Can breastfeeding make you feel run down?

(23 Posts)
MsFiremanSam Tue 08-Oct-13 14:41:53

Hi,
I'm BF my 8 week old daughter and for the last few weeks have felt really run down. I've had two colds consecutively, both of which went on to my chest, and felt really achey and tired. Baby sleeps well so it's not that so wondering if breastfeeding can make you more run down?
I'm taking vitamins but I've been trying to do a lot of exercise - 3/4 miles walking a day.
Today I've got what I think is a swollen gland just under my ear, it's painful if I press it.
Anyone got any ideas/tips?

rattlemehearties Tue 08-Oct-13 18:33:55

Breastmilk comes from your blood - have you checked you're not anaemic? No harm in taking some liquid iron with your vitamins, but you could always ask for your iron levels to be checked.

Recovery from birth and lack of sleep can make you feel run down, regardless of how you feed!

I think recovery from birth, and taking care of a small baby, are both very exhausting for us, however you are feeding the baby. It's worth getting your iron and thyroid levels checked, though, as both those can be wrong after birth, and can cause exhaustion, and maybe weaken your immune system.

BikeRunSki Tue 08-Oct-13 20:00:52

Having an 8 week old baby can make you feel run down, however you are feeding it.

MsFiremanSam Tue 08-Oct-13 20:02:01

Thanks for your replies. I had low iron levels in pregnancy so it could be that - got my post-natal check up tomorrow so will ask for a test. Thanks again!

MsFiremanSam Tue 08-Oct-13 20:03:17

Wondered if breast feeding might make it worse because baby takes extra vitamins etc - but you're obviously right that babies are generally exhausting!!

JollyScaryGiant Wed 09-Oct-13 05:04:34

Are you getting enough to eat? AT this early stage BF can use 500 calories a day on top of what you need yourself.

gnittinggnome Wed 09-Oct-13 05:40:00

Are you comfortable walking that much? If you are completely comfortable with it then carry on, but if it feels like a slog maybe don't push yourself so far if you can help it. Your body is still recovering from giving birth and BF will take resources from you, so maybe wait till you feel a little perkier to start exercising again.

Sunnysummer Wed 09-Oct-13 05:45:09

If you enjoy it that's great, but it's also very early to push yourself to exercise! Your body is still in recovery. Are you taking in extra calories and lots of extra fluids to compensate for the feeding plus walking with pram?

rootypig Wed 09-Oct-13 05:53:06

Yes, definitely! what vitamins are you taking? My obstetric consultant told me to keep taking prenatals as long as I BFed, I had low iron in pregnancy, he was very specific about it.

Other things: lots of fluid, a high healthy fat and protein diet (eggs, nut butter, red meat if you eat it, beans, yoghurt/cheese/custard all good). Walking is great with a newborn, I did it loads, but now is really not the time to be thinking about a restrictive / weight loss diet, so you must eat to compensate. You will feel and look like sh*t if you don't!

grin at bikerunski

CitrusyOne Wed 09-Oct-13 06:17:18

I spoke to the nurse at my surgery who said, yes, breastfeeding IS hard work and you do have to take care of yourself. She told me I should be eating breakfast, lunch, tea and supper, and also that I should be drinking plenty of fluids. Not that this makes better milk or anything- just that you need to keep yourself in tip top condition. A

MinesAPintOfTea Wed 09-Oct-13 06:31:08

Well I was going to suggest a multivitamin because I was feeling run down and perked up when I started taking the extortionately priced Pregnacare breastfeeding. Plus a good balanced diet with plenty of good fats.

Maybe have a few days off walking as well. Unless that's the only way you can get the newborn to nap. Generally you will feel dreadful at this stage, it will pass.

