Breastfeeding is crazy, y’all. Not only do I find it totally insane (and amazing) that my body can produce all the nutrition that a tiny human needs to survive and grow less tiny, but I’m also fascinated by the way nursing affects my body. I had heard that exclusive breastfeeding burns about 500 extra calories a day, but I don’t quite think I grasped what that meant in terms of eating and energy levels for me postpartum. That’s like taking a Zumba class everyday or running on the treadmill for an hour! Of course I’m hungrier! And I imagine during baby growth spurts (like we went through last week) you burn even more than 500 calories.
Anyway, I thought it might be interesting to document a normal day of eating for me while breastfeeding. I think society puts a lot of pressure on new mothers to get their bodies “back” quickly after birth, and that includes being restrictive with food. I definitely think it’s important for moms to take care of themselves and try to get back to a weight and fitness level they are happy with eventually, but I’d also like to do my part to normalize the idea that it’s okay to just coast along and listen to what your body needs while nursing (especially in those first few months).
Worth noting, even though I’m eating lots, I am still consistently dropping weight–about a pound a week (in total, I’m down about 30 pounds from the day I went into labor). I am also not doing any workouts, just a daily easy walk around our property (usually with June Bug strapped to me). I really think the body was made for this process, and while it may take a bit longer to lose my pregnancy weight than if I restricted calories and worked out intensely, I’m fine with that pace (I totally understand that other new moms might want quicker results). Plus, getting to eat lots of rich, healthy food is kinda a blast. Onto my eats…
10:00am: Whole wheat bagel, cream cheese, eggs and bacon. Plus a side of Greek yogurt with chia seeds, granola and strawberries. Plus a strawberry smoothie and an unpictured big ole Mason jar full of ice water.
This has been my breakfast since I got home from the hospital. So yummy! By the time morning comes around, and I’ve done 3+ nursing sessions overnight, I am absolutely starving.
12:00pm: Chocolate protein smoothie.
I usually prefer to make my own smoothies, but these suckers were on mega clearance at the grocery store. Plus, I’m a big fan of easy right now, and you don’t get much easier than premade smoothies.
12:30pm: Snack plate with cherries, a Babybel, tomatoes, a hard-boiled egg and apple, peanut butter, and raisin sandwiches. Plus a glass of iced oat straw tea.
Back when I was dealing with anxiety and panic attacks immediately postpartum, Craig did some research about natural anxiety remedies and found some folks had success with oat straw tea. It seems to be working for me. Although it’s entirely possible that it was just coincidence and my hormones began to regulate the soon after I started drinking it, it doesn’t hurt to have a glass everyday just in case.
3:30pm: Leftover spinach ravioli topped with olive oil and Parm. Plus a side salad and another Mason jar of water.
I skipped lunch in favor of taking a nap, and both June Bug and I woke up starving. I’m getting impressively good at eating while she nurses.
5:30pm: Fried zucchini.
There are lots of benefits to living 1/4 mile from your Mama. One of them is that she’ll randomly bring you delicious food (which I suspect is really just an excuse to see the baby). That’s okay, fried zucchini is awesome.
7:30pm-10:30pm: Another snack plate: cherries, a Babybel, a hard boiled egg, tomatoes, cantaloupe, and a granola bar. More water.
Baby Girl is a big fan of evening cluster feeding, which means for about three hours every night, I’m camped out at the end of the futon in her nursery feeding her pretty much nonstop. Thank heavens for my iPad, handheld snacks, and an attentive husband. And the fact that babies eventually grow out of cluster feeding. These KIND granola bars have been a staple since June Bug was born. I ordered them in bulk and literally have a dozen boxes stashed in the nursery closet.
1:00am: Granola bar, applesauce and water
Squeezy applesauce is an awesome middle-of-the-night nursing snack. Just enough sugar to give me a bit of energy to stay awake, but not so much that I feel wired.
3:30am: Granola bar, banana with PB, and water
The 3am nursing session is my favorite because it’s such a sweet, quiet time with my baby girl, but man, I am always SO hungry by this point (but entirely too sleep deprived to head to the kitchen for “real” food). I’ve been trying to make up snack plates in the evening so they’re easy to grab-and-go when she wakes up in the middle of the night.
6:00am: Trail mix and water.
This is the part of the morning where I have to decide to get up for the day or go back to bed. Usually I stay up and spend some quiet time with the little lady before breakfast, and that requires fuel. I keep a bowl of trail mix by my nursing station for quick and easy snacking.
And then the whole cycle starts over again!