What Exactly is New Mom Stress?
Becoming a new mom changes everything. You literally have a new human in your family, one that requires you for all of their needs. No matter how calm of a person you typically are, having a new baby is bound to make your anxious, stressed, and worried, right along with feelings of joy, wonder, and amazement.
There are both physical and mental components of new mom stress, the irregular and broken sleep, the steep hormonal changes post-birth and breastfeeding take a huge toll on the body and mind. Then, of course, the mental worries of caring for your baby and wondering how the description of your heart being outside your body could have been so true. Both physical and mental stress can affect you in many ways but there are practical and tangible ways to relieve new mom stress.
Top 10 Causes of New Mom Stress
1. Uncharted Territory
Especially with your first baby, everything is completely new. Changing a diaper? Dressing a baby? Things seem so simple and yet you probably feel so clumsy. When in doubt, trust you’ll soon figure it out.
2. Broken & Irregular Sleep
One of the top causes of stress as a new mom is due to the lack of sleep! Being woken up every few hours and 4 am cluster feeds means that your body and mind are all over the place. Disrupted sleep causes mental fatigue, forgetfulness, irritability, blood sugar imbalances, and more.
To reset your circadian rhythm, ensure you’re exposed to daylight during the day and have meals at regular times. That doesn’t mean don’t eat in the middle of the night, because a snack is a good idea, but ensure you eat breakfast upon waking in the morning.
3. Hormonal Shifts
Your body is going through a cascade of hormonal changes after birth and between two to five days postpartum. Those first two weeks can find you in tears, angry and then fine all within the span of 10 minutes. Give yourself grace here, these feelings won’t last forever.
4. Recovering from Birth
No matter how you delivered, your body has a lot of healing to do. Which means, you cannot be up and at it “like normal.” Your body just went through a huge event and/or a major surgery, so caring for your baby, soaking them in with skin to skin contact and breastfeeding around the clock is very normal.
5. Pressure to “Do it Right”
Our culture has a very backward view of a mother’s role, especially in those first weeks. Around the world, cultures celebrate a new mom, feed her, and care for her for the first 30-40 days. While that might seem like a far fetched fantasy, the pressure to get things right and “get on with life” is the cause of a lot of pain and stress.
Remember that you can’t hold or feed your newborn too much. Follow your gut and only listen to advice from a select few people or sources. Remember that there is no “right” or “wrong” with parenting. It’s what works best for you and your family.
6. Unwanted Company & “Helpful” Visitors
Whether or not you wanted people to visit you right after birth, there are helpful visitors, and not so helpful ones. It’s so important to talk with your partner about your expectations about who and when people can see you and do not be afraid to tell someone you need time to rest or feed your baby on your own.
7. Poor Nutrition & Hydration
One of the easiest ways to support yourself is through nutrition. Eating nutrient-dense, whole foods is so important for physical recovery, fueling your body as you nourish your baby and to fight against the fatigue of being a new mom. There are vitamins and minerals for stress that help support your body’s natural stress response.
Drinking enough water is also important for your recovery and for breastfeeding. Dehydration causes fatigue and your requirements for water go up while breastfeeding so ensure you have constant access to water (or maybe try lactation lemonade).
8. Baby’s Health & Wellbeing
Of course, it is normal to be worried about whether your baby is getting enough breastmilk, gaining weight properly and so much more. Newborns are utterly fascinating and confusing at times, but it always goes back to trusting that your baby and their body know how to thrive. When in doubt. always reach out to a friend or qualified professional, like a lactation consultant.
9. Focusing on Household Tasks
You may suddenly find yourself in a position where you realize how much of the mental load of your household you take on. Grocery shopping? Bills to be paid? A pet to care for?
All of these things seemed to easily fall into place before, but when you haven’t slept or eaten properly, you’ve been pooped on and are probably soaked in either spit up or breastmilk, those things can go by the wayside. While all situations are unique, household tasks should not fall to the new mom in those first few weeks and months.
