I've always been one to order a steak not a salad, I don't cope well with low blood sugar levels or being hangry, however during breastfeeding I have never known a hunger like it. I would wake up at 2am absolutely starving whilst H slept peacefully in her bed side cot. This was completely new to me, my pre-mummy life was filled with fruit, veg, fish, meat, nuts and yoghurts with a dash of naughty treats here and there i've never ever really been hungry.
A health visitor that came to see me during the first few weeks was quite complimentary about my chocolate consumption achievements and encouraged me to continue to eat whenever I was hungry. Being an experienced professional she told me how women who start to "diet" after labour, to help loose the weight, often end up struggling the most with breastfeeding, as they don't consume enough food to support the bodies needs to create milk. Basically I had a green light to eat like a teenager but ensuring fruit and veg was thrown into the mix to support a healthy diet (ok i'll put my degree back into use if I must)The thing about this hunger was I absolutely craved sugar! So during my first 3 months to combat exhaustion I found a way to add chocolate into every single meal, and it was wonderful as I was still loosing weight #Winning! Oats and Nutella for breakfast, Chocolate Brunch bars at 10am, Chocolate bar with lunch, Chocolate digestives for my afternoon snack, Nutella on toast for a starter and a magnum after dinner - my talents to consume chocolate had no boundaries. Im sure the lecturer's of my Nutrition and Sports Science degree would be cursing me right now but survival was my main aim.
I started to think more about my lunches as they had been pretty "grab and go" as in open a packet and eat type foods (*cough* Crisps & Chocolate *cough*), they still needed to be things I could eat one handed as lets face it, you need a hand spare at all times. My new menu included:
- Soup in a mug heated in the microwave - genius idea with a winter baby
- Pitta bread sandwiches made the night before
- Pasta and veg cooked in bulk and portioned in the fridge
This definitely helped me feel fuller, with organisation and planning being a strength of mine, this wasn't too challenging to get myself together and utilising daddy to enable this.
In a previous blog I mentioned how I had a stash of breakfast type bars in every room and I really did this, and all different varieties chocolate, red berries, biscuit ones, yoghurt covered ones and flapjacks! This saved me when I was sat feeding for an hour, waking up at 2am, feeding at 4am as I always had something I could grab and eat one handed that if I dropped it didn't really make a mess or burn our daughter.
Ultimately I did what I needed to do to feed my baby, be able to wake up each time she needed me and still be a wife who could laugh and joke with my husband. I'm 7months into motherhood and whilst i'm not at pre-baby size i've got a healthy and happy little girl, i've learnt so much about myself and my own resilience, plus I have plenty of time to start looking after myself and exercising now she's asleep at 7:30pm each night.