It’s funny how the term “eating for two” is associated with pregnancy, when really you are eating for about 1.1 most of the time. I have always had a huge appetite, and portion control is definitely not my strength. My family and friends often joke about not being able to make enough food to feed me and Casey since we tend to pile our plates so high!
I always assumed that once the baby came, I’d go back to eating like I did before. I’m finding instead that I’m now eating more than ever! It makes sense though, as my body is working overtime to help Cullen grow from this…
To THIS! Clearly he got his appetite from his mama.
The trouble is, now that I am hungrier than ever, I’m also finding that I have absolutely no time to eat. I always heard moms joking about this back when I was pregnant that I would never sleep, shower, or eat again. I’ve got the showering thing down (I refuse to go without one!), but I’m finding the sleeping and eating to be a bit more challenging.
Our day typically starts out between 7 and 8am (although recently it has been starting between 4 and 5 kill me!). I typically wake up STARVING, often to the point of being nauseous. But I need to get Cullen taken care of before I can think about my own breakfast, so I feed him, change his diaper, and get him dressed for the day.
Once I get downstairs, the dogs are pacing and following me everywhere, desperate for their own bowl of grub. I try to get Cullen settled with some toys so I can dash down the stairs and fill their bowls. Usually by the time I get them settled, Cullen is cranky again and wants to be held or entertained.
Once I sense I might get a short break, I run into the kitchen to make myself a giant breakfast. This is typically about 1 to 2 hours after I actually wake up, depending on how our morning is going. First things first, I look in the fridge to see if there is a smoothie waiting for me. Casey will often make a blender full and leave half behind for me. It’s so nice to wake up to!
While I chug my smoothie, I fix the rest of my breakfast. I try to always remember to set up steel cut oats in my rice cooker the night before, so that it’s cooked and waiting for me when I come down in the morning. I make a full cup of (dry) oats, and split it in half with Casey (who takes his half to work). The 1/2 cup portion is 300 calories of just oats, and then I usually add sliced almonds, raisins, and occasional peanut butter. I would guess that my final bowl is between 500 and 600 calories.
Eating for breastfeeding is a complicated game. Not only am I always hungry, I have to make sure I’m packing in as many calories as possible during the few chances I get to eat, so my meals are typically really big and very dense. Big breakfasts are key!
I try to eat oatmeal on most mornings, even when I am sick of it, since it’s a natural lactation enhancer. If I forgot to start the oatmeal in the rice cooker, I’ll eat cereal instead. Depending on the cereal, I usually fill my bowl to the top and then refill it one, maybe even two times.
Cullen isn’t really into laying on his back with toys anymore. He’s in this new exploratory phase where he always wants to be standing (with assistance obviously) or carried facing out so he can see what’s going on. That doesn’t leave much time for anything else. His vision has also developed so he notices if I walk away from him (and subsequently screams). If I’m lucky, I can get him to play on his playmat for five minutes while I sit next to him and scarf down my breakfast.
Once he finally goes down for the first nap of the day, I immediately go into the kitchen to assemble lunch. Sometimes this is only around an hour after breakfast, but I have to use the small bits of time I am given, or else I will lose my window of opportunity. My lunches are really repetitive, and usually look like this…
Two slices of whole wheat bread, topped with a few big smears of homemade hummus, half of a large avocado, and one sliced Field Roast veggie sausage. So delicious!
This is a reaaaally dense and filling sandwich, but I know that dinner will be late and it will have to hold me over for quite some time. All meals are washed down with at least one bottle of sparkling water from the SodaStream. I probably drink four full bottles each day! I can’t stand drinking plain water, so having bubbly water readily available is a lifesaver. We go through CO2 tanks like crazy!
I eat my lunch in front of my computer while Cullen (hopefully) naps. Once he is up we spend our afternoons playing together, often taking a walk outside either with the dogs or with friends.
I can’t usually make it to dinner without a snack, so I try to have things on hand that I can grab and eat quickly and easily. I eat a lot of these Clif Mojo bars, along with handfuls of almonds and crackers. My diet is a little more carb and sugar-heavy than I like, but I’m doing my best to keep it healthy and keep myself full.
Once Casey gets home, he is usually able to take Cullen for an hour or so while I start to get dinner ready and catch up on the five million things that have not been done during the day, despite my best efforts (like writing this post!). Since Cullen goes to bed at 7:30pm, we always eat after that sometimes not until 8:30 or 9. I spend from 6:30 to 7:30 winding down with Cullen for the day bath time, reading, jammies, feeding, and 400 kisses goodnight.
Even though it’s already around 7:45 by the time I get back to the kitchen, I have been determined to make home-cooked and healthy meals a priority. We fell into a bit of a takeout rut for a while, but we’ve been back on track since the holidays have passed, and it feels so much better. Since the rest of my day is so carb-heavy, dinners tend to be centered around protein and vegetables. The more the merrier!
A sample dinner might be something like this two gigantic roasted portabella mushrooms, topped with one-pot quinoa and greens.
Or another plate piled high roasted mushrooms (can you tell I love them?), sliced roasted eggplant, a big cup of mixed grain rice, and a block of tofu. I am slightly embarrassed to admit that Casey and I often cook two blocks of tofu for the two of us. We only eat it once or twice a week, so I’m not worried about too much soy. I know a lot of people have mixed feelings on it, but I love tofu!
Other things we make for dinners large vegetable stir-fry, roasted potatoes and bean burgers, big bags of Trader Joe’s frozen green beans, baked sweet potatoes, raw kale salads, and more. We try to think of things that are healthy, fast, and provide a good variety. My goal is to always have vegetables on at least half of my plate.
Despite ALL of this food, I often find myself hungry about an hour after dinner. Depending on how strong it is, I will either resist the urge to eat more, or I’ll eat something light like a popsicle. Occasionally I’ll scarf down another granola bar because I know I won’t make it to morning.
So there you have it a breakdown of how I fit in my meals, and what they generally look like now that I’m eating to fuel both myself and my giant 15 pound baby.
Believe it or not, despite my massive food consumption, I now find myself three pounds under my pre-pregnancy weight. I say that not to be obnoxious, but only to show how crazy my metabolism is due to breastfeeding. I feel incredibly lucky that both his feeding and my weight loss have been relatively smooth!
Workouts are of course, a whole other post, but I’m not really doing enough at this point to make a big difference as far as calorie burn goes (there is no time!). I really think that I have lost all 34 (+3!) of my pregnancy pounds due to feeding around the clock, and eating (a LOT!) of good, healthy food.
It will be interesting to see how this changes as breastfeeding continues, and if my appetite will go back to normal once he eventually transitions onto solids. With that, it’s time to go figure out what’s for dinner…