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How Breastfeeding Affects Your Hunger Levels

Who knew that breastfeeding could make you feel like a hungry wild beast?!  It's almost like the breastfeeding secret no one really talks about.  Not only can breastfeeding make you feel hungry all the time, but you might notice that you also feel more thirsty.  

So what's the reason behind all this?

Lactation consultant and La Leche League International Director of Media Relations Diana West, IBCLC, says that "the constant urge to want to eat is likely a combination of lack of sleep and elevated levels of the breastfeeding hormone prolactin.  It's basically nature's built-in way of ensuring that nursing mothers get enough energy to cope with the reduced amount of sleep that can happen with taking care of a baby at night," West adds.

An exclusively breastfeeding mother, on average, needs to take in 300-500 calories per day above what was needed to maintain pre-pregnancy weight.  It's also important to remember that your recommended caloric intake will vary depending on your activity level, how often your breastfeed, and your fat reserves.

When you're constantly giving of yourself during the day sometimes we forget the importance of a split second for yourself.  As a new mom, getting little sleep, you need all the energy you can get!  It sounds crazy, but when you're nursing all day long, you honestly forget to eat.  It's important to have quick and easy snacks on hand to help boost your energy levels during the day.  Simple things such as trail mix, fresh fruit, veggies, and string cheese are wonderful to have on hand.  You can even eat them with one hand!  If you're feeling extra motivated try a No Bake Protein Snack Bite or our Lactation Cookies that will help improve your milk supply.  

Nursing can make you parched and it's definitely important to keep water on hand.  You can plan to drink water during every breastfeeding or pumping session.  You can also keep a water bottle on hand during the day to sip on.  Add fruit to your water if you would like to really spice things up! Pay attention to your body's signals. Drinking to satisfy thirst is sufficient for most mothers.         

So take that split second for yourself.  Grab a one handed snack and don't feel bad about that extra cookie, Mama! You deserve it!


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