Do you ever have the feeling that you can’t get it all done in a day and need that extra boost of energy, but then need some help slowing back down and unwinding at the end of the day?

While the following information can be useful for anyone whose life is just a little too busy; it’s ESPECIALLY important for the new mamas.

Why for moms? Simple. If we’re breastfeeding and providing nourishment to our babies, then we need to take extra care of our bodies. And in those next couple of years of toddlerlandia, we need all the natural energy we can get (and ways to unwind that aren’t alcohol).

“She asked me how I got it all done… coffee and wine sweetheart, coffee and wine.”

I had never really noticed these posts before becoming a mom, and of course now I see them everywhere!

From comments and posts on friends’ Facebook walls, to memes like the one above, it seems like the modern day prescription for mamas is to caffeinate the days and then to use wine to unwind at night.

If that’s your strategy and it’s totally working for you, i.e. you feel great morning, noon and night, and you truly believe you are giving your body the nourishment it needs, then carry on my friend.

But if you wake up sluggish with a dull ache (or pounding) between your temples, feel that “need” for a cup of coffee (or three) to get going, and start wondering if mid-afternoon (or earlier!) is too early to pour a glass of “mommy juice” then this blog might be for you!

Let me first preface by saying – I GET IT!!

I quit coffee during my pregnancy and abstained during my first couple of months after birth. Though I desperately wanted it, my baby was born premature and was so tiny that I was convinced I would get her high with just a few sips.

However, the more she grew and bigger she became, the more time she spent awake and the less time I had for naps, which meant I started craving coffee more and more.

It started with half a cup in the morning, then a whole cup, then an afternoon demitasse before seeing clients… it was a fast and slippery slope back into full caffeination.

And oh, red wine, you temptress you. Oh sweet relief at the end of the day.

As you know, I was sober for quite awhile before even getting pregnant, and other than the occasional craving for champagne during my pregnancy (anyone else experience this?) I didn’t really give alcohol much thought during my pregnancy.

Then came the long days, the even longer feeling nights, the inevitable challenges of going back to work while juggling the responsibilities of running a home, a partnership, a baby, and running my own business.

I know what it’s like to feel so depleted that you want the easiest solution possible.

And I know how easy it is to find that solution in a bottle.

That’s why the following suggestions (except for maybe the first one) are meant to be easy. With a small investment up front, a little bit of practice and preparation, you can begin to replace coffee and wine (or your booze filled bevy of choice) with these options. Your body, and baby (if you have one), will thank you for it!

Get it done (energy boosters and increased focus):

1. Before thinking of herbal stimulants to help you get it all done, here’s a thought for you. Don’t! Just DON’T do it. Give yourself a break. It (whatever it is) doesn’t have to be finished today. And when it does get done (if it does) it doesn’t have to be perfect.

How: Resist the urge, ask for help, release expectations, let go of the “shoulds.” Ahhhh… doesn’t that feel better already?

2. Take naps. I remember being told “sleep when the baby sleeps.” That’s nice I thought, but what about the cleaning, cooking, organizing, writing, working, etc. Shouldn’t I be doing that while the baby sleeps?

First, see the point above. Second, challenge yourself to lie down, put your feet up on some pillows, and cover your eyes with a cool, lavender scented cloth. There are significant benefits to simply closing your eyes for 5-15 minutes. Set your timer or the alarm on your phone to ease you out with a gentle chime or tone. Trust me, you’ll feel so much better after!

3. The following are my favourite coffee substitutes in that they give me a kick AND taste good.

Matcha: it’s a high grade, finely milled or powdered green tea. High in Vitamin C and antioxidants, matcha also increases energy, boosts focus and memory, AND enhances calm. Pretty sweet combination for the busy mom/woman.

