There is nothing quite like the feeling of fatigue that accompanies the newborn period.
Hours turn into days and days can quickly become weeks, when you are so tired that all you can think of is when your next hour of sleep will be.
Knowing that this tends to be a non-negotiable period of newborn parenting, how can you maximise your energy without downing chocolate biscuits by the packet just to stay awake?
1. Keep the protein-rich snacks handy
Tiredness naturally drives appetite, as the body seeks to boost glucose levels, causing us to crave carbs. The issue with this is that high sugar and processed carb intake via easy-to-grab snacks, such as chocolate, biscuits, cakes and snack bars can leave us craving even more sweet food.
Keep your appetite under control with protein-rich foods. Good options include a slice of cheese with a whole grain cracker, a handful of nuts, Greek yoghurt with fresh fruit or mini-protein or nut bars.
2. Don’t forget your meals
When we are exhausted, it’s easy to reach for snacks such as breakfast cereal, toast and crackers as quick and easy alternatives to a cooked meal. The issue with this is that you won’t be getting the key nutrients a well-balanced meal provides.
A daily serve of lean meat, fish or chicken along with plenty of vegetables offers protein, iron, Vitamin B12, fibre and a range of vitamins and minerals that you won’t get from a couple of slices of toast. To make mealtimes easier during this busy period:
- Cook meals in advance and keep them in the freezer.
- Sign up to a meal delivery service for a few months after the birth.
- Know your five-minute meal options, including grilled fish and pre-cut vegetables, an omelette or even a healthy frozen meal.
3. Focus on hydration
Dehydration is extremely common for new mums who are trying to breastfeed. Your fluid requirements can be as high as 3L per day! And let’s be honest, who has the time to drink this much when you have a newborn?
Often we will pick up a snack to boost our energy when we are actually thirsty, so prioritising your fluid intake during the first few weeks with a new baby is a crucial step for keeping energy levels up. Keep your favourite types of fluid handy, whether that’s still or sparkling water, flavoured teas, electrolyte drinks or fruit and veggie smoothies.
4. Know the best comfort foods
Hungry new mums have been known to devour an entire block of chocolate in a single setting, but over time the extra calories from cakes, chocolates and lollies used to boost your energy all add up.
To strike a balance between a tasty energy-rich snack and not blowing your nutrition out the window, keep a supply of lower calorie treats on hand. Examples include fruits dipped in dark chocolate and frozen, hot chocolate powders, and portion controlled packs of trail mix, fruit toast and popcorn.
5. Ask for help
There are often many people who would love to help you during the intense newborn phase, but very few of us are ever comfortable asking for it. If you are struggling to eat well or to get the shops to pick up some healthy snacks, ask a friend to help you.
Whether it is picking up a healthy meal, making you some healthy snacks, doing the groceries or bringing you a green juice, you will be surprised how much easier life can be when you actually ask for the help you need – and how happy people are to lend a hand when needed.