Eating a healthy diet and finding your groove after child-birth can be very tricky! I mean, let’s think about it for a second, you just spent 9 months growing a human inside of you. Now the little human is out, and your left with what? You’re left with nothing but a different looking body and a newborn baby who constantly needs nurturing. With that said, besides mothering your sweet baby, caring for your health is the single, most important thing you could do as a breastfeeding mom!
So how do you keep a consistent healthy diet when your life has changed in an instant? That is a great question, Mama!
While I grew up in a healthy home, lived a healthy and fit life my whole life, and have had a career as a dance instructor for over 4 years, I was totally shocked when I ended up finding a healthy lifestyle after pregnancy, harder than I expected.
Towards the beginning of my postpartum/breastfeeding journey, I struggled with routine. From finding a routine to keeping a routine, I had absolutely no routine. This meant eating whatever, whenever I wanted.
Towards the middle of my journey, I struggled with keeping weight/muscle on myself (because I was breastfeeding, I lost a ton of weight). I found it extremely hard to know what to eat that would be simple enough to easily prepare with one arm (#MOMLIFE #THEJUGGLEISREAL #AMIRIGHTMAMA).
Furthermore, based upon my prior experiences as a fellow breastfeeding mama who has experienced health struggles in many different forms during her postpartum journey, here are my tips that I discovered along the way on how to live a healthy diet when you are breastfeeding.
This post contains affiliate links in which I make a profit on. But as one mama to another, I wouldn’t recommend anything that I didn’t love!
Additionally, I am not a doctor; just a mama basing this information off my own experiences as a mother, athlete, and prior research. Please consult your doctor before proceeding with any of the following information!
Focus On Protein
Protein is essential to a breastfeeding mom’s diet to give them what they need to obtain muscle and overall health. As our babies are receiving nutrients from us, we need to ensure that we are replenishing the nutrients that we are giving to our babies. One easy and convenient way of doing so is through protein powders or protein bars. I love protein supplements because they are extremely quick to consume and can even be eaten or drank while breastfeeding.
My absolutely favorite protein supplements are REDCON1’s MRE Protein Powder and MRE Bars because they are made out of whole foods and will not cause you digestive issues while breastfeeding. (USE MY CODE: T10TaylorBe FOR 10% OFF)
Consume ENOUGH Food
You have to always keep in mind that breastfeeding burns at least 500 calories per day! This means we should be eating a larger amount of food than the normal persons recommended portions. According to babycenter.com, we should be consuming an average of 2,000 to 2,500 calories everyday.
Listen To Your Body
While the recommended amount of calories to consume while breastfeeding is between 2,000 and 2,500, you should always listen to your body! To simplify, if your stomach is growling and you are over your calories for the day, I recommend still continuing to meet your body’s needs. This is because your mombod is geared to do everything it can to be a successful source of nourishment for your child. However, while paying attention to how you feel, keep in mind this should not be taken overboard. Be intuitive and always keep this method based upon a balanced diet.
Eat Frequent Snacks
So how do you meet the needs and high calories that your body needs to breastfeed? Instead of stuffing yourself with large meals that will make you feel full only periodically, try eating frequent snacks. Eating frequent, fueling snacks throughout the day will help keep you from over eating and still obtain the successful amount of calories needed.
Also Related: Your Gluten-Free Snack Guide: 31 Gluten-Free Snack Ideas
Pay Attention To Calcium Consumption
Your body naturally stores calcium in its bones. Furthermore, if you are not eating or drinking enough calcium rich items than your body will use the stored calcium to pass down to your baby through your breast milk. With that said, consuming calcium is essential to bone health.
There are many calcium-heavy foods, which means that you do not have to limit yourself to just cow’s milk. (LET’S HERE IT FOR MY DAIRY-FREE MAMAS!)
Foods and drinks such as
- Collard Greens
- Sweet Potato
- Corn Tortillas
- Orange Juice
All contain high levels of calcium.
Also Related: All About Dairy-Free Diet For Breastfeeding Moms
Consume Iron Rich Nutrients
Iron rich foods will replenish your body with lost nutrients, and in return give you more energy. (Exactly what us mamas need!)
Iron Rich nutrients include
- Dark Chocolate
Additionally, another option to loading up on iron is through a supplement. Iron supplements make it easy to confirm that you are getting enough of the nutrient in your body.
Include Green Leafy Vegetables In Your Diet
Green, leafy veggies are important to include into your breastfeeding diet for multiple reasons, such as but not limited to gut health, they are high in antioxidants, they are natural fat burners, and aid digestion.
As a human in general, but especially as a busy mom, it can be hard to consume enough leafy greens. (I mean we can be honest here, I would much rather eat the iron rich DARK CHOCOLATE than three cups of spinach any day. Can you relate?)
For this reason, I find it easiest to supplement my greens with a premium green superfood supplement. While still making an effort to eat veggies regularly, I can be sure that I am consuming enough by taking it in a powder form as well.
Omega 3’s Are Your Friend
As postpartum mama’s our hormones are bound to fluctuate. That’s just the name of the game. Likewise, as breastfeeding mamas, these fluctuating hormones can be even more intense. Omega 3’s help balance those hormones!
Additionally, Omega 3’s improve blood flow during exercise, increase your metabolism, and help with that joint pain that happens after your baby transforms your body.
Take A Postnatal Vitamin
Taking a postnatal vitamin is one of the simplest, yet most important things you can do for your breastfeeding, postpartum body. A good postnatal vitamin will provide you with the vitamins and minerals that are necessary for your body to function at the best of its ability.
I have been taking the PREMAMA Organic Prenatal Gummies and have been loving them.(While titled “Prenatal”, they are recommended for postnatal too.) Several things that I like about them are they contain iron and DHA, omega 3’s, B vitamins, folate, and they taste great! I also love that they are gluten-free and vegan because I do not consume gluten or dairy, due to mine and my son’s allergies.
Consume Complex Carbohydrates
Complex carbohydrates will give you immediate energy, better brain function (#MOMMYBRAINSUCKS), aids digestion, and is a must for metabolism health.
Complex carbohydrates come in many forms such as
- Sweet potatoes
You Knew It Was Coming…DRINK WATER!
According to waterstories.nestle-waters.com, the average breastfeeding mom loses 750-850 mL of breast milk every day! That’s a lot! While lacking to drink water will not affect your breast milk, it will affect you. The absence of water can, furthermore, lead to Mom feeling fatigued.
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