As I sit here sipping my "Earth Mama’s No More Milk" tea, I recall my experiences with breastfeeding. I just weaned my son two days ago. Wow was it a struggle, no not for him but for me. I miss our bonding time. I’m happy to know that some moms are able to breastfeed as long as they can, but for me it wasn’t an option. With twelve hour work days, breastfeeding had to go. I plug my nose and drink up hoping not to taste the strong hint of peppermint. My milk will be all gone soon. My little one is a toddler now, and not as dependent on me as before.
Breastfeeding is a hard job, but I love it. It fills you with so many emotions and brings your little one and you closer. The love hormone, Oxytocin, plays a big part in that. Even though, breastfeeding is different on everyone’s body, for me it was something that didn’t allow me to lose any weight. People say that you shed pounds incredibly fast while breastfeeding but that wasn't the case for me. I also had such a hard time eating healthy when I just had my baby. I was in a dilemma. I wanted to lose weight but also be able to produce enough milk so we wouldn’t have to use formula. Being a mom that just went back to a full time school schedule, it was very difficult. Somehow eating a lot of food correlated with producing more milk. I am happy to find out that it’s not just my body reacting that way. After discussing breastfeeding with other moms I found out that they too had the same problem. During breastfeeding I would just get really thirsty and hungry. The breastfeeding weight loss program that everyone keeps talking about didn't work for me. Now I have gained insight to keep healthy snacks nearby while breastfeeding.
Did you know that the food you eat will affect your baby? Whenever I ate cabbage my baby would cry for three hours non-stop and his tummy was gassy. Most veggies were out of the question unfortunately. Green beans, garlic, onions, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, and cabbage can make a small baby gassy. Trust me it’s true! I can recall my first mother’s day, my husband decided to surprise me with some Russian food. It was a little restaurant by the beach where I just finished my pediatrics seminar across the street. In the excitement of Russian food, I forgot and ate Borsche. Borsche is a soup filled with lots of veggies including shredded cabbage. Not soon after I breastfeed my little one and we headed back home did the three hour session of crying start. He usually didn’t have crying fits but this one was bad. We paced room to room to find a solution. Carried him, rubbed his belly, put a warm compress on it, and soothed him. Nothing helped until a couple of hours later.
So what can you eat during breastfeeding? Good healthy options are steaming some veggies that won’t upset your baby’s tummy such as asparagus, carrots, and zucchini. Green morning smoothies are a good option (see recipe below). All types of salads are a great option as well. My favorite became the Greek salad. I honestly craved sweets during my early breastfeeding months like a madman. It was so difficult to focus eating healthy. I wanted chocolate all the time! Cocoa powder was another option that I tried and put it into my shakes but it wasn’t the best choice for me it tasted a little strange. My favorite sweet was cottage cheese with either melon or strawberry jam. A good option is to also make sure that you are getting enough vegetables in your diet. If you fill up on 3 cups of veggies and 2 cups of fruit it will be really filling and you won’t crave sweets. I know that’s what I will do next pregnancy. What are your healthy alternatives?