I’m used to talking about fueling for athletics, but nursing is its own sport.
In it, you spend a lot of time sitting around, and that sitting around really wipes you out!
When I first started breastfeeding Corban, a few days into it I noticed that I was only going to the bathroom a few times a day. After being pregnant and peeing every hour or two, this actually was a welcome break – but definitely not a healthy one. All my fluids were going into producing milk and I clearly was dehydrated.
I really have to make an effort to drink lots of water right now. It’s easy to get thirsty when you’re watching your baby lie there and drink for minutes on end, but unless you have a glass of water right beside you, it’s also easy to forget to grab one when he’s done eating and you’re free to move about again. Tip #1: Keep a full glass of water at your side when you nurse – and drink it!
TMI alert, but my digestive system kind of got out of whack after delivery, and the aforementioned dehydration from nursing didn’t help it. This can cause some uncomfortable… situations. My doctor recommended eating probiotics to get things back on track, and that has helped a lot. BUT, those Activia yogurts, in my opinion, taste awful. They are so loaded with sugar it’s sickening. So… Tip #2: Make probiotic smoothies. Blend frozen fruit, milk and yogurt, top with unsweetened coconut, and you’ve got yourself a tasty recipe for digestive health. I’ve been enjoying pomegranate-berry yogurt with frozen blueberries and banana, and vanilla yogurt with frozen raspberries and banana. It tastes like frozen yogurt (I guess it technically is).
At the times of day when your baby is eating most often, at least if you have a ridiculously hungry baby like I do, you’re going to get ridiculously hungry and not have time to prepare a nutritious snack. Or you might be carrying baby around and only have one hand free to grab something. Tip #3: Have easy, healthful, one-handed food ready to grab. As much as I wanted a clementine the other evening between nursing sessions, there was just no way I could put down my crabby baby long enough to peel one. Grapes were the better option. Little things like washing apples before putting them in the fridge and keeping a bowl full of almonds on the counter will make a big difference when you’re desperate for a quick snack.
Tip #4: Eat meals in parts. If you don’t have time to eat a full meal before baby demands milk, just eat part of it then and part of it after the nursing session is over. Breaking up meals will also help keep you fueled throughout the day. Don’t be afraid to have breakfast: part one at 4 a.m.! If you feel hungry, eat. I’ve definitely had toast in the middle of the night.
Tip #5: Cook when you have time. You can plan to make dinner at 5 p.m. every night, but there’s no telling what could happen when the time rolls around (assuming your baby can be as unpredictable as mine when it comes to feeding times). Make dinner when you have time and aren’t starving, like during a long nap earlier in the day, and then just heat it up at mealtime. It’s no fun spending time preparing dinner only to be interrupted by baby’s hungry faces right before you’re about to sit down to eat. Nursing while hungry can also leave you very drained.
Nursing moms, any tips to add?