Alright, so your baby is a scrumptious gift of delicious, adorable goodness … but let’s be real: she/he’s also a little thief.
First, your precious unborn yoinked your waistline, your energy, and your assumption of being able to commute to work without carrying sick bags.
And now? She/he’s after your sleep – the black holes around your eyes are evidence of that – and, if you’re breastfeeding, your sneaky little squish monster is after your nutrients, too.
Yep — what baby wants, baby gets. Your body gets fed last, sister. So, if you aren’t packing away enough nutrients for the both of you, your body will start guzzling your nutrient reserves in order to nourish your baby.
Breastfeeding for weight loss?
It’s why breastfeeding is usually great for weight loss (because bubba is busy consuming a chunk of your food!). But even if you want to lose the extra pounds, you absolutely do not want to lose your health in the process.
And even if you’re eating a balanced diet complete with plenty of veggies, fruits, lean proteins, and whole grains, you’re still a lactation powerhouse. Which is why there are a few key nutrients you’ll need to make sure you get more of.
The nutrients your breastfeeding body is craving right now
It’s super obvious when you think about it: if you’re making milk, you need more calcium than normal.
Since you definitely don’t need one more thing to remember, pair up your habits: always eat a calcium-rich snack while you’re breastfeeding or pumping. Noshing on some cheese and whole grain crackers (no wine, *tears*) while feeding can turn another mumma-chore into a cozy break time.
If your diet needs to be dairy-free, heaps of plant foods have the calcium you need. Soy, beans, lentils, almonds, and calcium fortified plant milks are great places to start.
Making breastmilk is magic – you’re brewing up the elixir of life, you enchanting sorceress. And life needs protein and DNA.
Enter zinc: an essential nutrient for building proteins and everything baby’s body needs in order to, well, be a body.
Remember the whole grain crackers and cheese we just talked about? Girl, you’re in luck. Whole grains are a great source of zinc, so that snack kills two birds. You can also find zinc in beans, nuts, red meat, and poultry.
Whether you’re nursing or not, blood loss from childbirth (and in the weeks following) leaves you lacking the iron you need to feel your best.
And with all the new demands on you (caring for a human while achieving zombie-status sleep deprivation, figuring out a new family dynamic and fending off unwanted advice like a maternal ninja warrior), you seriously need to keep your energy up.
Meat is a great source of iron. But if you’re not wild about steak, make sure to have dark green veggies like broccoli, spinach, or kale regularly. And pair them with orange juice or other citrus fruits – vitamin C helps get iron into your cells like name-dropping gets you into a club.
If you were still leaving the house, that is.
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