Pregnant? Let nourishment flow

Welcome to the journey of bringing a child into this world. If you are reading this it is likely that you are a woman who cares about the health of her body and baby. You, like most every woman I know may have concerns over a changing body and weight gain. Questions come to mind such as:          
             Will my body ever be the same?
            How much weight should I gain?
            Do people think I am getting fat?
Let me start by reminding you that you are not getting fat. You are having a baby which looks and feels very different than an increase in body size due to dietary weight gain and inactivity.
When you are pregnant friends, family, and even perfect strangers seem to think it is now open season to comment on your size. This can be uncomfortable for a healthy, fit, body-aware woman. When this happens (and it will!) boost your  confidence with this mantra: My body and health are perfect, beautiful, and amazing.
Trust  your body’s innate ability to grow and support you in a way that is natural for only you and your pregnancy. Listen to your body when it tells you it needs rest, a walk, a stretch, or eat.
And when your trust wanes,check-in with your doctor or mid-wife and ask all the questions you need to so you can feel at ease in your changing body.
For the first time maybe ever, you have no control over the changes in your body. This is an entirely different mentality from non-pregnancy when over time, results of your diet and exercise habits show up in your body. In the first trimester it takes a mind-shift. If there was ever a time to set yourself  free from from unnecessary and rigid dietary rules, it is now.
Don’t get me wrong. Good nutrition is important to ensure you and your baby get more of what you need and less of what you don’t, but think of it like this: Instead of holding tight fisted to a strict nutrition regimen, ease  your grip and let nutrition flow, adapt, and change with your changing body.
At this point you may be saying to yourself, “Sounds nice but how do I do that?”
Here are few pieces of nutrition advice that I hope help you embrace your changing body confidently and increase the trust of your own nutrition intuition when it comes to eating in way that nourishes both you and baby
1. Ditch dieting: Stop counting calories. Eat when you are hungry and stop before you’re too full.
2. Snack regularly: Changes it blood sugar have a more dramatic effect on energy and feeling of nausea during pregnancy. Keep nutritious snacks on hand (like LUNA Bars) when you are on the go so you can eat more nutritiously, even when you have little time.
3. Honor your cravings intelligently: If a burger and fries is calling you  answer it. Just keep in check by eating it slowly and not eating it every day.
4. If it makes you sick, skip it: Fluctuating hormones have a big affect on your appetite and tolerance to foods. One day veggies may make you sick but a week later a salad tops your list of what you want to eat.
5.Toss the scale:  Weight gain guidelines are just that, guidelines. You may gain more than what you have read is recommended or less, it will all balance out. Let your healthcare professionals tell you if it is too much or too little.

You may find it hard to adjust to your changing body, but fill yourself with gratitude for the opportunity and go with the flow as much as possible.

Post baby body can be better than pre-baby! Really.

Many women have the notion that there body will never be the same post-pregnancy. This may be true. In fact, it is actually possible to have a healthier, fitter, and happier body after pregnancy! Why? Because thanks to your new baby you have a whole new perspective on what is really important, enjoying the journey and challenges of motherhood.
Far too many women are plagued by guilt and restrictions associated with food, which can bust the good mood of any new mama. I am proposing you reclaim your body with gusto by letting go of the pressure and expectation to look and be a certain way. Invite a new approach to reclaiming your body, trusting your nutrition intuition.
We are smart women, it doesn’t take a doctor or a dietitian to tell us what to eat. We do know. Trust yourself and let pride be the guiding light. By trusting your gut instincts on good health and following your nutrition intuition you can reconnect to your own “inner dietitian” that has been clouded by years diet myths, conflicting information, and misrepresented facts.
Begin incorporating the following “game changers” to the art and science of better, more balanced health:
1. Eat in a way you feel proud of.
No apologies or excuses. Including fruits and vegetables at each meal or noshing on carrots as an afternoon snack is something to be proud. Devouring a bag of chips while you make dinner for the family probably isn’t your proudest nutrition moment.
2. Enjoy the rewards of positive eating.
Take a moment to assess how you feel when include more positive snacks in your day: more energy, improved  daily performance, better mood
3.  Recognize that food offers so much more than nutrition
It is quite alright  to eat something just of the taste of it. Acknowledging this while also acknowledging #1 And # 2 will help you moderate things like chocolate and still enjoy it.
4. Think of your snacks as mini meals.
Think of snacking as a good opportunity to sneak in more nutrients. Take advantage of your snacking time!
 5. Follow this  simple equation:
Fiber + Protein and/or Healthy Fat = Nourishing Snack
6. Listen to your body for hunger cues.
Are you reaching for a snack because you’re really hungry or because you’re sad, bored, frustrated, or tired? If you’re unsure, wait 20 minutes. After the time has passed and you still feel like you need a snack, chances are you’re really hungry.
7. Enjoy and savor your snack.
If you focus on the moment, you’ll be more likely to make healthier choices, you’ll be more satisfied after you finish eating, and be less likely to reach for something when you’re not really hungry.
8. Nourish your body every 3 -5 hours.
Eating often & regularly is the key to maintaining your energy. It keeps your mind sharp, your body energized, and help to prevent you from over-eating at meal times.

Embrace your softer side right now. Use your inner dietitian. Be kind to yourself. Your body just did something amazing. Give it the time and space and opportunity to recover and focus on maintaining your well-being so you can focus on what’s really important, enjoy these baby moments and your new family.

A Story of Supply and Demand: Breastmilk

There is no doubt that breastfeeding is the best nourishment for your baby. My own son, now a healthy and happy seven year-old boy, was born at twenty-six weeks and two days. It was frightening, but at the moment I delivered my body created the perfect food for him tailored by nature specifically to his one pound and fourteen ounce body.

As he was whisked off to the NICU the doctor entered my room with a small little tube that could hold only 3 millileters. He stressed the importance of my ability to capture the first drops of milk, colostrum, that would be made available to my son as soon as possible. I am forever grateful for the lactation consultant that spent time with me teaching me to self-express these  tiny drops of “pure gold” that would help him to develop his premature digestive system. This was my gift to him and the only way I could put my nurturing instincts to good use.

It was then that I truly understood the importance of giving my body nothing less than everything it needed to ensure I could continue to provide him with breast milk. I learned the most important things you can do to ensure your breast milk supply was:

1. Get enough rest. Your body needs to keep up with the demanding job of make milk.
2. Drink plenty of water. Breastfeeding can be dehydrating and dehydration can affect your milk supply
3. Eat enough calories. Now is not the time to go on calorie-crashing diet.
4. Eat a variety of colorful foods to ensure you are getting the nutrients you need.
5. Take an omega-3 and vitamin D supplement to boost your nutrition
6. Avoid decongestant medications and certain herbs because they can reduce your milk supply
7. Try a fenugreek supplement. It can’t hurt and it may give you a milk production boost.

There are a number of teas focused on ingredients that may help nursing mothers keep up their milk production. It is uncertain if they work, but they can’t hurt. At the very least, taking time for tea can help reduce stress which can be helpful.

You may have also heard that milk production is a supply and demand issue. Lactation consultant’s number one recommendation for increasing your supply is to pump or breastfeed more. For some,  the milk  will flow easily. For me it didn’t, so I was challenged to pump more and more between feedings to find that I had no time for my body to rest and recuperate between feedings. While increasing demand is extremely valuable advice, it can also create a great deal of stress for a new mother.

The moral of my story is that breast milk is a miracle food for your baby. Take care of yourself, give what you can, and now that when and if demand exceeds supply, nourishment of your baby doesn’t have to way all on your shoulders. You will both be nourished and ok.