10. Not Taking Time for You
What does time to yourself even mean with a newborn? Taking time for yourself does not mean getting ready and going out for an hour. Giving yourself the space to just be is incredibly important for your own wellbeing and mental health. Can you nap for 20 minutes with a promise of not being disturbed? Put on mascara? Shower? Be present with your coffee and take two sips before you move on?
What Can Alleviate New Mom Stress?
The biggest piece of advice to remember is to control what you can control, and surrender to the rest. You can’t control your baby waking at night (it’s normal!) but you can control having a snack beside your bed so that you are feeling nourished and keep your blood sugar in check. Nutrition, via supplements and whole foods is a wonderful starting place to relieve stress.
While an anti-stress multivitamin isn’t able to take away stress, it does help your body to deal with it better. Under stress, B vitamins are used more rapidly in the body, which is why taking B vitamins for stress relief is a good idea. With the proper nourishment, you are not left in a nutritionally depleted state due to stress which has many short and long term benefits and you will get some relief as well!
What is the Best Vitamin For Stress?
There is no one silver bullet for stress, but finding a product that is easy to take and covers the unique nutrients that a new mom needs is key. The best multivitamin for stress is one that a mom will easily use and that also has nutrients to support her unique postpartum needs.
There are also stress-fighting superfoods that not only support stress but provide benefits to a breastfeeding mom as well.
This anti-inflammatory powerhouse is a root with a striking orange color. It has been used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for thousands of years and as a way to increase milk supply. Reducing inflammation fights fatigue and the cellular damage caused by stress.
Flax Seed & Omega 3’s
Omega 3’s are also potent anti-inflammatory and essential fats that we must get through diet. These healthy fats not only support milk supply, as well as milk quality and brain development for your baby, but help calm your stressed out nervous system.
Another root used in ancient medicines, this herbal medicine is safe for breastfeeding and directly reduces cortisol, a stress hormone. Taking ashwagandha can have many, long-lasting benefits when taken in the first postpartum months to protect the body against harm from stress.
What is marketed as the best vitamins for relaxation are usually B vitamins. B vitamins are a wonderful anti-stress vitamin by supporting a healthy nervous system. A healthy nervous system is the root of your body handling stress well. The best B vitamins for stress are a B complex, which will cover each individual B vitamin in the correct ratio to the others.
Why the Majka Lactation Booster Can Relieve New Mom Stress
It’s important to have support as a new mom, and at Majka, we are here to support you with simple and effective nutrition and supplements to support the unique needs of a breastfeeding mom. The Lactation Booster was born out of the need to easily and quickly take a variety of vitamins & superfoods to support a postpartum body while also supporting milk supply and quality. Looking at stress supplement reviews can be overwhelming, but here are a few reviews of what our Majka Mama’s have to say.
When it comes to stress management vitamins, the vitamin itself can help but it will help tremendously when you pair supplementing with other self-care and stress reduction practices. The more you can support your nervous system, the more effective everything you’re doing to manage stress will be. That being said reducing stress isn’t supposed to stress you out more, especially as a new mom!
The Lactation Booster can be your reminder of doing something for YOU.
New babies don’t have a schedule, they don’t know night from day and they probably want to nurse 23 hours a day. While these things can seem so taxing, they are a normal part of being a new mom and shifting your perspective is one of the most empowering things you can do. What if waking up during the night was normal and okay? How would that feel verses being resentful that you’re up at 3 am?
We know you want the best for your baby. Taking care of yourself is one of the most important ways to ensure you are at your best for your baby. New mom stress is going to happen, but we hope that you take it in stride and before you know it, you’ll be onto the next phase with that beautiful babe of yours.
Motherhood is hard! Are you looking for more tips? Check out our Time Management Tips for New Moms if you’re feeling overwhelmed with your list of to-do’s and How Can Stress Impact Breastfeeding if you need tips on maintaining or increasing your supply as a new mom!