Breastfeeding is hard work, but it’s also very rewarding. For me, breastfeeding was the only way I could feed my daughter without using formula. And as a new mom who’s sleep-deprived and overwhelmed by the responsibilities of being a parent for the first time, anything that helps make my life easier is a godsend. Still, breastfeeding does have its downsides: namely, extreme breastfeeding hunger! When you’re exclusively breastfeeding—meaning you’re not supplementing with formula—you may find yourself constantly hungry while breastfeeding due to supply issues or other factors. But don’t worry! There are things you can do to curb your craving for food while still providing all of your baby’s nutritional needs through breast milk alone. In this article, I’ll analyze why breastfeeding makes you so hungry and share some tips on how to deal with breastfeeding-related hunger to have proper knowledge of what to eat during breastfeeding.
Does breastfeeding make you hungry?
Although milk supply burns calories, it doesn’t burn as many as you might think. Some studies have shown that the average mother loses around 500 calories per day while breastfeeding—of which only about half is burned through nursing itself (the rest is from the extra effort of carrying around a baby).
That’s not enough to cause weight loss: In fact, most moms report gaining between 3 and 5 pounds during their first six weeks of breastfeeding. The reason for this sudden influx is simple: Your body’s fat stores are reserved for milk production and for your baby’s growth! Since the latter takes priority over your own needs, you’ll likely find yourself always hungry when breastfeeding than usual during those first few months of feeding.
Energy Cost of Lactation
You can see why breastfeeding mothers need to eat a lot: the energy cost of lactation is high. The typical breastfed baby eats about 32 ounces of breastmilk per day, which works out to 15,000 calories per year (or 2,100 calories per month). That’s more than twice the total daily energy requirement for an adult woman!
The body needs all those extra calories because it’s not just producing milk; it also has to make enough extra blood and nutrients to support your baby’s growth during this time period. The good news is that while this increased calorie demand lasts only a few months (assuming you’re only breastfeeding), your body will continue making more lean muscle mass and bone density so that once you stop breastfeeding, you’ll feel stronger than before.
Adjustment to Hormone Levels – a reason for feeling constantly hungry while breastfeeding
When you’re breastfeeding, your hormone levels are affected by the hormones in your breast milk. When you’re not breastfeeding anymore, those hormone levels return to normal levels.
In general, when it comes to food and what makes you hungry or not hungry, there are three main hormones that affect our appetite: ghrelin (promotes hunger), leptin (promotes satiety) and amylin (decreases appetite).
Ghrelin is one of the hunger-stimulating hormones that gets released from cells in our stomachs when we’re hungry. Leptin is a satiety-signaling hormone that gets released from fat cells and promotes feelings of fullness after eating a meal or snack. Amylin also works with leptin to control how soon we feel full after eating—it slows down digestion so that you don’t get an immediate burst of energy right after eating a big meal or snack like some other animals do.
Lack of Sleep Increasing Cortisol Levels
When you’re sleep deprived, your body releases cortisol. Cortisol is a stress hormone that can increase appetite and make it difficult to lose weight. If you’re not getting enough sleep, your body might be producing more of this hormone than usual.
In fact, researchers recently found that women who were given the lowest amount of rest during the night had higher levels of cortisol in their blood—and they ate more food than those who got their recommended eight hours. Another study found that when pregnant women had less than six hours’ sleep per night for several weeks straight (and less than 7% fell asleep within 30 minutes), they gained weight faster over time compared to those who slept 8 hours per night or more consistently throughout their pregnancy period.
Increased Nutrient Needs Not Being Met
You may be noticing that you’re always hungry while breastfeeding. That’s because breastfeeding increases the need for certain nutrients. In addition, your body needs to replenish its nutrient stores after giving birth, which means that sometimes you’ll feel like eating everything in sight!
Lactation is a great way to lose weight and maintain a healthy diet because it helps balance your blood sugar levels, stabilizes insulin production and helps keep hunger pangs at bay.
Why does breastfeeding make you thirsty?
When your body is working hard to feed your baby, it needs plenty of fluids to keep going and make sure that you don’t become dehydrated. “A dehydrated mom isn’t as efficient at breastfeeding,” says Dr. Perrine. “That can make her feel tired, which impacts how much she eats or drinks.”
Drink water or other non-caffeinated beverages like milk (dairy products are experts’ favorite!), juice and tea. Other beverages like coffee or sports drinks can help you stay hydrated while giving you an energy boost—but they’re best consumed in moderation since they also contain caffeine, which can cause sleepiness in some mothers.
Your Activity Level is High – keeps starving while breastfeeding
As you’re breastfeeding, you are likely to be more physically active. You may not want to be on your feet, but a baby who’s hungry and crying is going to be difficult to ignore.
This also means that if you aren’t already exercising regularly (and many new moms aren’t), then now would be an opportune time to start. Not only will it help burn fat and build muscle tone, but it can also help with stress relief and mental health issues like depression and anxiety.
