Should I eat at night while breastfeeding? Experts explain
When breastfeeding, it’s quite common to feel like you can trample the whole world in one sitting, and then come back for the moon a few minutes later. Feeding a toddler with foods made from your own body … well, that makes you hunger. And for some moms, their most intense hunger can occur in the middle of the night. Why is this exactly? And can breastfeeding moms eat after sunset?
I remember the birth of my own child and my friends kept sending me food. At first I was like, “What are all the cheeses, chocolate covered strawberries and cream filled cakes guys?” And then, about a week into breastfeeding, as I tore pieces of cake with my bare hands, I stuck it in my mouth as fast as I could … I got it. Fortunately, over time things settled down a bit and I no longer wanted to remove the cabinet doors and eat all of their contents. But those first few weeks, I was really hungry.
Eat more while breastfeeding
Crystal Karges is an IBCLC with a Masters in Nutritional Sciences. She is also a mother of five and says lactation is extremely “energy expensive” on the body. “This means that it requires a large amount of energy to produce and maintain a supply of milk. Lactation and the postpartum period often create energy demands on the body that are higher than during pregnancy. For this reason, many breastfeeding mothers may experience increased hunger, more frequent hunger, or more intense hunger. It is simply how the body tries to meet the nutrient requirements necessary to support lactation. “
But what about moms who find their stomachs start to growl in the early hours of the morning? Is it okay to rest with a ham sandwich at 2 a.m.?
“Many babies breastfeed 24 hours a day, including at night,” says Karges. “With increased feedings during the day and at night, moms may also feel hungry at night when feeding their babies. It may also be contributed to the combination of hormonal fluctuations and sleep deprivation, which, in addition to higher nutritional requirements, can intensify hunger signals during the night.
The good news? The midnight snack is perfectly good. “It’s important to remember that hunger is just how our body communicates a need that we have. It is not something that we should ignore or try to suppress, ”explains Karges. “And you don’t need to feel guilty for feeding your body, no matter what time of day. The better you are able to satisfy your hunger, the easier it will be for you to take care of yourself and nourish your body appropriately. It’s also important to eat enough and respond to your hunger cues, even if they occur in the middle of a nighttime feeding session with your baby, to maintain your milk supply while breastfeeding. “
Healthy breastfeeding snack options
You may be wondering: but what should I eat? Can I tread on that cold pizza and that bag of barbecue fritos? Well, yes you can, but there might be better, healthier options out there. Betty Greenman is an IBCLC with Breastfeeding With Love, and she has many snack suggestions for nursing mothers that are good for the day or night: “Oatmeal is one of the best foods for breastfeeding mothers. increase your milk supply. It contains manganese, phosphorus, copper, iron, selenium, magnesium and zinc. A handful of almonds is also a good snack. Almonds provide many important nutrients including antioxidants, fiber and healthy fats, protein, magnesium, and vitamin E. It also lowers blood sugar levels, lowers blood pressure, and lowers blood sugar levels. cholesterol. Yogurt is rich in micronutrients and macronutrients, such as carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. ”
She also suggests things like hard-boiled eggs, raw vegetables dipped in hummus, and multigrain bars. “Keep the bars in a basket nearby, on your coffee table or on your bedside table, so you can grab them and go!” No matter what time of day, meet this need. Just like you feed your baby whenever he is hungry, feed yourself too.