Why Breastfeeding makes you Tired

Breastfeeding is hard work!  If you’re like many new moms you might find that breastfeeding makes you tired…really tired.  You’re not just imagining it.  Breastfeeding has these side effects for several reasons.

Today we’re exploring why breastfeeding makes you tired.

It’s not uncommon for new moms to feel tired.  After all, you’ve recently given birth, are up several times a night with your baby and you’re adjusting to the needs of a new baby.  Those things alone could make you exhausted.  There’s no doubt, breastfeeding can add to the fatigue.

breastfeeding sleepy__1458741993_162.206.228.38Your body is working extremely hard to make that glorious breast milk.  Breastfeeding and producing breast milk uses about 25% of your body’s energy. That’s less than the energy required for brain function.  As you expend all that energy, you are sure to feel tired.

Also, breastfeeding burns up to 1,000 extra calories a day.  It’s just that much work!  While you may not feel hungry enough to consume that many additional calories, you should eat a little extra to help sustain your energy.  When you don’t get proper nutrition, not only can your milk supply suffer, you may also feel fatigued.

Breastfeeding releases oxytocin and prolactin, which stimulate milk production and give moms feelings of relaxation and contentment.  As soothing calmness envelops your body, breastfeeding makes you tired.  In addition, some moms develop hypothyroidism that can cause drowsiness day and night.

Despite the hormones, when breastfeeding isn’t going as smoothly as expected, moms can feel stressed.  Stress and anxiety over breastfeeding may cause sleeplessness or could simply further exhaust your body.  Plus, learning your baby’s likes and dislikes can be frustrating and stressful itself, especially if your baby cries a lot.

In the early weeks of breastfeeding, your body is still recovering from childbirth.  After labor and delivery or a c-section, your body has been through a lot and feels exhausted.  Between the likely reduced sleep you got towards the end of pregnancy and now being up at all hours feeding your baby, you’re sure to be more tired.

Lying down while breastfeeding or breastfeeding in a rocking chair can make you drowsy too.  These comfortable positions and motions are a natural way to lull anyone to sleep, baby and mama alike.  Lying or rocking while breastfeeding are especially tiring at night when your body wants to be sleeping anyways.

If you find breastfeeding makes you tired, it probably means everything is completely normal.  Between the hard work of producing milk, being awake throughout the day and night to feed your baby, your hormones and recovering from childbirth, breastfeeding is pretty exhausting…and totally worth it!