Use: can be blended with favourite milk or nut milk to make a latte, or even whisked with hot water for a tea. I add teaspoons to my green smoothies in the morning, and blend with ice, banana, almond milk and vanilla. It makes a great afternoon pick me up smoothie as well! And can also be added to oatmeal and other foods. For more examples of how I use matcha regularly, follow my Instagram @coachingwithcaitlin

Raw Cacao: In its raw state, chocolate has more than 300 nutritional compounds and is one of the richest sources of antioxidants of any food on the planet! Long considered a ‘happy food,’ chocolate is a popular treat when we need ‘cheering up.’ Recent research has discovered that cacao contains chemicals (such as Phenylethylamine* and Seratonine) which are scientifically proven to be present in the brains of people when they are happy, more relaxed, playful and creative. To me, this sounds pretty perfect for the stressed out soul. Instead of increasing the jitters with coffee, use cacao to enhance your happiness.

Use: Can also be blended into a hot beverage in the morning, or added to smoothies throughout the day.

Maca: Usually found in powdered form, Maca is actually a root vegetable from Peru. Known as Peruvian Ginseng, Maca has been shown to elevate moods and energy, and is used as a performance enhancer by athletes. Maca has also been found to balance hormones and can be used to alleviate menstrual cramps, anxiety and mood swings. Maca is rich in vitamins B, C, and E. And it provides plenty of calcium, zinc, iron, magnesium, phosphorous and amino acids.

Note* you may read that pregnant or lactating women should avoid taking maca. This is because no testing can be safely done on pregnant or lactating women, though Peruvian women have used maca through pregnancy without any known negative effects.

Use: A little goes a long way. Try a teaspoon (or less) added to smoothies or decaf coffee or your cacao or matcha latte. Again, check out my instagram for more recipe ideas. @coachingwithcaitlin (look for my Unicorn Fuel posts… curious? You should be, check it out!)

Yerba Mate: Yerba mate tea is a South American beverage made by steeping the ground leaves and stems of the yerba mate plant. Yerba mate is a central nervous system stimulant containing caffeine, but it also contains a number of other nutrients, including antioxidants, amino acids, polyphenols, vitamins and minerals. It also enhances the ability to focus, physical performance, reduces stress, and is rich in antioxidants. Are you seeing a theme here?

Use: Best steeped like tea … can be enjoyed hot or cold. There are now several commercial brands available with different flavour combinations such as mint and cacao.

Other blends: Now that you know what to look for, see what other blends include these ingredients might be available at your local health store or online, or create your own! One of my new(ish) favourite Canadian companies is called Harmonic Arts and is based in Vancouver. They have an online store found here:

Special note on cost: Yes, some of these ingredients are expensive. But are they really more expensive than your coffee (and wine) habit?

Reframe and realise that these are an important investment in your long term health and well-being.

I’ve started asking for some of these ideas as gifts. The picture below shows a collection of different items that I’ve received from three different visitors recently.

When people ask what they can bring the baby, I gently redirect the request to what mama needs to care for the baby more healthfully. And seriously, how many more onesies does a baby need?

Wind me down (relaxation and ease):

This one can be a bit tricky, as I haven’t found quite as many substitutes for wine that give me the same, or similar feeling.

I’ve come to learn that setting the space, and creating a multi-sensory sensual experience is vital to creating a relaxing ambiance.

Pro tip – if you find reaching for the bottle has become way too habitualized, you may need to clear your house of temptation for a while.

Replace your cupboards with aromatic teas, hot raw cacao, or a square of fine dark chocolate (see the benefits of raw cacao above).

Lay down on the floor. Have you tried that recently? Feel your shoulder blades draw together as your chest opens. We spend so much time hunched over computers, chores and babies that we forget what it’s like to feel this expansion. Close your eyes. Breathe into your toes and fingertips.

For more relaxation tips, check out my 11 alternatives to wine.

I truly believe that mothers are the real superheros on this earth and in celebration of Mothers Day, I’d love to share these tips far and wide – can you help with this?

If you know a mama who could use this info – please forward this post to her.

If you try any of these alternatives, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!