Thursday, 4th May 2017
*32 weeks pregnant.
WEIGHT TODAY: 73kg.
Our baby weighs nearly 2kg at this stage of pregnancy. I feel as if I am walking around with a bag of sugar wrapped around my abdomen.
This week, I have thought a lot about food.
In all the pregnancy books and magazines that I have read so far (and I have read loads), it is discussed about how important nutrition is during gestation and breastfeeding.
In fact, a mother is not supposed to diet during either of these stages of her new life.
So, the key to lose weight after having given birth has all to do with maintaining a healthy and balanced diet and slowly re-starting to exercise.
As it all comes down with being smart with food, I have started to do some researches.
The first I have concentrated on this week is about how to boost your breast milk.
It is a vital job for our bodies to produce “good quality” breast milk, and, because our bodies will be getting used to produce breast milk, us women may feel more hungry the first month after our baby is born.
I have been informed that I should still have a daily intake of 2,500 calories in order to give both myself and the baby the energy that we need.
I will also have to make sure that I am still drinking at least 2 litres of water per day, as breast milk is about 80-90% H2O.
While browsing on Instagram, I saw that my friend Alice has recently posted a photo of a bottle of water liven up with a couple of apple, orange and lemon slices and a few mint leaves. I can’t wait to steal this recipe soon, and I hope that she won’t mind. 🙂
I can only assume that, as much as being a joyful event, having a baby can also be a little stressful; especially if you and your partner are first time parents.
Although stress is normal and part of becoming a new mum, it is counterproductive when it comes to the production of breast milk, reason why it is so important to eat stress-relieving foods. Magnesium is known to be an anti-anxiety nutrient and it can help triggering the release of happiness-inducing neurotransmitters to the brain.
I have recently read on Mother&Baby that “dark green leafy vegetables (such as spinach) and raw nuts are best to calm our nerves“. The magazine also offered a smoothie recipe called The-Ultimate-Magnesium-Rich-No-Stress-Smoothie, which is made by whizzing together 200ml coconut water, half an avocado, 50g spinach, 1 tablespoon sunflower seeds and a handful of blueberries. It sounds yummy, doesn’t it?
Another essential nutrient to aid the production of breast milk is calcium. This is because, after 9 beautiful -PMS free – months (total bliss!), sooner or later our periods will come back. Oh, joy!
During my research, I have read that when our cycles return, we may experience a drop in our milk supply a few days before and into our periods. Thus, it would be beneficial to increase our calcium and magnesium intakes from the start of ovulation through the duration of our periods. Something as little as a 200ml glass of milk will provide the 34% of our daily intake of calcium.
There is another interesting fact that I have read on May’s issue of Mother&Baby: it is reported that between 5 and 6 months old, 64% of babies wake between one and three times a night to feed, and incorporating sleep-promoting foods to our diets will help us to relax and sleep. The article says that bananas and oats are both natural relaxants as they contain an amino acid that is the precursor to sleep inducing neurotransmitter melatonin.
It also says that bananas and oats are both good sources of probiotics, the good bacteria that line our digestive tract and that are key to breastfeeding. Natural yogurts, fermented foods and asparagus are good sources of probiotics, too.
And while it is important to get your five portions of fruit and vegetables per day, it is also as important to eat good-fat foods like nuts and seeds and oily fish like salmon and mackerel in order to aid our baby’s brain development.
Olive oil is my favourite condiment and an amazing source of good-fat (especially the one that comes from my beloved Calabria in Southern Italy… -feeling nostalgic).
I am certain that looking for recipes that are both high in magnesium and calcium and filled with good-fat foods will be a fun way to spend a cloudy afternoon indoors, as they are so common during this time of the year in the UK.
I can’t wait to start writing down my breastfeeding food plan…
… and feel like a cow who is ready to be “milked” by her baby.
Because I like food so much, this week I am going to research a healthy way of eating which will allow me to lose weight without missing out on flavour. Food is one of the biggest life pleasures, we shouldn’t give it all up for the sake of losing weight.
And yes, I do intend to get the best of both worlds this time.