The last 5-7 months, as I’ve figured out Luke’s food intolerances, I’ve had new challenges when it comes to eating. I’ve cut dairy, soy, nuts, and wheat out of my diet. When you suddenly have to avoid foods that have been staples for you, it can be daunting. There are days when I get frustrated and feel sorry for myself, but most of the time I try to stay positive and focus on all the foods I can eat instead.
The time of pregnancy and breastfeeding are the most important times for a woman to eat a nutritionally adequate diet. What I eat supports the health of both me and Luke. I need to make sure I’m eating enough to maintain my milk supply and keep my energy up. My body is working hard to make milk for Luke!
I keep these things in mind as I choose my daily foods. Here’s a snapshot of what a day of my eating looks like, with an estimation of calories, protein, and fat amounts. I wish I had time to calculate all of the nutritional data as I think it would be interesting to see how much of each macronutrient I’m getting, but I just don’t. I don’t usually count my calories, protein, or fat grams, so this was interesting to see what amounts I’m getting.
7: 30 am Breakfast:
I most often eat oatmeal for breakfast. I really like it, plus it is supposed to be good for milk supply. As you can see I eat a huge breakfast. I’m really hungry in the morning and with this diet snacking is hard, so I like to eat enough to keep me full until lunch. This does the trick.
1 cup (dry) old-fashioned oats with 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk, 1 cup water, 1 banana, 1/2 cup wild blueberries, 1/2 cup raspberries, and a huge mound of sunflower seed butter. I also had an unpictured cup of black coffee around breakfast time.
Calories: 785 Protein: 23 grams Fat: 23 grams
12:00 pm Lunch:
I eat a lot of salads for lunch because I like to be able to get a large amount of vegetables (especially leafy greens) in and find it to be the easiest and tastiest way to do that. I always include some sort of protein with it, usually either leftover chicken (like this one), beans, or eggs. As the weather continues to get colder, my salad lunches tend to turn into soup lunches.
Calories: 583 Protein: 20 grams Fat: 33 grams
3:00 pm Snack:
I usually need a small snack between lunch and dinner. I miss all my old go-to snacks (like these high protein energy bites), but I’m finding new snacks I enjoy. These stuffed dates are one of my new favorites.
5 dates filled with sunflower seed butter
Calories: 200 Protein: 3.5 grams Fat: 8 grams
5:30 pm Dinner:
This was a bit of a random dinner, but very good. I was using up some of our CSA corn and tomatoes.
Apple chutney stuffed portobello mushroom, roasted cauliflower and carrots, corn on the cob, and roasted tomatoes.
Calories: 487 calories Protein: 14 grams Fat: 15 grams
8:30 pm (unpictured) Snack
Popcorn air-popped and topped with a drizzle of coconut butter
Calories: 130 Protein: 2 grams Fat: 10 grams
Calories: 2,185 Protein: 62.5 grams Fat: 89 grams
On this particular day, I did a short workout, probably burning about 200 calories. I don’t know exactly how many calories I burn breastfeeding as the information I’ve read varies greatly. One source says that you burn 26 calories for every 1 ounce of milk you produce. When Luke takes a bottle he drinks between 6-9 ounces, so if I take the low end of that for the 5 feedings he has in a day it equals 30 ounces. This means I’m burning close to 800 calories breastfeeding!
If I really do burn that much breastfeeding, this puts my net calories for the day around 1,100. Other sources put that number closer to 500 calories a day, which would put my net calories for the day around 1,400.
My weight is basically staying the same (I’m right about at my pre-pregnancy weight, give or take a few pounds depending on when I weigh myself) and I’m producing a good amount of milk, so I guess I’m eating the right amount.
I try to eat according to hunger. It sounds simple, but it’s so easy to eat out of boredom or as an emotional outlet. When I want to eat, I just make sure I’m eating because I’m truly hungry and stop eating when I’m satisfied. I keep a mental count in my head of if I’m eating enough vegetables and fruits and figure everything else will fall into place as long as I’m getting a good variety of foods throughout each day and week.
Quick disclaimer: I’m just a regular mom trying to do my best to eat well. I’m not a doctor or a dietician. Please seek the advice of your health care provider if you are looking for personal dietary advice as a breastfeeding mom.