The Breastfeeding "Diet"

This week's Breastfeeding Blog Hop topic is Dieting While Breastfeeding

"Breastfeed and lose 500 calories a day!" "Nurse the pounds away!" "All you have to sit there!"

Um, not quite. While I did lose a good amount of weight in the 12 weeks I stayed home with E and nursed exclusively, it all came back when I went back to work. I was no longer nursing on demand all day long - I was pumping instead, which doesn't remove milk as efficiently as a baby, which means I wasn't burning calories because my body didn't have to make as much... yeah. It's a vicious cycle! The one size smaller work slacks I excitedly bought were becoming difficult to button. I put them in the back of the closet and realized I'd need to work harder to lose weight.

Look at the size of those grapes! Those are some big ass grapes!

Being back at work meant that I was exposed to all kinds of temptations: vending machines with sodas and snacks, the occasional catered lunch, and the dreaded service anniversary celebrations. Those are always filled with cupcakes and I would always get the red velvet. I succumbed to the siren song of junk food and was back at my don't-want-to-look-at-the-scale pre-pregnancy weight.

I tried to implement changes in my diet, but being one of two working parents of a newborn is exhausting. We would eat out way too often and it hurt our wallets and waistlines more than anything else.

Then our work started offering Weight Watchers meetings at work. I didn't even have to go anywhere! WW is great. It taught me to change the way I eat. As cliched as this sounds, it's more than a diet, it is a lifestyle change. I'm able to eat what I want, within moderation. More attention is paid to portion sizes and quantity than anything else. It's not about denying yourself milk and Oreos the indulgences, but making sure you don't go crazy.

WW also accounts for nursing mothers; whether you're nursing exclusively or supplementing with formula or solids, you are allowed extra points per day. Since a breastfeeding mom should have a minimum of 1800 calories, I felt that the WW plan fell within the parameters. I was losing weight safely, in a way that was not detrimental to my milk supply.

Half of losing weight is diet. The other half is exercise. I've started my Couch to 5K program and will be signing up for a 5K in September! I'm really excited. I haven't seen a huge drop in the numbers on the scale since I've started, but I can feel the difference in other ways. My energy level is up, I don't get as tired, and my clothes are fitting a little differently too. If I keep this up, I may be able to pull out those work pants from the back of my closet!

Have you dieted while breastfeeding?

Breastfeeding and Exercise

This week's Breastfeeding Blog Hop topic is Breastfeeding and Exercise.

Exercise. Something I don't do too often, even though I should. I've never been big into fitness. Before and during pregnancy, I belly danced in a troupe. I wouldn't say I was particularly good, but it was a lot of fun and a hell of a work out. We also had a gym membership at the time, so I'd often go and get on the elliptical for a few miles before calling it a night. I was hooked on the endorphin rush.

Since having E, I've dropped the gym membership along with whatever routine I had. I've been trying to be better about exercise, but it is difficult to feel motivated when all I want to do after work is veg on the couch with my son. I have tried to incorporate E into my exercise routine. He goes in the stroller while I run or jog. Now that he's walking, we go for walks around the neighborhood and then I will go run a little. Unfortunately, this happens very infrequently.

When it does happen, I haven't noticed a drop in supply. I have always been careful to drink a lot of water and eat extra calories because of breastfeeding. I did hear or read somewhere that a baby should not be nursed for an hour after exercise because the milk may taste different. I'm not sure how true that is.

One thing I have noticed is a lack of supportive sports bras for well endowed nursing moms. My $14.99 Target sports bras aren't cutting it for something as high impact as jogging or running, but I'm not sure where to get any better ones. Any suggestions?

