How to combat ‘baby brain’ (it’s a proven condition)

As a new mum, there were numerous times when my brain fogged over and I completely forgot what I was supposed to be doing or saying.

Luckily the “baby brain” excuse seems to be widely accepted but I was never really sure why. Initially I presumed that “baby brain” was a term that justified my behaviour caused by serious lack of sleep.

In one particular supermarket, I managed to scan an entire shop, put my items on the scales, pay by card, check that baby is ok and walk off.

However, scientists believe that it is more than this and that the baby brain fog happens for a natural reason. One theory is that a pregnant woman’s brain shrinks to allow her to focus solely on her newborn, which assists in the initial bonding process.

Unfortunately, with 101 other things to juggle, our modern society isn’t particularly sympathetic to this adaptation.

So for all fellow mums out there functioning on limited brain capacity, I thought I would share a few of my own “baby brain” mishaps:

• With an impatient toddler in tow, I usually find the self-checkout service in supermarkets a godsend, as there is (heaven forbid) no need to waste time queuing. However due to “baby brain” it hasn’t always been quite so convenient for me… In one particular supermarket, I managed to scan an entire shop, put my items on the scales, pay by card, check that baby is ok and walk off.

I arrived home 20 minutes later to discover that I had left an entire shop – not even bagged up – on the scales. This was followed by a rather embarrassing trudge back to collect the items and joke with customer service that it must be “baby brain” whilst pointing to a snoozing child.

Not quite so funny the second time it happened. The third was unforgiveable! And the fourth time, I queued at the self-checkout telling myself that I would definitely not be so stupid this time. Only to scan the items, appease my screaming little boy and then wander off again without the damn shopping DOH!!!

That was when I sent my mum back to collect as I thought they would think I was trying to pull off some kind of scam.

• I regularly start a handwashing load telling myself that I MUST GET IT OUT OF THE WATER IN 10 MINUTES. Only to wander back into the bathroom later that day and see my very soggy/saggy underwear in a murky sink of cold water.

• I went on my first proper shopping expedition with my husband (sans baby) to Oxford Street and the holy grail of Selfridges last summer. I headed straight to the shoe hall and was really excited about actually trying on heels again. I found a beautiful pair in the sale, which the checkout assistant put behind the till for us. My husband and I then got distracted by our temporary freedom and forgot to go back to the till to pay for the shoes. I only realised after our train journey home that I had never actually bought the shoes – heartbreaking! Maybe not so heartbreaking for my husband…

So for those who have suffered similar experiences, here are a few tips to help with that baby brain fog:

Don’t take on too much

Focus on the important things that need doing that day. I am guilty of trying to do 100 things at a time (cooking, washing, reading with the little one). I achieve much more on the days when I allocate time for each task rather than overlapping them. This also has the added bonus that Dougie has my full attention and this seems to have the knock on effect that he then plays better by himself afterwards.

Get good at writing lists

I have always been addicted to writing lists, which has proven particularly useful over the past year when important information has sifted out of my head. This Noble Macmillan notebook is great for jotting down little lists.

Take some time out

I know it is easier said than done with young children but do take time to relax when you can. A ten minute bath works wonders and I would recommend applying this Aurelia Firm & Revitalise Dry Body oil beforehand to help nourish the skin post pregnancy.

Keep hydrated

Hydration plays a massive part in brain function. I am guilty of not drinking enough water and constantly have to remind myself to do so, which I have been better at with this stylish glass and silicone BKR water bottle. (Unfortunately, due to “baby brain” I have since misplaced this bottle in town – c’est la vie). By the way apparently coffee does count towards our 2 litre daily target but probably best not to substitute the whole 2 litres…

Rest

The advice ‘sleep when your baby sleeps’ may be cliché but it works. Screw the cleaning, take a nap and you will feel sharper and more on the ball when you wake up.

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