start exercising once your doctor gives the go-ahead as your body should recover from childbirth.

2. You Should Drink Adequate Water

The major component of breast milk is water. Thus, the production of breast milk requires a lot of water, and if you do not drink ample amounts of water, you may get dehydrated. Dehydration may lead to lethargy and tiredness. Therefore, you should keep drinking water or other fluids such as fruit juices, milk, soups, etc., to pep up your body’s fluid requirements.

You Should Drink Adequate Water

3. You Should Eat Healthy Foods

In order to help your body feel healthy and energised, you should consume a well-balanced and healthy diet. You should include more protein-rich foods as they help in boosting the energy levels of the body. Fibre-rich food, such as fresh fruits, green vegetables, and whole grains do the trick, too. Therefore, make them a part of your regular diet.

What Foods Should Breastfeeding Mothers Eat to Regain Energy?

Here are some ways to regain energy and combat fatigue during breastfeeding.

1. Include Oatmeal in Your Diet

Oatmeal is loaded with magnesium, phosphorus, protein and vitamin B1 and this energy-boosting food is great to keep fatigue at bay. It also contains glycogen, a type of carbohydrate that is beneficial in keeping the muscles and brain functioning effectively all through the day.

2. Sip Green Tea

Green tea is very effective in helping you feel energised and refreshed. The presence of polyphenols helps in improving mental focus and reduces stress. Green tea is also beneficial in pepping up your metabolism and thus keeping various infections and ailments at bay.

Sip Green Tea

3. Include Banana in Your Diet

Banana is known as an instant source of energy because it is rich in potassium that helps the body convert sugar into energy. It also has a good dose of natural sugars such as fructose, glucose and sucrose that aids to provide energy to the body. Apart from this, banana is also rich in protein, carbohydrates, vitamin B, vitamin C, fibre, omega-3 fatty acids, etc., which help in eliminating the feeling of fatigue and tiredness.

4. Add Some Yoghurt to Your Diet

Yoghurt is a good source of proteins, carbohydrates and probiotics, and all these may prove to be effective in dealing with any kind of tiredness. You may either consume unflavoured yoghurt or, if you like to add flavour, you may add some chopped fruits too. It is great for digestion and keeps it functioning effectively.

When to Consult the Doctor

If you have made all the possible efforts to control and cure your breastfeeding fatigue, but you still find it difficult to get over it, we recommend that you seek medical help for the same. It may be because of some underlying medical condition or any kind of nutritional deficiency. If you have symptoms of conditions such as mastitis, breast engorgement, etc., your doctor may advise you medication for the same. However, if the fatigue is due to nutritional deficiencies, your doctor may prescribe you supplements accordingly. In some cases, postpartum OCD, postpartum depression and other such mental ailments may cause fatigue, too. Talk to a doctor if you feel any abnormal symptoms, or you are not able to manage your fatigue.

You may find yourself struggling with your newly found responsibilities after the birth of your baby, and it is absolutely normal for you to feel tired and fatigued. You will be able to overcome all of this in some time; however, if you feel that you are getting too exhausted and are often low on energy, you may take your doctor’s guidance to manage your condition better.

Also Read: Nausea While Breastfeeding

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