MsFiremanSam Wed 09-Oct-13 09:32:14

Feel fine while I'm walking and it helps baby sleep, but maybe I need a couple of rest days a week. Been eating at least 2000 calories a day and the weight isn't exactly melting away so guess that's enough? Probably not drinking enough though - I never seem to feel thirsty. Think I need to work on good nutrition rather than stressing about weight loss really. My midwife said though that breastfeeding doesn't burn extra calories, it just uses fat the body has stored, so there's no need to eat more calories?

MinesAPintOfTea Wed 09-Oct-13 12:30:04

If you bf for a few weeks, yes you will use fat the body has stored. If you think about it though, once you get beyond those first few days/weeks that's obviously nonsense. If your weight is anywhere near to healthy then you obviously can't store 6 month's worth of calories for the baby. Obviously try to make the extra calories healthy ones cake is healthy, but you do need them.

I've been bfing for 17 months now, needless to say once I'd got past the first week I needed extra calories mostly biscuits and even now I need to eat slightly more than I did pre-pregnancy to maintain weight (with only 2-3 feeds a day).

tiktok Wed 09-Oct-13 12:44:56

" If you think about it though, once you get beyond those first few days/weeks that's obviously nonsense. "

You'd think, wouldn't you....but it ain't so smile

Reason is that the body's metabolism changes during pregnancy and lactation....so you get more energy out of the food you put in.

There are several papers on this and if any one is interested I can seek out some refs. Mammals including human mammals do appear to need a bit of extra energy intake during breastfeeding to maintain their own well-being but for women not on marginal or wholly inadequate diets all this means is they should eat and drink according to what they feel they need and not go hungry/thirsty for long periods. Some women appear to hang on to extra fat for the length of time they bf, even if that is well beyond the time the baby is fully bf.

JollyScaryGiant Wed 09-Oct-13 21:16:13

Can you link, TikTok? I'd be interested to see that. I definitely read the 500 cals thing somewhere but obviously it was wrong info.

<puts down the cake>

hazchem Thu 10-Oct-13 06:58:33

Oh please do link Tiktok. I'm breastfeeding but may also be pregnant (fingers crossed) and am really keen to look after myself this pregnancy. Having an understanding of how my body is working might help steer me away from the second slice of cake.

Sorry to hijack MsFiremanSam. I have noticed if I don't take my vitamins that I feel more sluggish. That being said having little baby is tiring and you've probably just finished a big growth spurt. I found my energy and general wellbeing improved at about 4 months sort of like a cloud lifted and everything wasn't as foggy.

tiktok Thu 10-Oct-13 08:29:09

Will post links later - have to be away from computer for a few hours.

tiktok Thu 10-Oct-13 08:30:13

But have the slice of cake, for goodness sake smile

The point is, you respond to your body's needs - eat to hunger, drink to thirst. No need to deny yourself anything.

hazchem Thu 10-Oct-13 08:46:23

It's the second slicesmile I took to eating in case I was feeding three last time and think I need to be more mindful of how I eat while I'm pregnant this time. So I'm hoping if I know more about how my body works while it's pregnant I'll be more mindful of what is hunger/thirst and what is being, for want of a better word, greedy.

TIA

tiktok Thu 10-Oct-13 17:37:42

Links on metabolism and breastfeeding:

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3006166/?report=classic

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6695830

Some of the stuff is v. technical, sorry. I'm trying to find a paper which says 'just as in pregnancy, when intake in calories is actually less than the total amount of energy you'd need to grow a baby, a placenta, and all the rest including the extra fat, even when you take into account the fact women may reduce their physical activity, the same thing happens in breastfeeding' Will keep looking smile

JollyScaryGiant Thu 10-Oct-13 22:48:12

I was sure I posted a thank you here already but it appears not.

Thanks for the links, tiktok. I shall read them while BF grin

hazchem Fri 11-Oct-13 08:57:06

* Tiktok * Thanks so much
Just having a quick skim and have found it really interesting. I'm doing an essay on ultrasound use in antenatal care so I'm going to read them in more depth for "research" after DS is in bed.

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