Breastfeeding is rewarding for both the baby and mom, but it is also hard. Moms are expending a lot of energy while breastfeeding. It also takes an emotional and physical toll on the momma that will require her to heal her body postpartum. 

Every mom’s breastfeeding experience is different. Some moms might struggle to produce milk or make little milk. Sometimes, a baby might have a difficult time latching. On top of all that, sleep deprivation, fatigue, and increased hunger and thirst are all a part of the process. 

Lactation consultant, T’Errah Jessup, is the CEO of Wildflower Lactation & Postpartum Care LLC. She explains that it’s no surprise that breastfeeding causes sleepiness and fatigue, as it uses 30 percent of the body’s energy. 

Registered nurse and lactation consultant, Krystal Duhaney, is the founder of Milky Mama. She agrees with Jessup about the great demand that breastfeeding places on the body. 

“Breastfeeding requires approximately an extra 500 calories daily, along with essential nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, and vitamins,” she said. “This is why so many new moms feel so tired and groggy.”

With the right diet and resources, it’s possible to feel energized and healthy while breastfeeding. Here are some ways that moms can naturally regain energy while breastfeeding. 

Eat a Nutritious Diet 

Moms who are breastfeeding should eat lots of carbohydrates and proteins. Similar to after a hard workout, carbs and proteins help refuel the body, encourage muscle protein production, and promote recovery.  

“The lactating person’s body goes through so much on a daily basis, and nutrients are removed quite a bit when breastfeeding,” Jessup said. “The best thing is to increase caloric intake.”

Moms should try eating a well-balanced diet while breastfeeding. They can also focus on adding in things like seeds, nuts, whole grains, and oats.

Duhaney also encourages breastfeeding moms to consume a steady intake of calcium and iron. This will compensate for what is lost in milk production. Moms can also try natural supplements like vitamin D to help enhance overall energy levels.

Maintain Adequate Hydration

Jessup explained that breast milk is 90 percent water, so moms who are breastfeeding need to stay hydrated. Moms can hydrate with water or alternatives like coconut water or almond or oat milk. It’s important to avoid too many sugary drinks.

“A breastfeeding mom should strive to drink when feeding, pumping, or simply when she’s thirsty,” she added. “You actually should drink to thirst throughout the day.”

Try not to overdo your water intake. A breastfeeding mom can also drink too much water, which will cause her body to restore the electrolyte balance and create unnecessary water in her urine, which is not beneficial for breast milk.

Incorporate Postpartum Exercise 

Breastfeeding moms can manage their new postpartum energy loss through regular exercise. 

“Believe it or not, exercise is great for energy boosting,” Jessup said. 

Creating a low-impact exercise routine can help moms get back to their pre-pregnancy energy levels. Jessup suggests exercises like yoga, pilates, stretching, walking, jogging, or even light weight lifting to start. Seek guidance from your provider before doing any vigorous exercises.

Find Emotional Support

Emotional support is huge for postpartum moms, especially when it comes to regaining energy. During the postpartum period, Jessup highly recommends having someone by your side to cheer you on and offer support. Having someone to show up so that you can rest can be a great help too.

“Emotional support plays a critical role in postpartum recovery,” Duhaney said. “Engaging with your community can provide advice and emotional solace, which helps moms manage fatigue and stress more effectively.”