All babies are born knowing exactly how much to eat and when. They’re completely in tune with their hunger and satiety cues. It’s only once babies begin to receive external pressures and expectations that they begin to lose the ability to innately know their hunger.
When you watch a baby nurse, she knows what she wants--how much, how long...she knows. But us mamas? It can be a little more difficult to reconnect with that part of us that’s so intuitive.
When we’re not literally giving another human life with our own bodies and energy by sharing our nutrition and milk supply, we’re cleaning up messes, changing diapers, and rushing to appointments. Life is busy! Among all of these things, it can get tough to decipher our own hunger and satiety cues as we go through our mom life.
Sometimes, we aren’t in a place where we can just stop and eat when we feel our hunger. Sometimes, we have to eat when we’re full, knowing we’ll be busy or out when our next mealtime is. Maybe we don’t even know what the best things to eat as a new mom actually are, so we skip meals or cut corners.
This kind of eating further breaks us from our internal hunger and satiety cues, and can lead to the much dreaded #hangry breastfeeding mama and negatively affect breast milk supply!
Understanding Hunger & Satiety Cues
Our hunger and satiety cues are like little whispers our bodies send us. If we don’t listen and respond accordingly, those whispers grow and develop and turn in to screams we can’t ignore (hence the hangry mama).
Thankfully, there are some simple tools and habits you can develop to become more intuitive about your eating and shift your behaviors to honor your hunger and your body. Because if mama’s hungry - baby’s hungry.
Tips For Eating Intuitively
First, begin to notice your hunger cues. Remember that it starts as a whisper. If we can notice and listen to the whisper when it first starts we can connect much better with our hunger.
For example, when a baby is hungry she begins to suck on her fingers, show signs of rooting, open and close her mouth, and smack her lips together.
Those are the whispers of a baby’s hunger. We know these cues. We’ve read about them in parenting books, heard it from our healthcare providers, learned it in our lactation support groups. But what about mama’s hunger cues? What do those look like?
- Thinking about food?
- Having trouble concentrating?
- Getting a sinking feeling in your stomach?
- Feeling faint or light headed?
When these feelings start to happen, it’s time to get yourself some nutrient dense foods to nourish yourself.
As you begin to take notice of when these whispers happen, you can anticipate when you’ll be hungry and better prepare having nourishment around when hunger strikes.
When you’re really in tune with your cues, it will make nourishing yourself so much more simple. You won’t be fretting about how to increase milk supply or researching the best protein powder for new moms. You’ll have the foundation for creating a healthy lifestyle that supports your breastfeeding journey and beyond!
When that hunger strikes and you begin to notice, it’s helpful to have foods and snacks stashed around the house and other places that you find yourself in frequently. It can also be really helpful to prepare snacks in advance!
Snack Ideas To Boost Breastfeeding Nutrition
- Pre-make smoothies with Majka Nourishing Lactation Protein Powder at the beginning of the week so you’ll always have them on hand
- Stash Lactation Cookies in the glovebox of your car or in your purse for an on-the-go snack
- Keep a jar of your favorite nut butter and some crackers in your bedside table
- Make a plate of crudites and hummus in the morning and keep it in the fridge within easy reach when the hunger strikes
Above all else, give yourself grace, honesty and patience during this period. It’s not an easy process to repair your relationship with food and be a more intuitive eater - especially while breastfeeding. Honoring your hunger and satiety cues will create a stronger foundation for not only your health, but also for the health of your baby.
Want more recipe and snack ideas? Check out these other posts!
- Lactation-Boosting Overnight Oats
- 3 Superfood Lattes To Enjoy With Your Lactation Bites
- Lactation Granola Recipe
- Strawberry Beet Lactation Smoothie Recipe
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Bri Towne is a nutritionist, postpartum exercise specialist, and mama of 4 who uses her wellness practice Hello Nourish to teach moms everywhere how to live their happiest healthiest life. She attended graduate school at American University to study Nutrition Education with a focus on perinatal health.
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