If you’re a mom you’ve probably heard of “mom brain,” or “momnesia”. In fact, you’ve probably experienced it! For example, do you often forget your grocery list? Misplace your keys? Can’t remember why you walked into a room? You might make jokes about it, but it can be very frustrating – and you know what? Mom brain is a real thing!
Is Mom Brain Real?
Mom brain is definitely real! As a new mom you’re dealing with a lot, including sleep deprivation and shifting hormones, along with increased stress and anxiety. All of that is bound to take a toll on your cognitive function. But the interesting thing is that, as frustrating as mom brain can feel, not all of the changes your brain is experiencing are bad.
In fact, as your brain shifts focus to the new baby, you’re unconsciously learning brand new instincts that can consume a lot of brain power. These instincts, like knowing the difference between your baby’s cries and honing sharper reflexes, are incredibly important as a mother. So you might forget your socks, but you know a “hungry cry” from two rooms away.
All of this means some cognitive function might suffer, but you’re building new skills and instincts that you’ll need as your journey into parenthood progresses.
Boosting Your Brain Power
Even though you’ve got some cool new mom superpowers, that fogginess and lack of concentration can get in the way of your life. And, unfortunately, the negative parts of mom brain don’t go away, once your brain has changed due to pregnancy it won’t go back to “normal”. No worries though, we’ve got a list of the top four ways to battle mommy brain.
1. Eat well
It can be hard to find time for full meals with a new baby. But loading up on certain foods can help counteract the effects of mommy brain. The best foods to eat include:
- Blueberries – The antioxidants in blueberries help your brain cells communicate better. This can help improve your memory so you can say goodbye to misplaced items.
- Dark chocolate – Yes, you read that right. Chocolate can combat fatigue and boost focus to help you stay alert. Not to mention it’s delicious and makes you feel good!
- Turmeric – Adding this spice to dishes like eggs or hummus can increase oxygen to your brain. Oxygen helps heal your brain and boost your cognitive function.
All of these foods are easy to snack on. You don’t have to worry about sitting down for a three-course meal to help your brain fight off that momnesia.
We know the last thing a tired mom wants to do is hit the gym. But you don’t have to! Any movement helps, even a short walk around the park with your baby or dancing around your living room (baby in arms, of course!).
Studies show that moving for your body for 10 minutes can:
- Release endorphins that boost your mood and fight off stress
- Increase blood flow and oxygen to your brain
- Increase production of hormones that promote new brain cell growth to replace the ones lost to stress and lack of sleep
Your sleep schedule is probably all over the place because of feedings and changings. But a nap, even a short one, can recharge your brain and increase your brain capacity, which allows you more room to retain information like appointment dates and grocery lists.
Your brain is a muscle, and just like your other muscles it needs to be worked out. Fortunately, there’s an app for that. Spending a few minutes playing a word puzzle or a brain teaser game on your phone can improve mental speed and strengthen your short-term memory.
When it comes down to it, the most important thing you can do is be kind to yourself. A new baby doesn’t just change your daily life, it changes every cell in your body, so take care of yourself and allow your mind the time it needs to adjust to all of the new changes. Using the steps above can help you to do just that, and to hopefully never have to say “Sorry, I’ve got mom brain” again.
Co-written by Brianna Hartnett