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I can't seem to find time to eat 3 meals a day anymore. I usually eat a bowl of cereal at breakfast and then for lunch either I don't eat or if I do it's a sandwich and then I always eat dinner. I don't usually snack in between. So I estimate I am eating about 1500 calories a day, maybe less. Is that enough? I don't know if it's paranoia, but my daughter is always so fussy, and I'm beginning to think it's because she's constantly hungry? She nurses every 1-2 hours except at night and she is about a little over 5 months old. Is is super important to consume a certain number of calories per day if you are breastfeeding?
Just be sure you are eating to your hunger. If you stomach starts to growl, then have a small snack. If you're the type that doesn't typically get hungry or gets too busy to eat, try to squeeze in a few small snacks. You could keep something like granola bars or trail mix handy and have a bite when you think of it. I think you need around 300 extra calories to keep up an adequate milk supply, so it may not hurt to add some into your day. Usually eating to your hunger is enough, but some women need to make an extra effort to get enough calories.
Andrea, mom to 3 beautiful girls - Abigail (8) Annabelle (5) and Alexis (3)
It's my understanding that milk dries up if you consume less than 1500 calories per day. I'd recommend buying a couple cases of energy/protein bars and eat a couple every day. Or possibly drink a carnation instant breakfast every morning with your bowl of cereal.
1. A breastfeeding mother has to be obsessive about what she eats. Not true ! A breastfeeding mother should try to eat a balanced diet, but neither needs to eat any special foods nor avoid certain foods. A breastfeeding mother does not need to drink milk in order to make milk. A breastfeeding mother does not need to avoid spicy foods, garlic, cabbage or alcohol. A breastfeeding mother should eat a normal healthful diet. Although there are situations when something the mother eats may affect the baby, this is unusual. Most commonly, "colic", "gassiness" and crying can be improved by changing breastfeeding techniques, rather than changing the mother's diet. (Handout #2 Colic in the Breastfed Baby).
2. A breastfeeding mother has to eat more in order to make enough milk. Not true ! Women on even very low calorie diets usually make enough milk, at least until the mother's calorie intake becomes critically low for a prolonged period of time. Generally, the baby will get what he needs. Some women worry that if they eat poorly for a few days this also will affect their milk. There is no need for concern. Such variations will not affect milk supply or quality. It is commonly said that women need to eat 500 extra calories a day in order to breastfeed. This is not true. Some women do eat more when they breastfeed, but others do not, and some even eat less, without any harm done to the mother or baby or the milk supply. The mother should eat a balanced diet dictated by her appetite. Rules about eating just make breastfeeding unnecessarily complicated.
3. A breastfeeding mother has to drink lots of fluids. Not true ! The mother should drink according to her thirst. Some mothers feel they are thirsty all the time, but many others do not drink more than usual. The mother's body knows if she needs more fluids, and tells her by making her feel thirsty. Do not believe that you have to drink at least a certain number of glasses a day. Rules about drinking just make breastfeeding unnecessarily complicated.
Although women may not need "extra" calories while breastfeeding, it doesn't seem like you're eating enough (even if you weren't breastfeeding). I have my background in nutrition, and a bowl of cereal, no lunch, then dinner isn't enough for you! Do you have a lack of appetite, or are you trying to keep your weight down?
I want to eat but I just don't feel like it, if that makes sense. Right after I had Brianna I had NO appetite. I weigh 140 and I'm 5'9 so I have a healthy body weight. I am just worried that how I am eating is affecting my milk supply.
It sounds like you are eating fewer than 1500 calories, unless you are having a pretty high calorie dinner? The above poster said less than 1500 will affect your supply, so it may be. 1500 is too low even if you're reaching that. If you don't feel like eating but feel you need to eat more I would just make sure there are foods in your home that you just love to eat (even when you're not hungry). Basically, eat anything that sounds good to you! Also, maybe choose some foods that pack in a lot of nutrition in a small amount of food such as peanut butter, almonds, walnuts, cheese, Boost brand drinks. For the time being, you may want to choose higher fat/calorie items of the things that you are eating. Meaning if you are using fat free milk, try 2%. If you're eating rice krispies or Special K, replace that with a granola or shredded wheat. It may be a myth, but some say almonds and oatmeal help with your supply too. Hope this helps!
I am one of those "too busy to eat" types. I get involved in whatever I'm doing and honest to gosh I forget to eat! I've started carrying snacks with me in my diaper bag, so that no matter where I am I can munch. Just some cereals, protein bars (There is a brand sold at Motherhood Maternity that is supposedly formulated for mothers... it has oatmeal and such in it. I forget what it is called, but even if it is a sham they taste yummy and are the same price as other protein bars) I even carry the 100 calorie packs with me!
I also like to stop at a local smoothie shop when I am running my errands and grab a protien smoothie. It has peanutbutter, bananas, and whey protien in it... and also a little chocolate to make it yummy. I bet it is easy to make at home if you have a blender, and is great for breakfast! I like it because it is high in calories and protein and I can take it with me when I am "too busy" to eat.
I agree with the others, even if you are eating 1500 calories a day, eating a small breakfast, and then nothing at all until the evening, is not very healthy, especially when you are nursing. It isn't good for your metabolism, even if you are eating enough calories to sustain your energy level. It would almost be better to eat small snacks during the day and then a smaller dinner if you really want to keep to your caloric intake.