2012 Resolutions

I just wrote about my breastfeeding resolutions for 2012, so I thought I would strike while the iron is hot and write about my other resolutions for the year.
    2012 Resolutions
  • Find an exercise routine and stick with it. Yes, this is the standard resolution that 99% of people have and I am no different. I started belly dancing again at the end of 2011, I'm not sure if it's something I want to continue in 2012. I (briefly) took up running and that kinda fizzled out too. Once this bronchitis is gone, I want to start running again. It was cheap and helped relieve a lot of stress. Whatever I end up doing, I want to stick with it. I want to be healthy so I can set a good example for E.
  • Take Weight Watchers seriously. I've been on WW since the end of October and I really haven't been taking it very seriously. I do a terrible job of tracking my food and therefore haven't seen the kind of results I saw when I did it previously. I want to take it more seriously and lose the weight. I don't want to be a size 2 (I like myself with some curves), but I want to be healthy. See above about setting a good example for E.
  • Learn to walk in heels 3 inches and higher. If you've been reading for a while, it's no secret that I love shoes. I am a little embarrassed to admit that I can't walk in heels higher than 3 inches. I clomp around with the grace of a Clydesdale horse. I need to fix that. Please leave any tips or websites or whatever here. Something more than "heel, toe" is preferred.

    My favorite coffee mug. It's from DSW.
  • Embrace my waves. My hair is naturally wavy. Pregnancy seems to have amplified the wave all over, except for the very back of my head. That area is stick straight. Yeah, my hair is weird. Anyway, I normally straighten my hair for work. I've gotten pretty good at using the blow dryer by itself so my flat iron is used about once week. I don't want to have to straighten my hair 3-4 times a week. I'd rather sleep in. I need to figure out how I can work with my naturally wavy texture. Tips on this would also be appreciated.
  • Shop more often. I need to go shopping more frequently. Instead of hitting the mall, I need to shop in my closet and find pieces I have purchased, but may have forgotten about. I've been using Pintrest to find outfits I can recreate with existing clothing. Now I just need to wear those outfits. In public.
  • Finally start working towards my dream job. Obviously I am passionate about breastfeeding and try to support nursing moms as much as I can. Why not make a career of it? I'd like to eventually become an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC for short), but it will be a long process. I do have a few things figured out, but now I need to make them happen. I will register for the appropriate classes, touch base with contacts I've made, and get my rear end in gear. I may not be able to sit for the IBCLC exam for a while because I work full time out of the home, but I will start working towards it this year.
  • Wear colored eyeliner. I wear black eyeliner 360 days of the year. This year, I want to change it up a bit. I have lots of colors to choose from already: grays, browns, turquoise, gold, and silver. It's time to have some fun with more than just my eye shadow.
  • Read more. My goal is to read one non-parenting book a month. I'm currently reading The Road of Lost Innocence: The True Story of a Cambodian Heroine by Somaly Mam. I'd really like to read Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Kristoff and WuDunn next.
  • Do something for my fellow man. After my Christmas, I would really like to do more to give back. I'm not sure how to do it, what I want to do, or how frequently I want to do it, but I want to do something more than once a year. Hm... will have to think more about this one.
What are your 2012 resolutions?

Everything Zen

I have never been an athlete. I did play field hockey for years and years (all of middle school and high school), but I wasn't very good. Other than mandatory gym classes required, I didn't do much during college. That stayed with me through most of my adult life. My husband and I had a gym membership for a while and it would be great when we would go, but it was hard. I'm not a morning person, so we would typically go after work and be exhausted.

That's my pregnant belly at 32 weeks!

When I found out I was pregnant, I knew I had to get my act together and start getting into shape. As a first time mom, I had heard the horrors of marathon labors and wanted to be prepared. I also needed a way to unwind after work. Since being pregnant is not a good time to start a new fitness program, I knew whatever I did would have to be very low impact. That's when a friend told me about prenatal yoga.

Once I was through my first trimester, I started taking prenatal yoga classes with a fantastic yogini - The Urban Poser. Every Monday night, I would drive to our local birth center and chiropractor's office for prenatal yoga. For the next hour and a half, I would relax. Stretching felt great, and the poses were modified to accommodate growing bellies. I was also taught different types of breathing and focusing techniques. Most helpful to me were the Birthing Breath, which helped me through contractions and deliver E quickly and safely. I can't recommend prenatal yoga enough to any moms-to-be. Just make sure that your instructor knows what she's doing as it is very easy for pregnant ladies to over stretch/overextend thanks to the hormone relaxin.

If you don't have a qualified instructor near you, check out these free podcasts from Mamaste Yoga.

Do you have a favorite form of exercise? When did you start?