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Handling Cravings & Aversions While Pregnant & Postpartum

breastfeeding May 03, 2024

As if the physical and emotional rollercoaster of postpartum isn't enough, many pregnant or postpartum mamas also face intense cravings or sudden aversions to certain foods. One day you can't get enough peanut butter, the next even the thought of it makes you queasy.

While these familiar pregnancy symptoms can seem baffling when they continue after birth, they're your body's way of communicating what it needs during this nutritionally demanding time. By tuning into your cravings and aversions, you can better nourish yourself.

Your Hormones are Shifting

The hormone shifts during pregnancy, postpartum, and breastfeeding can lead to wild cravings and aversions. Fluctuations in estrogen, progesterone, prolactin, and oxytocin levels impact everything from your sense of smell and taste to digestive processes. 

Your Body is Preserving Resources

Cravings and aversions may also be an evolutionary mechanism to ensure you get certain nutrients while conserving others. For example, a sudden distaste for leafy greens could mean your body wants to preserve iron stores for milk production rather than menstruation. An aversion can be your body's way of prioritizing what it needs at the moment.

Common Cravings & What They Could Mean

  • Craving: Dairy - This urge for milk products is likely your body's way of increasing calcium intake to offset depleted levels from nursing. Opt for calcium-rich sources like Greek yogurt, cheese, and calcium-fortified plant milk.
  • Craving: Protein - Intense protein cravings often indicate your body needs more of this key macronutrient to support milk production and your recovery. Egg dishes, lean meats, lentils, and nuts are great options.
  • Craving: Sweets - While normal to experience a sweet tooth, excessive sugar cravings could hint at dehydration or lack of calories or healthy fats. Stay hydrated and include nutrient-dense carbs like fruits, veggie smoothies, or whole grains.
  • Craving: Salty/Crunchy - Salt and carb cravings can signal a need for more sodium and calories in general. Go for salted nuts, seeds, whole grain crackers, or veggie chips.

Handling Aversions

  • Listen to your body if you're experiencing aversions
  • Eat small frequent meals 
  • Don't let yourself go too long without eating
  • Try some bland foods first, before eating foods with more spices & flavors
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If you need guidance ensuring your overall diet is nutrient-dense and balanced while navigating cravings and aversions, check out The Postpartum Shift program. It provides meal plans, snack ideas, and recipes to optimally nourish moms during pregnancy, postpartum & breastfeeding. 

Did you find it helpful, Mama? Please share it with other Mamas!

Hey mama,

I'm Brooke Miller,

Before becoming a mom, I chronically dieted & thought "eat less, move more" was the healthiest option. I dealt with exhaustion, mood swings, hormone imbalances (not getting a regular cycle), high cholesterol and weight cycling. I felt like something was wrong with me.

Before I got pregnant with my first son, I discovered the balanced nutrition approach I teach inside The Postpartum Shift. Once I implemented the framework, I was energized, gained strength, got my period back, lowered my cholesterol & maintained my healthiest weight. I continued this during my pregnancies & postpartum periods and recovered quickly after birth, made more than enough milk for my babies, had energy (even with the sleep deprivation) & stable mood. Postpartum was really enjoyable.

With a decade of experience as a Registered Dietitian and Certified Lactation Counselor, I created The Postpartum Shift to help moms boost energy, mood, metabolism & milk supply to have a stress-free & enjoyable postpartum experience.

WORK WITH ME

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