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.
- 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!)