Breastfeeding & Paleo

I’ve been nursing a 3-month old baby and eating “paleo” style for 1 month now. What an adventure both are! First of all, I was really nervous about breastfeeding because I had no idea what it would feel like and if I’d be successful or not. I had heard some horror stories involving cracked nipples and bleeding and proceeded with caution. Thankfully, breastfeeding has been going successfully! If you want to read some of the benefits of breastfeeding, you can read about it here.

Anyway, now to shed off that baby weight. I’m not much of an adventurer when it comes to dieting. For one thing, I can never stick to it. Secondly, I’ve never found a diet that I really liked or was happy with the results. It was always either starve yourself and lose weight (which I’m not about) OR “eat lots of this and not this” and you slowly/barely see results. Nevertheless, I feel like with all of the fab diets and weight loss gimmicks..the secret to weight loss is really just.. EXERCISE! Haha.

I gained about 22-25 lbs with this first baby. I danced until I was about 3 months. Then, in the second trimester, I walked about 15-30 minutes at least 3 times a week. But, in the last trimester, I hardly exercised due to exhaustion and, well, discomfort. So, now after about 2 months, my husband and I decided to change our diets. We researched Paleo, which is basically cutting out all carbs, all processed foods, and all sweets…like how the good ol’ hunters and gatherers ate. (Basically, if you can grow it or hunt it, then it’s OK!) It’s not really a diet (I’m not doing this to lose weight, although you can),rather a lifestyle.

While trying to adhere to the Paleo guidelines, (click the link and check out the really easy graphic organizer..love me some good graphic organizers!) as well as breastfeed, I’ve noticed some significant changes:

  • Frequency of eating has increased (I get hungry really fast)
  • Have to drink plenty of fluids
  • When I’m not consuming enough calories (about 1500-1800/day), I start to feel weak & tired.
  • With minimal exercise, I still feel leaner (everything seems a bit tighter, ha!)
  • With regular exercise, the husband has lost about 5 lbs.
Things to keep in mind while breastfeeding and eating Paleo…
  • Make sure you are consuming the required amount of calories/day (2000-2500) not including the 200-500 you burn from nursing
  • Wait until you’ve established your milk supply before going on any sort of diet or changing your eating habits dramatically (I waited 2 months when I became a little more confident about nursing)
  • A sudden drop in calories may reduce milk supply (I can attest to this. It’s very important you eat as many calories as you’ll need so your milk supply is plentiful and your body isn’t using up its’ reserves to sustain itself.)
  • Avoid quick-fix diets (I’m not too sure those even work, especially when you’re breastfeeding)
  • If you are trying to lose weight, don’t lose more than 2 lbs per week (according to here and here)
  • Make sure you eat a well balanced meal…and if you don’t, supplement other food groups for snack
  • Snack often!
  • Oh! Last, but not least, keep taking your Prenatals! (Believe it or not, I can feel the difference on the days I remember to take it versus the days I forget. Take them!)
Again, I’m not an expert, by no means at all. I’m still learning…and I love it! If you have found a diet that has worked for you or you have some helpful breastfeeding tips, do share! I’m all ears..or, wait a minute, EYES!
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9 thoughts on “Breastfeeding & Paleo

    • Haha. Thanks. Yes try them! They are actually pretty good. I thought cooking and marinating without salt wouldn’t taste good, but it’s pretty tasty!

  1. Omg paleo!! I did strict paleo for a month and now I do paleo about 70/30. I’ve learned to love seasoning foods with natural ingredients like garlic, onions..ooh try basil! I like paleo..it just makes a lot of sense 🙂 Here’s a good site for recipes! http://nomnompaleo.com/recipeindex

    • Wow! Oh I love nom nom ‘s blog. yes, I would say I’m about 70/30 too now. I never knew food could taste so good with just seasonings and no salt! Haha. do you have kids? What do you like most about this paleo lifestyle? I’m still finding lots of pro’s but some cons. I’d love to hear about your experience with it!

      • Melinda, it’s christina silly! I am le trango haha. I guess I should’ve told you that. I love paleo and it makes you feel great but it can be inconvenient sometimes like going out with your friends and stuff. I notice that I had less gas eating paleo haha and I lost about 3 lbs. I still think it comes down to portions though if you want to change your body. I’ve been eating smaller portions and I notice my energy level is a lot better! (I guess my body was sleepy trying to digest food hehe)

      • Oh! Haha. I was wondering if I knew you.. But you never know with these blogs and stuff. Ok, yes, I feel the same way about the energy thing.. Our bodies do have to work harder to digest crappier foods so it makes sense. But yes it is inconvenient at times.. Like going out, having to chop a bunch of veggies all the time (lots of dishes and mess), but I do feel healthier. Haha. How was your weekend? Crazy?

        Sent from my iPhone

  2. I have a 3 month old, i’m breastfeeding, working out, and have been doing paleo for the last two years on and off. Since i got pregnant i stuck to paleo 80/20 and only gained a total of 3 pounds during my pregnancy. Of course I lost 12 from my pre-prego weight after i gave birth and it was all thanks to Paleo. No stretch marks or complications during the birth. Now, I’ve been doing Insanity so it’s a very intense workout but I get really tired and sleepy and I don’t think I’m consuming enough calories. I’m also not taking my prenatals. What do you suggest I eat to increase calories if i’m already doing three meals a day plus two snacks? should the net calories per day be around 2000? excluding those burned by exercise and breast feeding?

    thanks for your time.

    • Well I’m no expert, but I’m pretty sure the reason why you are getting tired is because you’re not consuming enough calories. You should be consuming 2000/day excluding what you lose from breastfeeding which is.. I believe.. About 500 calories/day… So try increasing your calorie intake to a minimum of 2500 calories a day. I also felt tired when I didn’t take my prenatals so I took them up into a year after birth..(I should still be taking them now but haven’t been diligent). I’m back on to paleo now.. Maybe 60/40 and feel pretty good. Insanity is insane! My husband and I did that for a bit too but when we lived in an apt.. We made too much noise from all the jumping and such. Ha! We’ve been doing crossfit and it’s amazing how good you feel when you eat right and work out. They compliment each other.. Who knew! Good luck!

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