*Disclaimer: I am not a lactation consultant or a medical provider. I am sharing my personal experience of nursing a 5 month old baby during a round of Whole 30. Please consult your own provider to discuss Whole 30 and ensure it’s the right choice for you and your baby.
When I decided to do my first round of Whole 30, I was 5 months postpartum. Part of the reason I felt like I needed to do it was because my choices, my relationship with food and my body were crap. If you are reading this, you may have a newborn (Congratulations!) and know the mental fog and physical exhaustion that comes along with that cute, squishy little sweetie. I loved my sweet new boy, but I was eating bagels every morning, carb heavy sandwiches for lunch and pizza for dinner. Oh, but I had a side of salad, so good right? Ummmmm…NOPE.
I felt gross, hated wearing all my clothes and just needed something to change immediately. I did my research, started planning, and eased my way into a Whole 30-ish lifestyle. I am fortunate that I can stay home with my children, so time in the kitchen wasn’t as much of an issue. I started replacing my morning bagel with eggs, veggies and avocado, learned to make sweet potato hash and I was off.
Maintaining my supply was really important to me, so there were some strategies I used to make sure my new eating program wasn’t going to impact that.
I made sure my portions were on the bigger side. Breastfeeding leaves a gal HUNGRY, so I made sure to fill my plate with all the items from all the categories of the meal template. I ate lots of veggies and specifically made sure to include starchy vegetables, like potatoes, squash and beets. I also ate leafy greens. My son didn’t really have any sensitivities, but be mindful if things like broccoli, cauliflower or Brussels sprouts make your babe gassy. Also, if you’re making a switch from a diet high in processed food to a diet high in veggies and quality protein, you want to make sure you are eating enough calories. While the Whole 30 program isn’t about counting calories, you need to be getting enough to make milk.
I ate mini meals. Whole 30 specifically identifies pregnancy and breastfeeding as instances where ‘snacking’ is not only allowed, but encouraged. I ate my snacks in the form of mini meals- smaller versions of the meal template including protein, fat and veggies. For example, a hard-boiled egg, cucumber slices and guacamole, or shredded chicken with Frank’s red hot, dump ranch and celery sticks would be something I would eat after breakfast and then push lunch back a bit.
I drank water. A LOT of water. Life with a baby can get busy and distracting, so I kept a water bottle filled all the time and just kept drinking. Don’t force water down, but drink when you are thirsty and stay hydrated. I found I was always thirsty.
I nursed on demand. You need to have your baby nurse and empty your breast in order to make more. The more you breastfeed, the more milk you’ll make. I will also say, my baby was 5 months and we had a well-established breastfeeding relationship. I don’t think I would have started my round until this was the case, but that’s a personal decision you need to make. Obviously, there are special circumstances, where other factors are involved and this is where I am going to refer to the disclaimer above, and you should absolutely speak with a lactation consultant. Typically, though, you will keep making milk as your baby removes it. If you don’t have the option to nurse on demand, PUMP as frequently as possible!
If you feel like you are doing all the things, and your supply is still dipping, don’t be afraid to make some adjustments. Breastfeeding was important to me, so my goal for my first round was literally to JUST FINISH the 30 days. It wasn’t about weight loss, although I DID lose weight even with enormous portions. I wanted to feel better, take better care of myself and continue to feed my baby.
There are some awesome resources available to you at Whole30 Healthy Mama, Happy Baby and you can find all you need to know about breastfeeding at Kelly Mom.
Did I miss anything, #whole30mama? Is there something else you did that helped you keep your supply up and complete a round of Whole 30?