We all know tiredness is a given if you have a baby, but lack of sleep and low energy levels can be compounded by the clocks going back. Now we have the darker early evenings and colder, greyer days. So I thought this could be the perfect time to give you some tips to help boost your energy levels.
* Try to get outside each day to make the most of the daylight hours. Go for a short revitalising walk and some fresh air. Gentle exercise will release endorphins without exhausting you further.
* Get forty guilt free winks. Nap when your baby does if you can and resist the urge to catch up on jobs. You are not being indulgent, you need this.
* Schedule in some time for yourself away from your baby. Meeting up with a friend, going to a yoga class, even an undisturbed bath can help you recharge.
* Do you need a drink? No, not that kind! Dehydration will make you feel more tired so ensure you are taking in enough fluids, especially if you are breastfeeding. Sometimes thirst can be mistaken for hunger, so have a drink of water first (this tip also helps with weight control!). Plain water, diluted fruit juice, herbal teas and vegetable juices can all boost your fluid intake.
*Avoid or limit alcohol and caffeine (coffee and tea, cola and energy drinks and chocolate) You might think they will perk you up but they actually effect your sleep quantity and quality and also your energy levels due to their negative effect on blood sugar levels. However, if it’s for sanity levels enjoy in moderation!
* Balance your blood sugar. Blood sugar dips cause energy levels to slump and increase cravings. Avoid peaks and troughs by not skipping meals and include fibre from wholegrains and protein at each meal. Snacks of fresh fruit with yoghurt, nuts or seeds, oatcakes/Ryvitas or vegetable sticks with hummus, cream cheese or nut butter are all great choices.
* Consider a supplement. Low energy can be a sign of zinc deficiency. This mineral is most in demand during pregnancy and when breastfeeding and is important for wound healing, so you may have an increased need after birth, especially if you’ve had a C section or episiotomy. Fatigue and weakness can be signs of iron deficiency anaemia. If you also feel dizzy, breathless, have lack of appetite and pallor, see you GP for a test. Include iron from leafy greens, beans, dried fruit, cocoa and meat (if included) along with a source of vitamin C to aid absorption. The first signs of B vitamin deficiency are fatigue and irritability, but it can be hard to tell when lack of sleep can make you feel this way anyway! Most B vitamins aren’t stored by the body so a good general multi vitamin and mineral containing B complex is likely to improve flagging energy levels.
Jayne Russell has over twenty years of experience as a pre’ and postnatal massage and nutritional therapist and is the founder of Nom Nom – award winning, certified organic pregnancy and baby skincare. Sign up for your free skincare guide “10 Steps to Super Healthy Baby Skin” at www.nomnomskincare.com