Breastfeeding Nutrition – How to get those nutrients on a restricted diet

Before coming home, the lactation consultants at the hospital were adamant that now is not the time to diet. I didn’t need to worry about losing baby weight, I needed to make sure I was getting enough calories for my breastfeeding baby. I had no issue with that! My mom stayed with me for a week and made lots of delicious food – chicken pot pie, roast, mashed potatoes, lots of yummy food that I ate and ate. About 4 weeks in, we realized that Ellie had a food allergy and after lots of trial & error, discovered it was dairy, soy, gluten and beef. One may not realize how many foods in our country contain dairy, soy, gluten and beef. LOTS. And I mean… LOTS. After I cut out dairy and soy, she still had some lingering symptoms and it took me a while to figure out the beef part. Because of that, I went on an elimination diet. What the Dr Sears elimination diet begins with is this:

2 weeks of only eating only:

  • organic, free range turkey
  • organic free range lamb
  • pears
  • sweet potatoes
  • potatoes
  • rice
  • rice cereal products

I only did a week, because that’s all I really needed. I then started adding in foods that I knew were ok such as carrots, green beans/peas, bananas and all other fruit, coconut milk, but staying away from eggs, wheat, tree nuts, beef, fish, and corn. Formula was not the answer 1) because if I can breastfeed, why not do it because it’s 100 times better for your baby than formula (I realize that some situations call for formula and that’s ok, but this one did not, it was just a change in my diet and one that really, is actually very healthy) and 2) in the week that I had to give her formula while the dairy left my diet, she HATED it. She also hates the bottle.  That’s why I was so willing to do everything to continue breastfeeding, including restricting my diet.

After I got Mastitis twice, I felt like that was a symbol that my health was not good. I contacted a nurtitionist that specialized in working with breastfeeding mothers. I recommend you speak with a nutritionist no matter your goals because it gave me a lot of insight on what I need in my diet to stay healthy. If you’re trying to get healthy, it’s not about what you cut out as much as what you put in. The one I found is Nathalie Norris and I found her on Facebook. She gave me a plan to help get my nutrition correct and to ensure I was getting enough calories to feed Ellie and to keep myself healthy. Her plan included getting lots of green veggies for calcium, lots of orange veggies (carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, papaya, etc,), sesame seeds and something I never thought of, probiotics.

Getting in the veggies

This has to be the hardest part. I am supposed to eat 2 cups of greens, 2 cups of oranges and 2 tbsp of sesame seeds a day. Whew – that is a lot of food and a lot of cooking. I really was having a hard time doing that so I decided to start eating smoothies. I had a little Oster smoothie machine that did okay. Believe it or not, I really did start feeling better. You hear about people doing these juice cleanses and how much better they feel (FYI, I would never do an all juice cleanse), but I did really feel better after incorporating that amount of fruit/veggies in my day. I have invested in a Reconditioned Vitamix because the little Oster wasn’t interested in blending carrots. I’ve only had the Vitamix a week, but IT IS AMAZING.

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I’ve tried out these recipes:

  • Creamy Green Smoothie
  • Carrot smoothie with carrots, an orange, a few slices of pineapple, spinach, and coconut milk
  • Spinach, banana, strawberries, coconut milk, and sunflower seed butter (my favorite)

Thanks to Pinterest, I have many more to try! I highly recommend the Vitamix over a juicer because it blends the fibrous materials from the fruit/veggies that help your body digest what you’re eating.

Probiotics

First, I had to take a vegan probiotic that did not contain any of the common allergens. It was called HMF Intensive and it really did help with Ellie’s poop. I know that’s weird but her poop was the best way to tell that her tummy wasn’t right and the probiotics helped it turn that yellowy mustard color that it was supposed to be. I knew we were on the right track.

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She also gave me some ideas on how to get probiotics into my diet through the foods I eat. One suggestion was sauerkraut. I’m not going to pretend like I’m excited about this, but I’m going to give it a shot. I know the Reuben is supposed to be delicious but I can’t eat the bread or the beef, so that’s out. She also gave me a recipe for fermented pickles which looks kind of crazy, but I’m going to give it a shot! I’m just a little nervous about “scraping the stuff off the top”. Doesn’t that sound disgusting? Lastly, I just ordered some water kefir grains. I found some recipes on Pinterest and I’m ready to go. I asked if I could go the easy route and buy some Kombucha tea, but she said that contained yeast which is not what I need! I don’t want any thrush going on!

I’ll be writing about this process in the months ahead as I am sure it will be interesting growing my own healthy bacteria 🙂 – I mainly want people to know that there are others way to get your nutrients when limited in a diet. Sometimes, I think it does suck that I don’t get to eat donuts (Krispy Kreme – yum) or lasagna or pizza or whipped cream (I can go on and on), but in reality, I feel wonderful. I don’t have to take my allergy medication any more and it’s rare that I have a tummy ache. I’ve also lost my baby weight plus 20 lbs and while weight is not my goal AT ALL, it is a nice little result of eating for your health.

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