How to Cope With Postpartum Fatigue

13 Tips for Fighting Exhaustion After Having a Baby

Woman sleeping with her baby sleeping beside her
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Fatigue is a state of extreme tiredness or exhaustion. When you feel fatigued, you may also feel weak, weary, sleepy, or dizzy. Postpartum fatigue is the exhaustion new mothers experience after having a baby. Many things can cause exhaustion. The most common reasons for postpartum fatigue are doing too much, and not getting enough sleep.

13 Tips for Fighting Exhaustion After Having a Baby

Some amount of sleep deprivation is normal for all new moms. But, extreme fatigue can impair your judgment and make it more difficult, or even dangerous, to care for your child. Exhaustion can also get in the way of successful breastfeeding. Not only can it make you feel like giving up on breastfeeding, but it can also lead to a low breast milk supply and mastitis (a breast infection). For these reasons, it's so important to try to prevent fatigue right from the start. Here are 13 tips for combating fatigue and boosting your energy after having a baby.

  1. Get as much rest as you can. Try to take a nap when your baby naps and head to bed as early as possible.
  2. When it's time to breastfeed, get as comfortable as you can. Sit with your feet up, or breastfeed in the side-lying or laid-back nursing position.
  3. If you have to care for other children, it's OK to ask friends and family members for help.
  4. Ask your partner to help with household chores and older children, too.
  5. If you can afford it, consider hiring someone to help with the housework.
  6. If you don't have any help, let the housework go for a while. You can catch up when you're feeling up to it.
  7. Limit guests and visitors if you're not up to entertaining. If you have friends and family that can visit and help out with the house or watch the baby while you nap, that's great. But, if you have visitors that you have to cook for and care for in addition to everything else, then it's OK to ask them not to come until you're feeling better.
  8. Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet to keep your energy level up. You'll also need extra calories if you're breastfeeding, so include some high-protein snacks throughout the day.
  1. Get enough fluids and stay hydrated. However, avoid drinking too much caffeine.
  2. Keep taking your prenatal vitamins.
  3. Ask your doctor if it's safe to start some light exercise. Exercise can help boost your energy level and your mood. Even just a short walk with the stroller out in the fresh air can feel good. But, don't overdo it, or it can make you feel even more tired.
  4. Try brewer's yeast. This nutritional supplement is used to help fight fatigue and the baby blues. It is also believed to increase the supply of breast milk.
  5. Try to remember that the newborn period doesn't last too long. As your baby gets older and begins to sleep for longer periods, you should be able to get more rest.    

When To Call The Doctor

If you are finding it difficult to fight off fatigue, and you continue to have no energy even with good nutrition and rest, it's time to contact the doctor. Your doctor can examine you to determine if something else is causing your symptoms.  Other causes of fatigue include: 

A Word from Verywell

As a new mom, it's only natural to feel tired in the postpartum period. Healing from childbirth, taking care of a newborn, producing breast milk, and breastfeeding every 2 to 3 hours throughout the day and night, requires a lot of energy. Now, on top of all that, add taking care of a home, other children, and work responsibilities, and there's no question as to why you might become overwhelmed and exhausted. But, there are ways to deal with fatigue and boost your energy. It's OK to ask for help and take some time for yourself. When you give yourself permission to take care of yourself, eat right, and get enough rest, you'll feel refreshed, ready, and able to take care of your newborn and your family that much better. 

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Article Sources
  • American Academy of Pediatrics. New Mother’s Guide To Breastfeeding. Bantam Books. New York. 2011.
  • Amir Lisa H. and The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine Protocol Committee. ABM Clinical Protocol #4: Mastitis. Breastfeeding Medicine. June 2014, 9(5): 239-243.
  • Lawrence, Ruth A., MD, Lawrence, Robert M., MD.  Breastfeeding A Guide For The Medical Profession Eighth Edition. Elsevier Health Sciences. 2015.