Feeding the beast

Happy holidays everyone! This little elf turned one month old last week and I can’t quite believe it. The first two weeks were a total blur, dotted with wonderful visits from family and friends - and Amazon purchases made at 3am to try and appease a slightly colicky baby. But I feel like we turned the first corner and things get easier every day. It also helps that he’s super cute, even while screaming.

In this week’s post “Feeding the Beast”, the beast I’m referring to is me (pregnancy hunger has nothing on breastfeeding hunger) and also my 13lb infant (!) who eats pretty much every hour or two. If you’re breastfeeding, the two main things are to stay hydrated and to allow yourself an extra 300-500 calories in order to make an adequate amount of milk. Breastfeeding uses approximately 500 calories per day so it’s important to give into your increased appetite (while making good choices of course!). I know it can be tempting to try and get back to your pre-baby weight quickly, but just remember this is a critical time of nourishment for your body and your baby.

Once your baby has arrived, you likely won’t have the time, energy or the free hands to do much in the kitchen, but with a little prep beforehand and following a few simple guidelines once he has arrived, you can sustain your energy and sanity. I can attest that a well-fed mom is a happier mom!

Before baby arrives:

  1. Cook ahead. Fill your freezer with a few meals that you can easily defrost and enjoy such as turkey meatballs, chili and hearty soups. You don’t have to dedicate days to cooking if you don’t want to, just starting doubling portions in the weeks leading up to D-Day and freeze half of what you make.

  2. Fill your fridge. Stocking up on groceries before you head to the hospital will ensure you have some snacks on hand for when you get home and also, if you are lucky enough to have friends or family around to help, they can whip up some meals for you.

  3. Scout healthy take-out options. When all else fails, make sure you have a few go-to spots for things other than pizza and chinese food.

After baby arrives:

  1. Stay hydrated! The general rule is to drink an 8oz glass of water every time the baby feeds to stay properly hydrated but listen to your body.

  2. Choose nutritious snacks. They should contain a mix of protein, fat and fiber to keep you satiated and a few good examples are hummus, nut butters, avocado, veggies and smoothies. Calcium, iron and vitamin C are a few other key nutrients to dial up in your diet that will benefit both you and baby.

  3. Don’t cut back on carbs - just make sure you’re choosing the rights ones such as whole grain bread, quinoa or brown rice

  4. Increase your consumption of healthy fats - such as salmon, flax and nuts for those Omega-3’s which help with brain and nerve development in your baby

  5. Read nutrition and ingredient labels. Ideally you want to choose foods that:

    - Do not contain high-fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils and anything with a number + a color which is a food dye. These can alter hormones in your body.

- Have less than 6 grams of sugar

- Have at least 3 grams of fiber and 3 grams of protein

- Tip: these rules hold true regardless if you are pregnant, postpartum or just trying to be healthy!