Healthy Pregnancy & Nursing Snacks
I have often been asked by many moms about cleansing during nursing. The postnatal period is a delicate time. I have found that it can take just as long to recover your body to a state of "normalcy" as it did to prepare the body for having a baby. After pregnancy moms will usually find themselves busy, eating on the fly and not taking time for their bodies. Compile that with a previous history of eating processed foods and a constant burden on the liver to make the necessary hormones for pregnancy and now nursing, it is not surprising that many moms start to notice signs of congestion in their body... skin rashes, bloating, weight gain and other digestive discomforts that the body is not "happy" so to speak. I definitely know and understand this struggle and found myself wondering how best to eat to support your nursing needs, but also balance it with what your body is actually able to handle and digest properly.
It is no question that pregnancy can be a time to choose wisely and avoid things that further congest your system. Cleansing during pregnancy is not the focus, however keeping a clean healthy diet is! Nursing however, can be another story. I had no idea my first daughter would want to nurse for 3 years!!! Well, she did and I had to make some decisions during that time if I wanted to start working on the clear signs of congestion arising in my body, especially in preparation for a future pregnancy.
It has been my experience and many other moms I know that by around 6 months your milk is good and established. This is where the nursing munchies start to fade, the nursing rhythm between you and your little one feels right and ideally, you can start to feel more in control of your eating habits and routine. To support your milk long term it is important to stay hydrated and helpful to supplement with herbs and trace plant minerals to support lactation. This 6-9 month window is where I find it is possible to lighten up the diet and still maintain a great milk supply. Contrary to popular belief, nursing an infant is not a license to eat whatever and whenever you want. If you only go for heavy filling foods especially high in starches and fats (even healthy fats!) all day, every day, in my experience you will find there is a point your body just can't do it any longer.
That was my case and I was thankful to find that I was able to successfully adjust my diet and continue to nurse not one but two little girls at the same time, dairy free, eating a diet high in fruits, veggies, and lean meats. If your body is talking to you about lightening up, it probably means you can do it too!!
Here's a collection of meals and snacks I use regularly for myself and my family:
Around 6-9 months post pregnancy, I find that I can usually switch to lighter breakfasts. If you can stretch this window from bedtime to the next mid-morning and only hydrate with water and fresh juice or smoothies, this can allow the body a little break to "clean out" gently. That's 12 hours of a break from digestion that your body can use to repair, regenerate and detoxify on a gentle level.
Fresh pressed vegetable and fruit juices
If I feel like I need a little extra lift that morning, I'll add in:
Plant based protein (pea or hemp) to a smoothie
I usually try to go with a salad or leftovers from dinner the night before just to make it easy.
Easy Meals that make great leftovers:
Oven roasted veggies paired with a salad
Salads can be simple, quick and enjoyable especially if you make a batch of homemade dressing ahead of time...you will be longing for your salad by lunch time! My favorites:
If you have toddlers or babies or both you probably will do best keeping snacks simple for now. You really don't need to be in the kitchen more than you have to! There is a way to do simple snacking for you and your kiddos that does not come with all the processed packaging... I promise! My daughter has survived 4 years without a goldfish... it is possible. :)
Hydrating fruits and vegetables are key to have on hand and more filling than you realize. You may think you need a chunk of cheese but really some celery and avocado are actually very satisfying. Here are some of my basic go-to snacks during the day as you try to navigate between diapers, nursing, laundry and teaching the art of sharing at play time.
Hard boiled eggs
Soaked and air dried almonds, walnuts or sunflower/pumpkin seeds (feel free to dehydrate...mine never make it that far!)
Seaweed snacks (dried seaweed - our favorite brand is Sea Snacks and comes in various flavors)
Sliced avocado and tomatoes with a scoop of sauerkraut
Large coconut flakes
Sliced cucumbers sprinkled with sea salt
Sliced zucchini wheels and fresh salsa
Fresh fruit (usually apples, berries, citrus or watermelon or whatever in season)
Chlorella tablets (can blend into a smoothie or just eat them straight, weird...i know)
Homemade smoothie - the options are endless but I definitely use my favorite greens powder
Be encouraged nursing mommas, you are doing a beautiful thing for your baby. Remind yourself how amazing your body is designed and trust that it can make a nourishing food best when you are nourished and processing food well yourself.
-Blessings, Jen Lawrence