I have always been a lover of food. Food and I get along very well. Yet, until I became a breastfeeding mom, I did not know just how much time one can spend in their kitchen.
I am the first to admit that I have not always been the healthiest eater, I love my fattening, hearty foods, I love to bake (and eat what I bake), and worst of all… I like fast food. (dun dun dun!)
While I was pregnant with my sweet girl, I remember being afraid of drastically changing my diet; I wondered how I would handle it, would I be able to sacrifice the foods that I love to breastfeed. I found out quickly, that I was more than willing to make changes, eat healthier and provide the best possible nourishment for my baby.
I eat constantly. I mean it, constantly. I have four full meals each day plus snacks. This does seem like quite a bit, I am sure. It is important to note that everyone is different; your caloric need while breastfeeding could be different than mine. Listen to your body: this is the most important advice anyone has ever given me in regards to giving birth and breastfeeding.
Let’s start with the most important meal of the day…
Breakfast: I have never been a big breakfast eater; I do not like most “breakfast foods”, which of course makes it pretty difficult to eat breakfast. I typically start the day with a granola bar during our morning nursing session. After my daughter falls asleep, I have, what has become my morning staple, vanilla yogurt and granola. It is the most delicious thing in the whole world. I always opt for full fat dairy, especially for my morning yogurt. Dairy fat is good fat, the kind of fat that is great for your milk (In fact, over 400 different fatty acids have been identified in dairy products). Oats are spectacular, not only for the antioxidants and overall dietary content, but also for your milk supply. Oats have been known to increase milk production and I find that to be particularly true for me.
Snacking, it can be difficult!
In my opinion, snacking is the area where most people, especially me, reach for things that might not be ideal. I keep an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables around, in hopes that when I need a quick snack, I reach for something healthy. A great go to snack that is very filling and great for you and baby: avocado and tomato. It does not sound like much, but cut up tomato and avocado with a little bit of salt and pepper is so delicious. Avocado is enormously underrated; it is full of the right fats and incredible nutritional value in a delectable little package (I bet I sound like an avocado saleswoman).
I love my granola bars, they are definitely another go to snack for me! Perhaps my all time favorite snack: Lactation cookies. Lets face it, it’s a cookie, a delicious cookie that is GOOD for your milk supply! (I will share my lactation cookie recipe in a later post!) These cookies are the perfect mix of chocolate, oats, brown sugar, flaxseed and brewer’s yeast, which are great on taste and a noticeable boost for your milk.
A bit of reality…
With kids, it is hard to spend enough time in the kitchen to make three full meals per day. For me, expecting myself to be able to spend the time to cook that much was a recipe for failure, it almost always resulted in a poor meal choice and spending more money. I began meal planning about six months ago and it is by far the best thing I ever did. I plan our shopping trip for once every two weeks. Before this trip, I plan thirteen meals (with one night that I expect we will order out) and write out the shopping list with everything I need to make each meal. This helps us waste less and eat at home more. Meal planning rids us of the dreaded question: “what do you want to eat?” I make one of the thirteen meals each night, always making sure to make enough to leave us with lunch leftovers for the next day. Cooking one big meal a day is less daunting and most importantly, extremely realistic.
Always leave room for dessert, your treat! Whether it is every night, one a week or once a month, don’t forget to treat yourself. As moms, we work hard and everyone deserves an indulgence. I love my ice cream and cookies!
Last but certainly least: drink water! I drink about a gallon of water a day and I have never felt better. I have found that my skin is more radiant and healthier, my hair is shiny and thick, my milk supply is abundant in foremilk and hindmilk and overall my body feels better.
I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was for me to eat right, to improve my habits. Sometimes I forget how easy it is to sacrifice for my children, how it is simple for me to make changes in myself to make a better life for them. I know that breastfeeding is best for my baby girl and I plan to continue to take care of my body so that I can take care of hers.
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