My gorgeous little baby boy, Kai, was born on December 12 and I still can’t get over the miracle of birth and to be honest the actual birth all seems very surreal still and I still feel very lucky to have been able to have had a complication free natural birth – which was made a lot less painful with the help of an epidural!
I had always planned on breastfeeding my little boy but nowhere or nothing I had read could have prepared me for the rollercoaster ride that I was about to go on. From the moment he was born he suckled and I thought “yippee this is easy” – how wrong I was….
From the moment I was cleaned up and given my room I had a number of midwives and nurses showing me how to attach properly and there was lots of boob grabbing by people I had never met before. But I didn’t mind and I just got on with it.
But then I would have nurses asking me to show them how I was doing it – then tell me I was doing it wrong – I felt like they were all like Matrons from the “Carry On” movies and it was all getting a bit much and I was like “get me out of the hospital!!”.
Although day 1 was ok – as he slept most of the day – day 2 was a different matter. He was hungry. The colostrum was not plentiful. My nipples were now sore (presumably from me not doing it right!) and he was crying all the time as he was hungry.
This was when the breastfeeding advice was differing from the different nurses – some said to keep on trying with breastfeeding as if I didn’t my milk wouldn’t come in, some said to try some formula to keep his crying down and stop dehydration, some said not to worry as in the Chinese culture the mums always used formula until their milk came in and didn’t need to constant feed colostrum for the milk to come in, and one nurse said for me to stop feeding as if I carried on my nipples would be a complete mess and when my milk did come in I would be absolutely stuffed.
In the end I decided to use a bit of formula to stop the crying and I fed him on the breast every 4 hours (only 10 mins on each side) to keep the milk production stimulated. I must say the relief of using some formula was HUGE as it stopped him from crying and made me feel 1000 times better.
But what was then funny were the disapproving looks and comments I was getting from some people for using formula and I can totally understand why mums feel so guilty for using formula as people make us feel guilty! But I didn’t feel guilty – just relieved and glad that I had a back me up in tough times.
So on day 4 I went home and at this stage my milk had not come in and my boobs had swollen up to what seemed to be the size of Dolly Parton’s and the pain in them was immense.
My stitches from tearing were really beginning to hurt too and Kai’s crying did not stop. He was hungry and the little bit of formula and colostrum he was having was not cutting it.
That night was a shocker – my boobs got more painful, the stitches got more painful, I had a lot of post birth painful contractions, Kai didn’t stop crying and I now had severe upper back pain from constantly holding him as he wouldn’t lie down anywhere and would only not cry when he was in mine or my husband’s arms – and so I had a full on meltdown. Luckily my husband was there to take over and Kai and I competed as to who could cry the most…I think it may have been a draw.
So the day 5 plan was “get me sorted”. So we went and bought and expresser to try and help with my engorged breasts and hope that this would start the milk ball rolling. I also decided I had to get back on the nutrition trail asap as if I wasn’t in taking everything that my cells needed to then everything would be made worse on the milk production and my state of mind and the hospital food was not good nutrition – which is surprising as it really should be!
So I made up a big batch of the Lose Baby Weight smoothies – not to start losing my pregnancy weight – but to ensure that I was getting all the right nutrition. This was definitely a good move as it meant I had a big jug of it in the fridge ready to go and I could get it when Kai was in my arms so I was eating well without having to think about cooking. My smoothie mixture consisted of;
- 2 tbsp of smoothie mix
- 1/4 cup of frozen raspberries
- 1/4 cup of frozen blueberries
- 1/4 x banana
- 300 ml of unsweetened rice milk
- 8-10 ice cubes
All whizzed up in my blender and super quick to make
After expressing I popped Kai on the breasts and within a few hours the pain began subsiding and although they were still huge they were a lot more manageable.
I also stopped fighting the bed time cot sleeping and let him sleep next to me and on me in the night which helped his crying immensely. So on day 6 things were improving. Milk was in. He was feeding regularly and sleeping more at night and I felt better.
As well as my smoothies I also took 4 fish oil tablets a day to help with my back pain (fish oils are anti inflammatory so are great for pain such as back pain or any inflammation in the body and are also good for milk supply and for the baby).
