I’m nearly at the end of my first week of postnatal fitness and healthful eating. It’s been…educational, for sure.
Before we dig into my progress, here’s an update on my bitty May, who’s been working on getting the scale to go in the opposite direction:
We hit 7 pounds last week! And technically, as of this post, she’s at 7 lbs, 6 oz and 21″ long. Because she was both low birth weight for gestational age AND an early term baby, keeping an eye on her growth was of paramount importance. The early weeks of nursing were a struggle. My milk supply wasn’t anything to write home about and she wasn’t transferring milk very efficiently due to an upper lip tie and posterior tongue tie. She lost more weight than we were all comfortable with after her birth and was slow to gain thereafter. I corrected the milk supply issue with these galactagogue capsules from Euphoric Herbals, as well as snacking on lots of these lactation bites (I increase the brewer’s yeast amount, as that’s the key ingredient my body responds best to). We also corrected her ties with a double frenectomy. Since then, nursing has been a lot better and she’s gaining a half ounce to an ounce per day. Yay, baby! Yay, boobies!
As for me, my progress has been up and down. I signed up for a DietBet challenge to lose 4% of my body weight by the end of September, which came out to be a weight loss of about 1.5 pounds per week. I started tracking my calories in My Fitness Pal, which said I needed a 1,300 calorie-a-day budget to hit that goal. Adding on 500 calories a day for breastfeeding increases that amount to 1,800 per day. This is a perfectly reasonable caloric intake for a breastfeeding mom.
Planning my food was key. I prepped mason jar salads with lots of chopped veggies and either organic deli turkey or leftover roasted chicken for lunches. I prepped overnight oatmeal jars (with some personal modifications) for breakfasts. I hardboiled some eggs and bagged up some baby carrots or sliced bell peppers for grab-and-go (or grab-and-sit-and-nurse-the-baby) snacking. Diet was on point and I never felt deprived.
I faithfully did my 4th Trimester workout daily, even if it was 9:00 at night after I’d finally gotten the baby down, or — as was the case this morning — while wearing her in the carrier. Squats while babywearing is a surefire way to make a sleep-deprived and harried mom feel kind of badass.
I got in some walking in my sporty new Lillebaby Airflow carrier. I moved more, cleaning things around the house and preparing meals. This carrier has been very comfortable to nurse in so it’s been easier to stay semi-active.
And then my supply tanked overnight. Literally. I woke up Thursday morning to empty breasts and a fussy, unsatisfied baby. Whereas I’d been having multiple letdowns per side per feeding, I was suddenly having one short, weak letdown and then nothing. I panicked. I dipped into my precious freezer stash and fed May some frozen milk while I racked my brain trying to figure out what went wrong. My workouts weren’t intense or long, my diet was sufficient for a nursing mother and full of diverse foods. I’d kept taking my EH capsules and was well hydrated. Why was I hardly producing anything anymore?
Oh, right. Calorie counting meant I’d cut waaay down on my yummy aforementioned lactation bites, which I ate liberally pre-MyFitnessPal.
To test this theory, I didn’t track my calories yesterday and ate my lactation bites again. I even made a batch of these super healthy lactation carrot muffins. (Again, increasing the brewer’s yeast.) And guess what? Happy baby, leaky breasts, lots of letdowns. Problem solved. Apparently I just have to keep eating sweets. I mean, twist my arm.
So I’ve backed out of the DietBet and am getting refunded. 1.5 pounds per week is too much to lose at this point. She’s still a newborn and my body is still recovering from many months of malnourishment during the pregnancy. I’m absolutely loving the workouts and the feeling of being sweaty again (aside from the night sweats, which have been a blast) so I will keep up my activity and increase it gradually, as I definitely want to be in shape enough to get in some fall runs and/or bike rides by the time the leaves are changing. But I’m not going to stress about food or calories. She needs to eat, so I need to eat. And eating is awesome.
Will check in again next week!