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How much protein do I eat as a vegan breastfeeding mom?

January 06, 2016 Yael Greenberg

I was really worried as a nursing mom because my milk supply seems to have dwindled in the last few days. I started re-evaluating my diet to find the cause. I did notice the baby must be going through a growth spurt, feeding every 1.5 hours (one reason milk supply decreases), but I was still worried I wasn’t eating enough protein to make good milk for him. 

So I started counting:

Breakfast
- Banana, melon, watermelon (all frozen), celery, cucumber smoothie decorated with pumpkin, chia and hemp seeds and nuts - 14 g

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Mid-morning snack
- Left-over tofu with sunflower and pumpkin seeds and roasted beets: 10 g 

Second mid-morning snack
- Nuts, seeds, raisins and spirulina crunch trail mix - 6 g

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Lunch
- Large green salad with avocado, bulgur, lentils, sprouts, and spirulina crunch - 10 g

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Mid-afternoon snack
Roasted chickpeas - 20 g

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Second mid-afternoon snack
Lettuce with tahini, seeds and almonds - 10 g

Dinner at a restaurant
Tomato soup, root vegetable salad, orange juice - 10 g

Before bed snack at home
White bean chocolate chip cookie dough cream with peanut butter - 15 g

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So what did we get in total? 85 grams. That’s definitely enough. Pretty good actually. I called my step-mom and we alienated the cause - I slept for just 3-4 hours a night last week and started a new exercise regimen! That’s not healthy for a breastfeeding mom as the body starts expending energy on helping the body not to collapse and doesn’t spend as much on making healthy milk for the baby. Plus some of those calories went into building muscles.

I also reduced my intake of grains and fruits on weekdays (as much as I want on weekends) in order to test out the Slow Carb diet against the warning of Tim Ferriss for breastfeeding moms. I immediately noticed improvement in my weight and muscle tone, but I think it has a negative impact on my milk supply. And so I am back to eating full grains such as quinoa, buckwheat and bulgur. I am leaving rice for the weekend though. 

I decided to take up milder forms of exercise for now, as well as decided to up my intake of protein foods like lentils, tahini and others, and most of all went back to sleeping at least 7 hours a night!

Also as stupid as it sounds, I forgot my water bottle in my husband’s car and didn’t drink enough in the last 3 days. Drinking quality beverages is really important and should not be forgotten by a breastfeeding mom!

My milk supply went back to normal within 24 hours. 


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