On Day 7 things were even better – as my milk supply was now flowing really well he was eating lots which meant he was sleeping lots! And as such in the day time we were lying him in his cot for 10-15 minute sessions and eventually he is sleeping 1 hour in there – which I am hoping will translate to a night time sleep very soon – and we will be trying tonight!
Re weight loss, we as a Company don’t advocate worrying about your weight in the first couple of months as the most important thing is getting into your routine and feeling healthy and happy – not stressing about how much you weigh.
I have weighed myself and I have approx 12 -14kg to lose to get to my pre pregnancy weight and I intend to do this by following the Lose Baby Weight weight loss plans and adopting a healthy approach to losing the weight.
I aim to start fully focussing on my weight loss in Jan but I am already making sure I eat healthily and trying to move more whenever I can – in the shower this morning I did 100 leg raises whilst washing my hair – and my legs feel good for it! And I know just by doing this and having my smoothies that the weight will start to move and then in January I will give it some proper focus.
So week one is a toughie but I am very much looking forward to the coming weeks and enjoying lots of time with my little man.
About breastfeeding & weight loss
At Lose Baby Weight we believe that breastfeeding and weight loss can go hand in hand and our Healthy Mummy Smoothies & 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge are breastfeeding friendly
More and more mums are breastfeeding their babies for longer these days but mums still want to lose their baby weight whilst breastfeeding and there is much confusion about what mums should or shouldn’t do while combining breastfeeding and weight loss.
Everyone has a different relationship with their body and with their own fitness and weight loss – and this becomes even more apparent after we have had children.
Some mums choose to lose the weight straight away and many others don’t even think about losing weight for a year or two later (or more).
There is no right or wrong time to start thinking about pregnancy weight loss – unless you have a medical problem where weight loss is essential. But instead no one should ever feel pressured to lose weight and you should only do it when you feel 100% emotionally and physically ready to do so.
But if you are breastfeeding and do want to start a losing pregnancy weight, the good news is that it is possible to lose weight when breastfeeding providing you follow a breastfeeding safe diet. This means following a diet plan that is based on healthy eating principles and light exercise and is free from caffeine and any weight loss accelerants.
It is important not to follow any extreme diets which advise cutting out food groups or eating too much of one group – for example a diet that tells you to only eat protein each time you eat.
At Lose Baby Weight, we ensured that all our pregnancy weight loss plans are based on getting optimal nutrition into your body and being in the best health possible. Our plans help to nourish your body and ensure you lose weight in a safe and healthy way.
So the good news is that if you are breastfeeding, you can still follow our weight loss plans – the key is to increase your calorie allowance on our plans by approximately 500 calories to give your body the extra calories it needs to produce milk.
You can increase your calories by having an extra 2-3 snacks from our suggested snacks or you can increase your portion size of the meals. We list ideas on how to increase the portion size on each of the recipes in the 28 day challenges
If you are choosing to include our Healthy Mummy Smoothies on the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge, these are also safe for breastfeeding mums, they are 96% sugar free, are fructose free and you can see the full ingredient list here
Plus you can also see the midwife reviews here on our plans
And as knowledge is power, we have given you some key information to arm yourself with so that you can lose weight with confidence when still feeding your baby.
Breastfeeding & Weight loss
Breastfeeding burns up a lot of energy (calories/kilojoules) to make breastmilk, particularly for mothers who are exclusively breastfeeding. These mothers should include 2-3 extra snacks per day (approximately 500 calories).
If you are unsure of how many calories you need in breastfeeding and weight loss you can work your daily energy needs out here – then you add 500 calories on for breastfeeding. But remember, nothing is set in stone, and if you are hungry eat more or if you are full eat less. See the calculator here
While breastfeeding, certain nutrients, energy and fluids will be in high demand, much more so than during pregnancy. These include:
- Iodine Since breastmilk needs to contain an adequate iodine content to support your infant’s growing brain, a new mother’s iodine requirements are almost double the normal. It is possible to meet these iodine requirements with food, although an iodine-containing supplement is usually recommended. It’s important to speak to your doctor before taking any supplements. Good sources of iodine include bread, iodised salt, seafood, eggs and dairy.
- Zinc is essential for skin health, immune function and optimal reproductive health. Good sources of zinc include meats, breakfast cereals, brightly coloured vegetables and fruit.
