One of the first preconceived ideas about breastfeeding is that it's tiring! So, yes, young mothers who breastfeed their babies are often exhausted, but is this really linked to breastfeeding? In this article, we dispel the clichés and share our top tips for dealing with physical and psychological fatigue.

1. Understanding the relationship between fatigue and breastfeeding

The arrival of a baby is a particularly exhausting phase. It's a race to the finish line! Especially since pregnancy and childbirth have already put the body to a severe test. Between postpartum weakness, sleep deprivation and all the demands of caring for your newborn, it's no wonder that this is a grueling time. Since it coincides with breastfeeding, it's easy to get confused! It's not breastfeeding that's exhausting, it's being a young mother! The level and perception of this fatigue naturally differ according to women and their contexts, but they don't depend on whether or not you're breastfeeding.

2. Deconstructing your perception of sleep

Your perception of sleep and recovery depends on the standard you have in mind! We often think that being rested means sleeping between 7 and 9 hours in a row at night. So, when your baby wakes you up several times a night and forces you to stay awake (for varying lengths of time!), you feel down in the morning. But, depending on culture, lifestyle and work habits, many people manage to recuperate by sleeping in different ways. What's more, sleep is constantly evolving throughout life. Think about your own rhythm: child, teenager, then student, young worker, etc. As you become a parent, accepting that your sleep patterns are changing is essential! By deconstructing your representation of a "normal" rhythm, you free yourself from the psychological effect of fatigue.

3. Know the sleep patterns of breast-feeding mothers

Another very important aspect to be aware of: the sleep patterns of breastfeeding mothers.

Breastfeeding releases hormones that help young mothers to rest. Oxytocin, for example, is secreted during feeds, providing deep relaxation and psychological well-being. If the mother is in a place conducive to tranquility, she can physiologically enter a state close to somnolence, offering as many moments of recuperation as there are feeds! Prolactin, for its part, is not only responsible for milk production, but also makes sleep more restful. It's been proven that breastfeeding mothers get more recovery from an equivalent amount of sleep. Instead of counting the hours you've slept, ask yourself how you feel, even after just 2 or 3 hours' rest. Knowing the difference between sleep and fatigue will help you manage it better!

4. Sleep when baby sleeps

At the risk of stating the obvious, we're going to tell you anyway! It's tempting to take advantage of your baby's resting time to get on with your daily chores. But it's really a tip to follow if you want to manage fatigue when you're breastfeeding. By lying down beside him, your baby will surely sleep longer, and you'll also be able to feed him if need be! The benefits of this habit are considerable. These periods of relaxation are a lifesaver for your morale, and help you to recover post-partum.

5. Take care with your diet to manage fatigue during breastfeeding

Breastfeeding burns up to 500 extra calories a day. To combat fatigue, eat well! Now is not the time to consider cutting back on your food intake to get back to your pre-pregnancy body. Your little one doesn't want to be put down? Test our Carry & Pack baby carrier or our babywearing clothes! They slip on quickly and you'll easily have your hands free for your meal. Baby may get bits of food on his head, but trust us, all he cares about is being curled up next to you! You can also have snacks during the day (or even at night, if you feel a hunger pang during a night feed). On the other hand, try to take care of the quality of your diet. Your body needs good nutrients. We recommend that you always have some dried fruit on hand, or try theJolly Mama snacks snacks, which we love!

On the subject of nutrition, we also recommend Julia Simon's book: Les recettes du quatrième trimestre au naturel. Her recipes are nutrient-rich and delicious!

6. Find support

We're not the first to say this, but it's an important factor in managing fatigue. Not all young moms are equal in this respect, but try to consider all possible sources of support. Your partner, your parents, friends, a neighbor... Mothers in your circle, from experience, will be delighted to lend you a hand. Don't underestimate female solidarity ;-)

You also have the right to say you've had enough! Breastfeeding, while a joy, requires a great deal of availability and can provoke ambivalent feelings. Don't keep it to yourself, talk to your loved ones or other breastfeeding moms.

7. Letting go of everyday life

Here again, easier said than done! If you're usually very organized and orderly, the sight of the chaos that quickly settles into a home with a baby can be very frustrating! Even so, try to accept that rest is the priority. On the other hand, if the clutter is causing real discomfort, let go of other things: social obligations, announcements and thank-you messages (and yes, that can be a real pressure!) Of course, if you can delegate maintenance and chores, that's even better.

Whatever your situation, the most important thing is to be kind to yourself!

We hope you've found some valuable advice on how to accept and alleviate your fatigue as a young breastfeeding mother. You should know that the hard times will eventually pass, and that this period goes by very quickly. You may look back on it with nostalgia in some time!

⏭️Discover also, our article on post-partum!