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Madilyn (5mo) & Me, January 2010

When Madilyn was about 5 months old, I hired a personal trainer who helped me work out a diet and exercise plan that would help me lose weight.  She wanted me to do low carb, high protein and I was fine with that.  I had done it before so I was familiar with what I could and could not eat, I had great success with it in the past, and I was mentally prepared to lose the weight.

I did it for two weeks and lost a few pounds and with those pounds, my milk.  I generally have absolutely no problem with milk supply.  I am a freaking dairy cow and could feed all of Africa’s starving children with my wonderful milk.  But this diet sucked it right out of me.  As soon as I realized what had happened, I ran directly to Chik-Fil-A and bought an entire meal, complete with french fries and a milkshake.  I ate oatmeal for breakfast the next morning and lots of other junk I’m sure.  My milk came back in within a few days and all was well with the world.

Except…

Well, except for the nearly $500 I had blown on that personal trainer, gym membership, and new gym shoes.  And the fact that I gained all 4 pounds that I lost back.

Since then, I’ve been terrified to even attempt a calorie-restricting diet, or any other diet that requires drastic changes in my diet.  My caloric intake hasn’t been outrageous but I just seem to be gaining and gaining and gaining and gaining.  I had a difficult time losing weight while I was nursing Styles too but as soon as I stopped, I lost 30 pounds.  I haven’t been silent about the fact that I’m not going to get to lose weight until I’m done nursing Grady.

But the migraines got the best of me.  I just couldn’t deal with it anymore so the last solution was a dietary change in the form of this Paleo Lifestyle.

To be honest, the last thing on my mind when I started eating Paleo was my milk supply. It had, however; been a significant source of stress recently.  I haven’t been dieting  but my milk supply just didn’t seem to be as abundant as it had been in the past.  Grady was getting what he needed but there didn’t seem to be a lot left over.  Call me crazy, but I’m just used to leaking tons of milk while I’m nursing, while I’m sleeping, and not having to pump due to excessive overflow.  But in the last few weeks, that hasn’t been the case.

So, again, the last thing on my mind while starting Paleo was my milk supply.

Grady (2 mo) nursing

But a couple of days ago, I felt that familiar tingle in both breasts while nursing Grady, I heard him gulping down an excessive amount of milk, and I soaked through a Lansinoh breast pad in one feeding.  I was shocked.  It had been a couple of months since that had happened.  I thought it certainly had to be a fluke so I didn’t pay much attention to it.  Two days later, and my milk is still extremely abundant.  I’m not drinking any more water than I was before, I’m not eating oatmeal (which is touted as having milk-production properties), and I’m not drinking any milk-supply tea.  The only thing that I’m doing differently is eating a Primal, whole diet.  I’m eating meat, lots of vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fruit.  I’ve added things that have been missing from my diet for years and the most amazing thing has happened:  My milk supply is abundant and wonderful.  Grady has been staying at the breast longer and has seemed more satisfied after eating.

I had no idea that my dietary changes were going to have such a positive effect on Grady’s food source as well.  I don’t know why the elimination of grains, sugars, and legumes from my diet would have such a positive effect on my milk supply but I’m overjoyed that it has.  I guess if you think about it in a historical sense, it makes sense.  Survival of the fittest kind of thing.  If I didn’t have enough milk back as a cavewoman, my children wouldn’t have survived, and if lots of cavewomen had, had that problem then our entire species wouldn’t be where it is today, it would be extinct.  But now that I’m eating like a cavewoman, I’m apparently producing milk like a cavewoman and the species can live on!

Hip pain gone, no headache, 6 lbs lost, more milk…So many positive changes this week!  I can’t wait to see what the future holds.

 

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  22 Responses to “Breastfeeding and Paleo”

  1. Hmmm maybe I need to try this. I have milk supply issues, along with baby girl having food allergies … oat being one of the them. :-(
    Forgetful Mom recently posted..Super Stalker SundayMy Profile

    • It wouldn’t hurt to try! I wasn’t expecting any increase at all so it really is shocking to me but my boobs are ALWAYS full now! It’s an all-around great lifestyle.

  2. Wow. That’s great! I’m starting Paleo today. I can’t wait!
    Alyssa recently posted..Way Cheap Halloween CostumeMy Profile

    • Congratulations!!! Let me know if you need any help or encouragement. It’s not easy until it becomes habit which I’ve heard can take up to 3 months but just a week and a half in, it’s becoming easier and more second nature.

  3. I love this, chills even! I have a few posts on our blog about breastfeeding and paleo – even a 2 part video blog.

    I’m looking forward to reading more about your journey!

    - Stacy

    • I will have to check it out! I might come back and put a link to those in this post. Your story has been extremely inspirational to me. You look FANTASTIC!

