Many women suffer from short term memory loss after they have a baby. It might just be small things at first like locking your keys in the car or forgetting what you were going to say, but it can grow to be far worse.
Before I had my oldest son, I’d heard of new moms having memory problems after having a baby but never thought it was something I’d have to worry about. My mind was very sharp and I rarely, if ever, forgot things.
After my son was born, I worried about it a little, but my mind was sharp as ever (though I was more prone to crying randomly) and I quickly forgot my worries. Just like before, I remembered everything down to what my son was wearing every single day when I sent him off to daycare..
I figured I was one of the lucky ones who didn’t have problems with short term memory loss after a baby. Boy was I wrong!
When Conner was two, I fell pregnant with my second son and, by the time I was halfway through my pregnancy, I felt like I’d become a completely different person. I forgot everything! At times, I had a difficult time carrying on a conversation with my friends and coworkers because one second I’d have something ready to say and the next I couldn’t even remember what we were talking about.
I felt like I went through each week in a daze. Everything I did took at least three times longer than it should have. On my worst days, I couldn’t focus on the task at hand if my life depended on it and did all I could to hide just how bad I was getting from my family and coworkers.
I was ashamed and embarrassed about it and thought that if anybody realized just how bad it’d gotten, they’d think I was crazy. I was beginning to think I was crazy!
Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore and I sought out help. I talked with a specialist and she told me it wasn’t something I should be ashamed about and that it was a common complaint women had both during and after pregnancy.
To my relief, she also told me there was quite a bit I could do for it as well.
What Causes Short Term Memory Loss During and After Pregnancy?
There are a number of things that cause short term memory loss and other cognitive problems in mothers who are either pregnant or just gave birth.
Lack of Sleep: As they approach their third trimester, many women find it hard to sleep through the night because their growing belly makes it very difficult to find a comfortable position to sleep in.
On top of that, many women also suffer from pelvic girdle pain or symphysis pubis dysfunction during their last trimester which can make any movement during the night excruciating.
I had SPD myself during my third pregnancy and it made it impossible to get a good night’s sleep for months until I started using this pillow. After one night with it, I woke up crying because for the first time in months I’d not only gotten a good night’s sleep but I wasn’t in pain when I woke up.
In most cases, the lack of sleep mothers suffer from only gets worse once their baby is born. Even the most well-mannered newborns wake up 2-3 times in the night to eat and this continued lack of sleep can lead to short term memory loss as well as other cognitive problems.
Hormonal Imbalances: Going through pregnancy and having a baby takes quite a toll on your hormones. As your pregnancy starts out, certain hormone levels rise significantly to aid in the development of your growing baby. Once your baby is born, those levels drop dramatically and can take weeks or months to stabilize.
When you experience these abrupt changes in hormone levels it can lead to nausea, headaches, and even cognitive problems like the short term memory loss many moms report experiencing.
Lack of Structure & Routine in the Home
Having a baby changes your life drastically. Everything you do revolves around that baby and caring for him/her. If you don’t have a good routine in place, you may start to feel like you no longer have control over your life and your surroundings may begin to grow cluttered.
As your surroundings accumulate clutter, you’ll often find that your mind feels cluttered as well. There’s so much involved in caring for a newborn and new mom are always trying to multitask in order to get it all done.
In return, they may find it difficult to focus on one thing for more than a few minutes at a time making them more prone to forgetfulness.
What Can You do About Short Term Memory Loss After a Baby?
Oftentimes, the best thing you can do for short term memory loss after a baby is to establish a firm routine for you and your baby that includes an adequate amount of sleep and exercise.
To put together a schedule that will work for you, you first need to establish a routine for your baby.
Start by creating a schedule for your baby that has him/her eating every two and half to three hours during the day and don’t deviate from that schedule. Make sure he/she gets a full feeding when it’s time to eat and if your baby starts crying before the next scheduled feeding, don’t just go for a bottle to soothe him/her.
Instead see if he/she needs to burp. Try massaging your baby’s back to help relieve air bubbles that may be in their stomach. In between feedings, give your baby a pacifier to soothe him/her if they cry.
Next, make it a point to keep your baby awake for a short while after each feeding. You want to get your son/daughter sleeping through the night and if they’ve been asleep all day they’re probably not going to sleep much when bedtime rolls around.
After your baby eats, keep him/her awake for 30-60 minutes then lay him down for a nap. If he’s still sleeping when it’s time for his next feeding, make sure to have a bottle warm and ready then wake him up and feed him.
Many new moms feel that this is counter-intuitive. Why would they wake their baby if they’re trying to get them to sleep?
Well, if you wake your baby on a regular schedule throughout the day, say every three hours to eat, then let your baby sleep as long as they want during the night, your baby will quickly learn that the time to be awake is during the day and nighttime is for sleeping.
I’ve done this myself with all three of my boys and by three weeks (usually earlier) every one of my boys were sleeping 7-8 hours a night.
Once you’ve established a routine for your baby, you’ll actually free up a lot more of your day to accomplish other things you need to get done and you won’t feel like everything is so cluttered or there’s not time to do anything other than care for your baby.
I went to school full time when my oldest was a newborn and the only reason it worked is because he was on a schedule that had him eating every three hours, staying awake briefly after feedings, then sleeping for two hours while I studied.
This allowed me to block out specific times to finish my homework, study for exams, and finish projects.
You can use the time in between feedings to schedule whatever you need but be sure to include a 30-60 minute block every single day that is dedicated to exercising, meditation, or yoga.
Dozens of studies have proven that exercise does wonders for your brain and makes it sharper. It reduces short term memory loss and many other cognitive problems.
Another reason to stress the importance of exercise is, you’ve just had a baby. You need to help your body heal and come back together and the best way to do that is to slowly ease back into exercises that will strengthen your pelvic and abdominal muscles which can be drastically weakened after carrying a baby for nine months.
I have some great guidelines and exercises that you can start with to ensure you aren’t putting too much strain on your body before it’s ready and strong enough to handle it.
The bottom line is, if you have a strict routine established for yourself, you’re much less likely to forget things.
Care for Your Brain
If you want your brain to care for you and to be sharp, you have to care for your brain.
You can do this by including regular exercise like I mentioned above and by sticking to a diet that promotes brain health.
After carrying a baby for nine months your brain and body really have been put through the ringer and the best way to get back to normal is through diet and exercise.
Make a point to eat foods that will feed your brain. Some of things you can eat are whole grains, red meats, fish, nuts, spinach, avocados, and berries. Swap out your cooking oils for coconut oil because this too has been proven to promote brain health.
If you feel that your body is bogged down or sluggish, you may even want to consider doing some type of cleanse to rid it of any toxins that may have built up over the years. There are dozens of options out there and you should look at a few to see which will best fit your needs.
If you do decide to do a cleanse make sure you do it after you’ve finished nursing your baby! Otherwise it’ll decrease and potentially stop your milk supply.
Lastly, make sure you are getting plenty of water to drink! If you’re dehydrated, tired, and worn out, your brain will be more sluggish and short term memory problems are more likely to show up.
What do you think of these ways to address short term memory loss after a baby? Have you experienced it after your son or daughter was born? Leave a comment below to let me know!