Being a mom means no rest for the wicked. At times, I feel like I’m barely staying afloat. In addition to tending to three little ones, a dog, and a husband, I somehow have to prioritize time for myself, too. Lately I seem to be in this crazy fog – all the time. Even when I do get a chance to do something for myself (like hold a conversation with other adults), I feel like I can’t find the right words. What happened to my quick wit and comprehension of things other than poopy diapers, lunch boxes, and superheroes? This is what I call “Baby Brain.”
The symptoms? Loss of vocabulary, feelings of fogginess, and the remnants of a really bad hangover (WITHOUT the well-deserved glass of wine). New mothers are wired to focus on their newborns and nothing else, almost like baby tunnel-vision. This often leads to funky feelings of exhaustion and neurotransmitter fatigue (YEAH! My “baby brain” went away for a second there).
Here are 8 tips to help bust your baby brain and get your mind back on track:
- This tip sounds easy, but you would be surprised how many of us don’t get enough water. Studies show that humans should drink close to eight 8-ounce glasses of fluids per day. Try carrying around a reusable water bottle with you so you can sip whenever you want. I love S’well or Yeti water bottles.
Drink Nursing Tea
- Nursing tea is a great way to increase milk flow and relieve common indigestion problems that come from breastfeeding. My favorite nursing tea is Milk tea from Jasmine Bay at five elements or Mother’s Milk from Traditional Medicinals. (You can buy it at Whole Foods as well as online.) The tea is made of herbs such as fennel seed and anise which work to increase production.
Go to bed early
- The best time to go to bed? When your children do. Getting on your kid’s schedule lets you make the most of your sleeping time.
Create a routine
- Let’s face it: if you have kids, the odds are they are either going to wake you in the middle of the night, or wake up long before the alarm clock is scheduled to go off. Either way, you’re back on mom duty. There’s no way around those givens. So why not anticipate? Creating a routine can streamline and ease your days and nights, and once your routine becomes second nature, you won’t have to even think about it!
Schedule a nap
- Naps! The benefits are substantial. As new mothers, sleep is scarce, and you’ll take it whenever you can get it. My suggestion? Nap when your children nap. You’ll get a nice break, and your regenerating brain cells will thank you.
Invest in self care
- Like sleep, when you have a baby or kids, time for yourself becomes nearly non-existent. But don’t let it be! Pamper yourself! Get a massage or get your nails done. Treating yourself when having a newborn can come in the smallest ways– even going to the grocery can feel like a luxury. When you take the time to have a spa day or a shopping day (or honestly even 5 to 10 minutes to yourself) you get a little rest and allow your body and brain to re-energize.
Talk to other adults
- Sounds so simple, but when being a mother to young ones, conversations with other adults (sans kids!) are few and far between. Even the thought of talking to another adult can seem revolutionary. Every once in awhile it does your brain good to self-indulge in big words and complicated sentences: your brain needs the grown-up stimulation.
Take time to meditate
- Often, when new mothers have spare time, they are spent cleaning and tackling to-do lists. What if you spent those ten minutes meditating? Just those few minutes to check in with yourself and your feelings can do wonders. Meditation helps relieve stress and keeps your mind in the moment. Need direction? Headspace is my favorite app for guided meditation. Give it a try, even if it’s literally just a minute.
Do you suffer from baby brain? What is the best advice you’ve received to beat this ailment? Tell me in the comments!