  4. So are you eating any more quantity wise? I’m a Primal eater and I have a breastfed 1 month old… I am STARVING all the time. I’m tempted to just go carnivore because sometimes it seems like having a belly full of meat and fat is the only thing that’ll last long enough to be worthwhile. I’m at 215 lbs so I have some to lose, but I have a feeling it will come off if I keep away from the starches. It’s hard to de-indoctrinate myself from them though, I’ve only been eating this way for about 7 months.
    Bethany recently posted..Announcing… Firefly!My Profile

    • Hi Bethany! I am eating SO much more during the day than I did before starting Paleo. I was starving all the time too so I would grab a bowl of sliced almonds and raisins and eat them like cereal with a spoon. I ate that about 3 times per day for the first few weeks of starting Paleo. I don’t stay away from carbohydrates. I am still eating fruit, sweet potatoes and winter squash. I wonder if that has something to do with it? My goal in starting Paleo was to relieve myself of pain. The weight loss has been a bonus. Being healthy for my family is SO important and I couldn’t use breastfeeding as a scapegoat any longer.

      Full yourself FULL Of healthy fats and you will not only lose weight, but produce delicious, fatty milk. Make sure you’re drinking enough water too. Here’s a snapshot of what I eat during the day:
      Breakfast:
      2 eggs cooked in Pasture Butter
      2-3 slices of bacon or 2-3 sausage patties
      diced peppers & onions in my eggs
      coffee with coconut milk

      Snack:
      Banana or Apple with almond butter

      Lunch:
      Eggplant and Fennel Salad or some other vegetable salad
      canned tuna or chicken, or lunch meat (until I’m FULL)

      Snack:
      grain-free granola bar or a bowl of sliced almonds with some raisins

      Dinner:
      Some sort of meat with 2 different types of vegetables

      I eat a LOT more now that I’m Primal/Paleo than I did when I ate cereal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and I’m still losing lots of weight. Consider talking to Stacy at http://paleoparents.com too. She’s a LLLI counselor and an AWESOME breastfeeding resource. Good Luck! And let me know if you need any further support!

  5. I have been eating Paleo for about 9 days and I’ve noticed my 3 month old daughter being constipated. Where her liquid poo was flowing all throughout the day, she has struggled to even get 1/day. She’s wetting enough though, so not suspecting dehydration. She has also had painful gas and fusses sometimes while eating and I’m not hearing the gulp. After research tonight I’m suspecting I have’t been getting enough calories. What does your diet look like? What kinds of things can I add to boost the milk supply without sacrificing quality of food? I’m glad I found your blog, because I was ready to start back the grains if it meant my baby would get to eat. Thanks again!!

    • First, are you getting enough water? Definitely work on getting more calories. The GREATEST thing about Paleo (in my opinion) is that you don’t have to count calories. Seriously? Who has the TIME or ENERGY for that? You can eat whatever you want within the bounds of the “plan”. Because I’m breastfeeding, I do not limit carbohydrates. I still eat fruit and sweet potatoes. I’m still losing weight and I still feel amazing. Here’s a look at what I eat during the day: Breakfast:
      2 eggs cooked in Pasture Butter
      2-3 slices of bacon or 2-3 sausage patties
      diced peppers & onions in my eggs
      coffee with coconut milk

      Snack:
      Banana or Apple with almond butter

      Lunch:
      Eggplant and Fennel Salad or some other vegetable salad
      canned tuna or chicken, or lunch meat (until I’m FULL)

      Snack:
      grain-free granola bar or a bowl of sliced almonds with some raisins

      Dinner:
      Some sort of meat with 2 different types of vegetables

      I eat a LOT more now that I’m Primal/Paleo than I did when I ate cereal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and I’m still losing lots of weight. Consider talking to Stacy at http://paleoparents.com too. She’s a LLLI counselor and an AWESOME breastfeeding resource. Good Luck! And let me know if you need any further support!

  6. This is so great to read. My youngest is 5 months old and I’m struggling to lose the weight. I gave up sugar a few months ago and then slowly went back to it after getting very sick with rota virus. I’ve been very interested in going paleo for a while now and was wondering if this was a good time…by the looks of what you’re saying, it’s the perfect time!

    Thanks for all the links too….will check them all out and start tomorrow!!

    Samantha
    Samantha recently posted..Building…My Profile

    • My hubby had Rotavirus a few months ago too. DISGUSTING! There is no better time than the present to start something! If you’re breastfeeding, just make sure you are getting PLENTY of calories. Because I’m still nursing, I do not limit my fruit consumption, but I do try to eat more vegetables than fruit. My milk supply has increased since starting Paleo, but pre-Paleo I was eating 3 bowls of cereal/day and that’s really about it. Unless, of course, I was out and about, then I’d eat some nasty fast food meal and a milk shake. No nutrients whatsoever in my diet pre-Paleo, so no wonder my milk increased!

