If caring for a newborn was an Olympic event, only the most elite athletes would qualify. These pick-me-ups for tired moms can help you feel better -- fast!
1. Kick Back
"Delegate the dish washing, meal prep and house cleaning to others while you recuperate from labor and delivery," says Cheryl Lovelady, Ph.D., R.D., professor of nutrition at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. "The first two weeks are critical for establishing milk supply, so use your time for nursing and taking naps."
2. Eat Well
Breastfeeding moms need up to 500 extra calories a day -- any less can sap your strength. Even if you're not nursing, it's easy to under-eat. "Women get so busy with their baby's care, they don't key into their own sense of hunger," says Lovelady. Eat small, healthy meals and snack often on fruits, veggies and lean protein foods.
3. Get Moving
Once you're past the recovery stage (about six weeks postpartum), gradually increase your activity to at least 30 minutes of brisk walking or other aerobic exercise every day. Add yoga or resistance training twice a week to tone your muscles and strengthen your bones.
4. Make Sleep a Priority
Excessive fatigue is not due to just a lack of sleep, but also a lack of uninterrupted sleep, Lovelady notes. Ask your partner to help -- let him take over one night feeding, using pumped breast milk.