Do you think you’re eating for two? Well, if you’re pregnant, you’re mistaken, but if you’re nursing, you are closer to the truth…
The Pregnancy Myth
Many women feel that pregnancy is a good time to overeat, even considering it good for their growing baby’s nutritional needs. But doing so can cause complications for mother and baby, including excessive weight gain, lethargy, heartburn, back and leg pain, and even gestational diabetes. Another risk involved with overeating is a baby that’s too big, which can cause obstruction during a normal delivery, increase the chance of injury to the baby, or the likelihood of having a Cesarean.
Remember, you’re not feeding an extra adult! Pregnant women only need about 300 extra calories a day to assist their body’s baby-making. Some pregnant women do claim to be hungry all the time, and this may be due to a faster metabolism. If you’re hungry, eat small meals or snacks every two or three hours, but make sure you’re making healthy choices!
Fore more information, or for meal and snack ideas, please read this article: The Myth of Eating for Two.
Breastfeeding: Eating for Two NOW?
Although it may seem hard to believe, a nursing mother needs up to twice as many extra calories a day as a woman in her second and third trimesters of pregnancy. A breastfeeding mom needs about 500 extra calories daily–some women as much as 800– to produce as much milk as her baby needs. It’s necessary to help her recover from birth and to generate an adequate milk supply for her baby.
You may find yourself even more ravenous than you were during pregnancy. Focus on feeding your hunger by making healthy choices. It takes a lot of energy to not just feed, but care for, your newborn. Eat whole grains, fresh fruits and veges, and avoid refined sugars. Get adequate protein, either through meat or nuts and legumes. And be sure to drink plenty of water. Your milk is 87 percent water, so you also need to up the fluid intake. Don’t forget that whatever you eat is turned into food for your baby, so make it good!
If you are not eating enough, you may find yourself feeling unnaturally hungry, thirsty or fatigued. And your baby may not be getting enough milk, making him fussy and always wanting to nurse.
Try not to worry too much about loosing your pregnancy weight. Instead of dieting, focus on exercising and eating well-balanced meals that will enhance your milk supply. Many nursing mothers are pleasantly surprised to find that the weight slips off without excessive efforts.