Hey all you Mommas out there or Soon to Be Ones. This post is all about Breastfeeding and still maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle. Being able to workout and eat healthy while trying to breastfeed can be tricky for some and was especially for me. I had a very hard time maintaining my milk supply and learned a lot of things along the road. I hope I can share some tips with you so you don’t have to deal with the stress and frustration of a hungry baby and you not being able to feed them enough.
How many calories should I be eating while breastfeeding?
First when it comes to nutrition you need to be eating an additional 400-500 calories a day to support your milk production. But if you are also working out while you are breastfeeding then you will need to be replenishing the calories lost during your workout plus that additional 400-500 calories. So for example if I burned 600 calories during my workout then I would be needing to eat around 1,000 extra calories a day. That is a lot when you think about it. This is where I had problems, I was not eating enough to make up for all the lost calories and it showed in my fluctuating milk production. Now not every person is the same and everyone has different metabolisms so this may be a bit of trial and air. You don’t want to be eating to many calories so you start to gain weight either.
What types of food should I be consuming while breastfeeding?
You don’t need to go on any special diet while breastfeeding but you should try to maintain eating a healthy balanced meals. For those extra calories you need to add try and make them whole grains with veggies and fruits. If you need ideas of healthy snack alternatives go check out our pervious posts for ideas.
When it comes to variety of foods and how they will affect your milk and baby make sure you are attentive and aware of how baby reacts to certain foods. If baby is being fussy or has an upset stomach make sure to monitor what foods you have eaten. Some foods you consume can be the cause to a sick baby tummy that you will then need to eliminate.
What types of fluid should I drink and how much should I consume?
Water is your best friend when trying to breastfeed. On average you should be drinking 8 glasses of water a day. But if you are working out then you will need to replenish your water stores after your workout also. A good way to see if you are getting enough is to drink more if your urine is dark yellow. Goal is to have a light yellow to clear urine. The best tip is to drink a large glass of water before you breastfeed every time. This will help increase your milk supply. Have a water bottle with you at all times.
Try and make water your ultimate source of fluid you drink. This is a good rule even if your breastfeeding or not. Be wary of juices and sugary drinks, to much sugar can lead to weight gain. Too Much caffeine can be troublesome, too. Caffeine can interfere with the babies sleep and also cause discomfort in their stomach.
What types of exercise should I do while breastfeeding?
It does not matter what type of exercise you are doing as long as you are eating well and drinking enough. You do want to make sure to not start any intensive workouts until you have been to your 6-week post pregnancy appointment and your Dr. has given you the ok. Start out easy when you get back into working out. Do not over do it and injure yourself. Start with a fast pace walk or with light weight training.
Another thing to be wary of that is common in women after birth is Diastasis Recti. This is a condition where the right and left side of your rectus abdominis have not closed all the way back together. If you do have this you want to be careful doing some core exercises to not agitate them until they are closed. Go check out this website http://www.befitmom.com/diastasis_recti.html for more information about this situation and how to help fix it faster.
Helpful tips if you are having a hard time Breastfeeding
Like I said before I had a very hard time breastfeeding and got mastitis 3 times while breastfeeding my little girl. I was only able to breastfeed for 9 months until my milk dried all the way up. But from all the bad experiences I have learned lots that will help me with my next baby some day. Some things I learned that could help are…
-If you have been having trouble breastfeeding try making yourself and baby comfortable. Think calming thoughts and don’t stress. Your baby can sense you being tense and will not nurse well.
-If your not making enough milk try pumping after your baby has eaten on both sides to stimulate more milk production.
-If your baby does not finish eating all the milk that is in the breast then pump out the rest. You do not want to leave milk in there. If you do it can cause mastitis and will also signal to your body that you do not need to make that much milk. Make sure your baby is eating a full meal every time they nurse and are not just snacking every hour without emptying the breast.
-Another help to increase your milk supply is the herbal supplement Fenugreek. It is a natural herb that has helped many women. You take it in a capsule form and can find it at any natural food store. It recommends to take 2 pills three times a day but the best way to know if your taking enough is when your sweat starts to smell like maple syrup. Haha yes it sounds weird but is true. This herbal supplement helped me a lot!
I hope this post can help some of you in your breastfeeding adventures. It is such an amazing experience between you and your baby that you want to cherish and not stress about. Let me know if you have anymore questions or problems? I don’t know everything but I have been through a lot and learned so much a long the way.