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Eating For Two

By EmilyBMalone |

One bowl is never enough!

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…

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To THIS!  Clearly he got his appetite from his mama.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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…

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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…


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About EmilyBMalone



Emily Malone shares her adventures in cooking and parenting on her personal blog, Daily Garnish. Read bio and latest posts → Read Emily's latest posts →

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9 thoughts on “Eating For Two

  1. shotgunkorea says:

    I’m in the same boat, but now we’re trying an elimination diet to determine if a food allergy is causing eczema in my EBF baby, so finding enough calories when not eating wheat, eggs, dairy, soy, tree-nuts, peanuts or corn is ridiculous.

  2. Elle says:

    It’s not the best because of all the sugar, but I started buying Slim Fast (but the off brand!) and having one of those for breakfast. I work 4 days per week so my schedule is a little different, but I had a longer-than-most maternity leave, only worked 3 days a week for a while, and was fortunate enough to take off about a month around the holidays. So I’ve definitely been in your boat. But anyways, it’s great to drink my shake while I’m getting ready in the morning and then I eat Greek yogurt once I finally get to work. I know it’s supposed to be a meal REPLACEMENT, but I’m also breastfeeding so I need extra calories, especially the protein. I also finally gave in to buying more pre-packaged fruits, veggies, cottage cheese, yogurt, etc. I still feel really guilty because I know it’s more expensive and it makes me feel lazy (!), but it’s so much easier to just open a little baggie of apple slices rather than finding the time to actually slice an apple. Also, I just wanted to say that, for us at least, it’s gotten easier as our little guy has gotten a little older (he’s 5.5 months). He’s able to entertain himself longer so I have more than 1 second to accomplish a task. And we started using a jumperoo pretty early on, which was a lifesaver. We just tucked some blankets around his body and put a box underneath his feet so he could reach. They’re big and annoying (especially in our tiny house), but I’d still definitely recommend one!

  3. Fran says:

    Emily, I have been chowing down more than ever since my son was born and am definitely well below pre-pregnancy weight, even without any serious exercise. It’s a little bit of a joke around my house. In regards to where to put the baby while you’re in the kitchen, we have a baby bjorn babysitter chair (I’m sure any bouncy seat would be the same as long as baby likes it!) that I set in the kitchen and my son is generally content to sit and watch me work around the kitchen and play with toys while I get a chance to make my meals and eat them. He also never liked laying on his back for long and this keeps him propped up comfortably. It’s like an extra set of hands and has been one of the best baby-gear purchases we made.

  4. lucy says:

    In the beginning when my LO was breastfeeding all the time, I had the hunger pains as well. Now that she is one, on solids, and I am still breastfeeding I am back to eating regularly.

  5. Sarah Wilson says:

    Wow you sound like me! No time for anything, always starving, eating Loads!! My baby weight dropped off too just from EBF. My son is now 7 months and I can only warn you it gets harder when you start weaning them as you’re more concerned about making sure they get good stuff and lose even more time to eat!! Good luck, great blog :-) PS we’re BLW although F doesn’t really eat that much yet. And he’s nearly 20lbs!!! I’m ravenous!!!

  6. Jennifer says:

    I’m not sure if you eat dairy, but chugging some kefir helps curb the breastfeeding hunger for me, especially in those early morning (or middle of the night) hours when my stomach is grumbling. It is high in protein and has probiotics, which help settle my stomach and fill me up. The plain is a bit sour (like Greek yogurt), but I love the fruit favors.


  7. Sara says:

    You are lucky. I too have been starving while breastfeeding. I got down to my prepreg weight quickly, but now I’ve put a couple of pounds back on. Yet, if I cut back a little on the calories, my supply drops. Lose lose all around.

  8. Emily says:

    Yes, oh yes! Breastfeeding has made me hungry as a bear and yet I keep losing weight. By the time I buy a pair of work pants, get them hemmed, and then put them on to wear they are usually too big.

    I’ve found that fat is essential to keep me full. I’ve added a whole fat yogurt at breakfast (LOVE Dreaming Cow, grass-fed organic yogurt with no processed sugars), use whole fat cheese at lunch, and snack on nuts.I keep a little tupperware of nuts in my bag at all times, they’re easy to eat on the go.

    If my meals are carb-heavy and low fat, I’m just hungry again in an hour.

  9. Piper says:

    I’ve never been a big portion eater, since I eat so slowly. When I was 13 I weighed 180 pounds and was only 5′ 2” it took me a whole year to get down to 115 where I stayed until my doctor told me I should GAIN a few pounds (I never thought anyone would say that to me) and became 120. I felt happy and healthy there until I got pregnant and went up to 155. Now, a few weeks after baby birth, I’m down to 135. I was surprised of the weight I lost during birth, and how breastfeeding was speeding up my loss. I usually have toast w/ nutella and half a banana (so filling!) for breakfast, some fruit for a mid-morning snack, a big salad for lunch (I got some great recipes for those from Hungry Girl), some popcorn for an afternoon snack, and homemade chili, a veggie burger, or takeout (sorry!) for dinner. I can’t wait to be back to 120 and fit in a size 4, but for now I just want to be healthy. To any moms, I reccomend checking out Hungry Girl, she has a lot of fast, easy, and healthy recipes.

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