- Iron is a component of a number of proteins, including haemoglobin, which is important for transporting oxygen around the body. Eat too little iron and you’ll suffer fatigue and a weakened immune system. Red meat, chicken and fish are the best sources of iron, as well as also being good sources of protein and zinc. Smaller amounts of iron can be found in green leafy vegetables and legumes, but they should be consumed with foods rich in vitamin C (such as tomato, broccoli or capsicum) to increase the amount of iron the body absorbs.
- Water is the best way to quench your thirst without getting the added sugar and kilojoules found in sweetened drinks, such as fruit juices, soft drinks, sports drinks and flavoured mineral waters. Although it doesn’t increase milk production, it’s still important to keep hydrated; a good guide is to drink a glass at each meal and again with each breastfeed.
What to avoid
- Alcohol is best avoided for at least 4-6 weeks after birth. It takes most women about two hours to clear the alcohol from the blood and their breastmilk, so plan the occasional drink with this in mind.
- Caffeine in coffee and tea can be enjoyed in moderation – no more than 200mg a day (two cups of coffee).
Specific foods which may cause problems
There are no hard and fast rules about what a mum shouldn’t eat when breastfeeding – other than certain supplements mentioned above and alcohol. However there are certain foods which have been shown to cause upset in the baby – whether that be sickness, eczema, colic, trouble sleeping and irritability.
However, each baby is different and you should monitor yours to see how he reacts to certain foods and contact your Doctor if you are concerned about any reaction– below is a list of common foods listed by mums and Doctors as more likely to cause some kind of reaction with your baby:
- Milk, dairy, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and spicy foods have been linked to colic
- Too much caffeine may make your baby restless
- Eggs and peanuts have been shown to be linked to allergies in babies
More than anything it is important to eat a balanced diet when breast feeding and if you are trying to lose your baby weight, do so in a safe way and aim for approximately 500g-1kg per week.
Some babies have allergies, colic or digestive issues and can react to an array of different foods. If your baby is particularly sensitive we advise discussing a food plan with your Doctor and sticking to a plain diet with low taste foods to avoid any reaction. And you can read more on this from the ABA here
Milk Supply & Breastfeeding
When it comes to your milk supply, it’s not so much weight loss that’s the issue, more so the way you choose to lose weight. Dramatically reducing calories, restricting certain food groups or engaging in high intensity exercise can all play a role in reducing your supply. On the other hand, undertaking a healthy eating plan that focuses on providing your body (and baby) with all the nutrients you need, may actually help support your supply, especially if you’ve struggled to eat properly in the past.
Ensuring that you’re including regular, nutritious meals that contain adequate amounts of protein, carbs and healthy fats in your diet is essential for both your milk supply and own health. A healthy baby needs a healthy mum so taking care of your own health is absolutely vital, especially when breastfeeding.
A healthy and varied diet can help support a healthy supply as well as give you lots of energy, but what about foods and herbs that are reported to give a visible boost to your milk levels? These menu items, commonly referred to as lactogenic foods or herbs, are said to help increase your milk production, boosting your supply temporarily. It is often thought that by boosting your supply, your baby will eat more, which will then encourage your breasts to continue to produce a higher level of milk.
The scientific community errs on the side of caution when commenting on the actual evidential proof that certain foods or herbs can increase milk production, but the anecdotal evidence from other mums often hints strongly at the success of food and/or herbs in boosting their supply. Provided you don’t have any allergies to these foods or herbs, or go overboard, there’s no reason why you can’t include them in your diet if you are concerned about your supply.
The most commonly recommended lactogenic foods and herbs are:
- Carrots and spinach
- Legumes like chickpeas and lentils
- Brown rice
- Brewers yeast
- Ground linseed or LSA mix
- Fenugreek tea or tablets
A Healthy Mummy smoothie is a great option as it contains all the essential elements of a nutritious meal, along with ingredients like fenugreek and flaxseed that can help support your supply. A smoothie for breakfast and/or lunch is a quick and easy way to ensure you’re eating well, even when you’re pushed for time – and we suggest snacking in between meals too.