Also Read – How Breastfeeding Affects Your Sex Life!
How to Respond to Your Hunger While Breastfeeding?
One of the most common questions new mothers have is how to respond to their hunger while breastfeeding.
The first thing you should know is that there’s no need to starve yourself just because you’re breastfeeding. It’s important for both you and your baby to get proper nutrition, and that includes getting enough calories.
But, if you’re eating more than usual because of your increased caloric needs, it can be difficult to know how much food to eat at any given time. The best thing that you can do is listen to your body. When it feels full, stop eating—and when it feels hungry again, start eating again.
It’s also important to drink plenty of water when breastfeeding so that both mother and baby are hydrated at all times!
There are many ways to respond to this hunger in a healthy way:
- Eat small meals throughout the day.
- Try new foods.
- Make sure each meal has protein and carbohydrates.
- Include fats such as avocado, nuts and seeds in your diet.
What to eat during breastfeeding hunger?
You may feel constantly hungry while breastfeeding. To ensure that you’re getting all the nutrients you need, it’s important to consume a balanced diet. First, aim for three servings of fruits and vegetables every day. Second, add whole grains like brown rice or whole wheat breads into your meals. Third, incorporate more lean protein sources into your diet such as chicken breast or fish fillets at every meal.
Finally, don’t forget about dairy products like cheese! They are high in calcium which will help to strengthen your bones while breastfeeding. Additionally, nutritional supplements can be taken in addition to eating well-balanced meals throughout the day so don’t hesitate to ask your doctor about what vitamins could benefit you most during this time period.
Fruits are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals that your body needs during breastfeeding hunger. The vitamin C found in citrus fruits is especially important for supporting the immune system. Fruits also contain lots of fiber, which will help keep you regular and feeling full longer.
Fruit juices and smoothies can be a good way to get your daily dose of fruit if you’re having trouble eating enough during pregnancy or breastfeeding. If possible, choose fresh or frozen over canned varieties as they tend to have fewer additives and preservatives (though some brands may need to be avoided entirely).
Vegetables are an excellent choice for anyone feeling hungry while breastfeeding. In addition to being full of fiber, vegetables also contain fewer calories than most other foods. As a result, they help you feel fuller on fewer calories and more satisfied with your meals. Vegetables also contain lots of vitamins and minerals that the body needs to function properly (and lose weight).
When it comes to vegetables, the key is variety: there are so many different types out there! For example, spinach has high amounts of Vitamin A and C as well as iron—all nutrients that your body needs for proper functioning. Kale is another good choice because it contains high amounts of fiber which helps keep you full longer than other foods do; plus it tastes great in soups or salads.
Grains are a great option of breastfeeding appetite, especially whole unprocessed grains like oats, brown rice and quinoa. Whole wheat pasta, breads and tortillas are all good options too. If you’re looking for something more portable than a sandwich (which can get old very quickly), try making a grain salad by mixing together some cooked brown rice with chopped veggies and olive oil dressing.
Whole wheat English muffins make an excellent substitute for toast in the morning if you don’t want to eat bagels or other wheat-based foods that have been made with refined flour.
Protein is a macronutrient that’s important for growth and development, the maintenance of muscle mass, healthy skin, hair and nails — it’s must for increased hunger during breastfeeding. It also helps you feel full longer by keeping blood sugar levels stable.
To get enough protein on board, eat beans and peas (including soy foods), nuts and seeds in your diet every day. Tofu is another good source of protein for vegetarians who choose not to eat meat or fish products such as salmon or tuna. If you’re vegan, try hempseed hearts as an alternative to dairy products like cheese—they’re high in fiber plus high-quality plant proteins with omega-3 fatty acids similar to those found in fish oils/salmon oil supplements.”
One of the reasons why breastfeeding makes you so hungry is because dairy products are a good source of calcium, which your body needs to build strong bones and teeth. Milk, cheese and yoghurt are also good sources of protein, vitamin D and vitamin B12.
Calcium is an important mineral that plays a role in a number of processes such as muscle contractions, nerve signaling and blood clotting. Calcium deficiency can lead to weak bones that may become brittle or fracture easily (osteoporosis). Eating foods rich in calcium helps prevent osteoporosis because they increase the amount of minerals present within your bones.
If you’re breastfeeding, I recommend taking supplements of multivitamins, calcium, vitamin D, fish oil, probiotics, and digestive enzymes. You may also want to take a protein and fiber supplement. If you feel that these supplements are helping to fulfill breastfeeding hunger but still not enough to keep up with the demands of breastfeeding (and maybe working too), then consider adding prebiotics as well.
If you think that breastfeeding makes you hungry, we’re here to tell you that it’s normal. This is because the process of lactation is not only physically demanding for mothers but also costs a lot of energy, which can be one reason why breastfeeding makes some women feel hungrier than usual. However, with good nutrition and careful planning, you can easily overcome these challenges and maintain a healthy diet while breastfeeding your child.