      IN any event, I am SO excited to have you join along. This is a lifestyle change, not a diet. Just remember that :)

  7. Hi–I’m just curious to see how this is going for you. I’m 33 weeks with #4, and have tried to do low carb with my first three pregnancies, only to see my milk supply tank. I’ve gained 15-20 pounds with each of them while breastfeeding (I know you’re supposed to lose, but to keep up my milk, I would have to eat massive amounts of carbs). I’m trying to figure out what to do now–when to switch–right before the baby is born so my body is in “fat-burning” mode, or after the baby or what. I just don’t want to go another year agonizing over whether to keep gaining weight or feed my baby formula. Aaaagh. But it sounds like when you switched to Paleo, there really wasn’t that lag.

    Any tips about how to get started? Did you go through any feeling-really-crappy phase like you do with low carb, or did you just decide one day and that was that?

  8. In the comment before, I meant low-carb while breastfeeding, not during pregnancy.

  9. I just started Paleo (am on day 5), and have been eating like you are (I think). I found out tonight that I really need the fruit, or I feel kind of sick and exhausted– ate my baked apple with almonds and felt better! I feel encouraged to have found this… my daughter ate a lot more last night… I’m hoping it’s just her four month growth spurt and fact that she is much more mobile and rolling around and not a dip in supply. It just seems so healthy!
    traceyjay recently posted..oh granny…My Profile

  10. [...] corrected by eating primal (other ways possible check with lactation specialist), check this out: Breastfeeding and Paleo | Banana Hammocks & Tutus. I would do a lot of reading and learning about breast feeding to make sure that its as easy [...]

  11. How inspirational! It’s always wonderful to see the paleo lifestyle working it’s magic – you not only lose weight but feel better physically and mentally, as well as minimizing risk for the diseases of the western world.
    Alyssa R recently posted..Caveman Breakfast – Coconut PancakesMy Profile

  12. Hi….I eat Paleo, well for the most part. I just started eating strict again and I find that my milk supply is much less now that I do. A month ago, I did 40 straight days of Paleo and by the end, found not much milk supply. Once I added in more ‘crap’, my milk supply increased. Any thoughts on this? Maybe its not related – just trying to figure out what I could add to my eating that could help increase my supply.

    (also, my baby is 6 months old and I have lost all the baby weight)

    Any thought would be greatly appreciated.

    • Hi, Dee! I am still finding a good milk supply and I have been Paleo since October. I do NOT limit carbohydrates and find myself eating lots of nuts and fruit. I don’t know what a typical day looks like for you but mine is relatively steady eating because of the nursing. I think most people who eat Paleo don’t have to eat all the time but with nursing I find that I do. My milk is also thicker now and I absolutely attribute that to the higher fat content of my diet. Stacy from The Paleo Parents has a fantastic Grain-free lactation cookie recipe that you might want to check out!

      • Don’t doubt that your experience going paleo has been awesome, but I just wanted to point out that your milk being thicker is most likely just a part of how our milk changes as baby grows. The milk a six-mo-old gets is very different from what a newborn gets. And the amount of fats you eat doesn’t affect the amount of fat in your milk, but it CAN affect the types of fats, which is why it’s so important to be getting your omega-3s.

        Also, often women fell their milk supply is low when it really isn’t. Here’s a great page explaining what the signs of low milk supply are and aren’t: http://kellymom.com/bf/got-milk/supply-worries/low-supply/

        Thanks for your post. Wishing you the best for your and your family’s health.

  13. I just started paleo and I think I had a dip in my supply. I didn’t pump as much yesterday and my milk letdown is not as strong. I am going to try to stick with it though. Maybe I am not getting enough calories. I am constantly eating. My daughter is almost 11 months. I plan to breastfeed as long as she wants to. When I look at your food for the day I think I may need to just eat more food.

  14. Went paleo/primal 5 weeks ago. Having no issues with my milk supply- baby is happy and chubby :) He is 3 1/2 weeks. But I’ve only lost 6 pounds. I know, I know 6 pounds is better than nothing but I’d love to wear some prepregnancy clothes. I’m still wearing maternity clothes, so depressing. I gained 70 pounds in my pregnancy despite trying my best not too but it makes so much since with the amount of carbs/sugar I was eating. So I guess I expected that when I gave up grains/sugar (which hasn’t been an issue!) I thought the weight would melt off. I’ve lost 36, have 34 to get to pp wt and then want to lose an addition 30 or so pounds. Do I just need to give it more time? Will I have to wait until I’m done nursing? (With my first two I was able to lose the weight by 9/10 months which is slow. apparently I am a very slow loser).

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