Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Calories and Breastfeeding

This has been a hard post for me to write because I have not known how to express how I feel without offending anyone. My whole life I have always been small and skinny. In fact I have always been so small and skinny it was always really hard to find any pants that fit. The pants that fit around the waist were to short, and the ones that were long enough were too big around the waist. This was so frustrating to me, but I was condemned to silence. If I dare bring up this problem people would just get annoyed and rolled their eyes, and they would say things like “I wish I had your problem”

It’s socially accepted to talk about how you’re too fat or how you need to lose weight; but don’t you dare even bring up the topic of needing to gain weight. For years, I have hid my frustrations of being so small, but I am done keeping it to myself. Being small is not as easy as it sounds, and it comes with its own type of struggles. Lately I have been facing a really big obstacle and it is centered on my weight and breastfeeding. Since Levi has been born I have dropped to be 7 pounds below my pre-pregnancy weight, and this can get dangerous.

I have always produced plenty of milk, and Levi has always seemed to get enough milk,; but he has always been slow to gain weight. At his last doctor’s appointment I realized that although I made plenty of milk, it was really thin, and it did not have enough nutrients to provide him with what he needed. In addition to him not getting enough nutrients I always realized that I was not getting enough nutrients. I have been feeling very tried and weak, and often times when I stand up I would get a little light headed and dizzy. Levi’s doctor suggested that I try to supplement some formula, but it has been really important to me to strictly breastfeed. Therefore I realized I was going to have to make some major dietary changes.

I love to eat, but I do not love to eat a lot. I am not a big morning eater at all. In fact I hate eating in the morning. It makes me feel sick to eat before noon. I also do not love sweet things or desserts. I love to eat dinner, and to snack all day. I will eat up unto the time I go to bed. I will have two big meals after five. My eating schedule kinda goes like this: eat a light lunch at twelve, snack all afternoon, eat a big dinner at 6:00 and then another big meal at like ten right before bed. I eat fairly healthy, but I am definitely far from being a health nut. I would say I average about 1500 calories a day.maybe even a little less than that.

One thing about breast feeding is your body burns 500 calories a day just making milk. Also if you’re not eating foods with high levels of nutrients, then your body will suck all of your own personal stores and give it to the baby. For example, if I do not consume enough calcium then my body will take my personal calcium directly out of my bones and give it to the baby.

I decided to make it my personal goal to try to double the amount of food I eat, meaning I would eat approximately 3000 calories a day. Many people hear this and think.Sweet just each a bunch of chips, chocolate, and cake, but unfortunately it does not work like that. I have to eat 3000 calories worth of foods that are high in nutrients and that are healthy.

This has been a real challenge for me because pretty much my stomach always hurts from being full, I have to make sure I always have healthy nutritious snacks on hand; I have to plan more meals, do more shopping, and spend more money. In addition to the physical obstacles I have faced I also have had trouble emotionally because I have felt guilty for starving my baby, and not being able to provide him with what he needs.

I just want to take a moment to hop on my soap box and say; this kind of diet is just as much work if not more work then somebody who is trying to lose weight. Gaining weight is hard too. I have to also plan healthy meals just like someone who is on a diet to lose weight, I have to deal with the uncomfortable feeling of always being over full, rather than hungry, and I am constantly focused on counting calories and shoveling more food into my mouth.

I will take Levi back to the Doctor next week and I will get to see if he has gained enough weight. I am hoping that I eating more will be enough to help him gain the weight he needs to grow to be a healthy strong little boy. I love him so much! I will post an update after his appointment next week.

Here are the stats from Levi’s Apt:
Height: 25 and half inches (16th percentile)

Weight: 13lbs 13 oz (2nd Percentile)


  1. Love reading about your sweet family! You are one of the strongest people I know for doing whatever it takes to give your baby the BEST nutrition!! I'm so glad we are friends!!!

  2. It has been a long time since I've had your problem but some healthy but high calorie snacks that I really liked were nuts and avocado. I also had to drink insure plus(made for older people who don't want to eat much but need to gain weight) but I'm sure there are plenty of other protein shakes that would also work. If your tired you might have to up your iron intake too. I hope you are able to keep your weight up- good luck!