Breastfeeding & The Healthy Mummy Smoothies
We are also regularly featured on TV and in the media and write a monthly column in Practical Parenting Magazine – you can see some of our media coverage here
You can see the reasons why it is different to other shakes and meal replacements below
It is accelerant and filler FREE
We are proud to say that our Smoothie is free from any fillers and weight loss accelerators. Many many weight loss shakes contain fillers and weight loss accelerants to trick your body into short term – and unhealthy weight loss. These artificial fillers make your tummy feel temporarily full are not natural and the long term effects are not known. They can also lead to a lot of the side effects associated with ‘shakes’.
It contains wholefoods
The Healthy Mummy Smoothie contains wholefoods and over 25 vitamins and minerals. The product is high quality and every ingredient in the smoothie has been included to be a benefit to your health. Most shakes do not provide this high quality and the reason you will see many ‘giveaway’ offers on TV with these brands is because their product is extremely cheap to make and do not use the wholefoods and high quality vitamins and minerals that we do – so it is very cheap to make and their product is topped up with sugar and fillers to bulk it out.
It is dairy and wheat free
Today many people have allergies to dairy and wheat so our smoothie is free of both of these. We use non genetically modified Soy Protein Isolate which uses only the protein part of the soy – not the oestrogen part of the soy.
It is breastfeeding friendly
We do not use any caffeines or weight loss accelerants in our smoothies so that breastfeeding mums can use it. We also included fenugreek in the smoothie to be an additional benefit – and if you are not breastfeeding, fenugreek can still be a great benefit to your health as it provides carbohydrates, dietary fibre, fats and minerals like iron, calcium and phosphorous.
We have thousands of emails each month from mums on our plans who report improved milk supply from using our smoothies, but if your baby has any food sensitivities or suffers from colic we recommend talking to your Dr before changing your diet or using our products and plans. And you can read more on this from the ABA here
It is a formulated meal replacement & passes international standards
Our smoothie is a formulated meal replacement and has passed International Food Standards. It provides your body with over 25 vitamins and minerals and the focus is on optimal nutrition. Some other ‘shakes’ on the market are only a protein shake or supplement.
This means they cannot be used as a meal substitute as they do not contain enough nutrients and energy to fuel your body and consumers can often be mislead into thinking a product called a Shake is a meal replacement when it is not. You can see a comparison table with other shakes here
Included in our smoothies are:
- Apple pectin – a source of soluble fibre that forms gel naturally
- Rice bran fibre – a highly fibrous ingredient
- Cellulose – major component of cell wall in plants
- Psyllium husks – a water-soluble fibre to aid digestion
- Inulin – a natural vegetable fibre to aid digestion
- Flaxseed meal – healthy fats (omega3 fatty acids) & high fibre making it an ideal ingredient for post birth nourishment
- Pumpkin seed meal – adds bulk to assist a sense of fullness & contains a high level of essential fatty acids, protein, zinc & iron.
Protein For Health & Weight Loss:
- Soy protein isolate (non GM) – a complete protein low in fat with high digestibility. The protein is a soy protein isolate – which means only the protein part of the soy
- Methionine 10mFg – important amino acid for normal metabolism
- Protease (from aspergillus) – group of enzymes that assist digestive process by breaking down proteins
- Soy lecithin 400mg (non GM) – emulsifying that can aid the digestive system
- Bromelain 5mg – enzymes from pineapple assisting protein digestion.
Herbs For Your Health – during a weight loss diet, herbs can help to maintain a feeling of general wellbeing:
- Ginger root – a spice often used to improve metabolism while soothing the stomach
- Fenugreek – Provides carbohydrates, dietary fibre, fats and minerals like iron, calcium and phosphorous. It also provides support for breastfeeding mothers
- Dandelion root – helps absorption of nutrients in “The Healthy Mummy” Smoothie and Rich in Vitamin A,C and B2, iron and calcium
LOW GI: as part of a weight loss diet, low GI foods help to release glucose more slowly leading to a more stable blood glucose level.
Natural ingredients in our smoothies help give a gentle sensation of feeling fuller for longer, helping to avoid eating large meals or over snacking. They help to bulk the stool & aid bowel eliminations.
We do not use any artificial sweeteners in our smoothies and use a small amount of thaumatin (natural plant based sweetener) sweeten the smoothies and they are 96% sugar free.