Find out how to boost your energy with these survival tips for those sleepless newborn days.
You’re sitting in the oh-so-comfy new glider, feet propped up on the ottoman, baby at your breast, a glowing moon outside your window, and nothing but the sound of breathing, gurgling, tiny swallows. The next thing you know, your head hangs closer and closer to your chest, you close your eyes for just a minute or two—then suddenly you do that jerking thing, your head bolting back up- right. My God! What if I’d dropped the baby, you scold yourself, staring into those big startled eyes as your baby tries to refocus on her rudely interrupted repast. We could tell you to get more sleep, but let’s tell you something you don’t already know: ways to get through the day when sleep just isn’t possible.
Soak up some sun.
If it’s warm enough, go outside on your deck or porch for the baby’s first morning feeding. If it’s not, sit by a window instead. The rays will reset your body’s internal clock to daytime and minimize the urge to snooze.
Wash away weariness.
Use an invigorating shower gel with a scent like peppermint, jasmine, or grapefruit.
Pace your protein for maximum energy: Eat a protein-and-carb-combo breakfast (say, a hard-boiled egg and whole wheat toast) to get you going, snack on protein (cheese, yogurt, a fruit and yogurt smoothie) during the day for a boost, then eat a few extra carbs at dinner to wind you down. Easy, one-handed foods: Wrap up veggies and hummus, or grilled chicken and salad greens, in a whole wheat pita. Still too much to pull off? Grab protein bars or a healthy, balanced frozen dinner, if that’s the best you can manage.
Once you’re past the postpartum recovery stage (about six to eight weeks after your baby’s birth), try gentle workouts, like walking or yoga. While aerobic exercise, which ups your heart rate, is best for fighting fatigue, any activity can help.
Dehydration can make you feel sluggish, so try to drink eight to twelve glasses of fluids a day—and (hooray!) caffeinated drinks count!
Take a power nap.
A twenty-minute nap may not make up for the hours of sleep you’re missing at night, but clocking short bouts of shut-eye can help you rest your eyes and recharge your brain. Better yet, enlist visitors to watch the baby while you take a more involved nap. They’ll delight in the babysitting opportunity.
Schedule a sleepover.
Enlist Grandma, Aunt Mary, or your best friend who’s still childless to come spend the night and get up with the baby. Even if you’re breastfeeding, you need to introduce a bottle eventually, so why not pump some milk and get going now?
This is an excerpt from THE BABYTALK INSIDER’S GUIDE TO YOUR BABY’S FIRST YEAR by the Editors of Babytalk Magazine. Copyright © 2008 by The Parenting Group, Inc. Published by Grand Central Publishing, New York, NY. All rights reserved.