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Do Breastfeeding Moms Need to Track Calories and Macros Postpartum?

Should Postpartum Moms Track Calories and Macros?

May 13, 2024

As a new mom navigating the postpartum journey, you may have heard conflicting advice about whether or not you should track calories and macronutrients (macros) while breastfeeding. It's a common question many moms ask, and the answer isn't a simple yes or no. Let's dive into this topic and explore what works best for breastfeeding moms during the postpartum period.

The Dilemma: To Track or Not to Track?

Tracking calories and macros can be a helpful tool for some individuals, but it's not a one-size-fits-all approach, especially for for postpartum & breastfeeding moms. While it may provide insight into your daily intake, there are several drawbacks to consider.

First and foremost, as a new mom, your plate is already overflowing with responsibilities. Adding the task of meticulously weighing and scanning every morsel of food can be incredibly time-consuming and overwhelming. It's important to prioritize self-care and avoid adding unnecessary stress to your already demanding schedule.

Additionally, obsessively tracking numbers can lead down a path of unhealthy fixation and potentially trigger disordered eating patterns. During the postpartum period, when your body is recovering and adapting to the demands of breastfeeding, it's crucial to maintain a positive relationship with food and avoid restrictive behaviors that could negatively impact your milk supply.

The Importance of Nourishment and Mindful Eating

Instead of fixating on numbers, the key for breastfeeding moms is to focus on nourishing their bodies with nutrient-dense, whole foods. Calories and macros are important, but the quality of those calories matters just as much, if not more.

Eating a diverse range of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, healthy fats, and whole grains will provide your body with the essential nutrients it needs to support your postpartum recovery, milk production, and overall well-being. If you're looking for healthy meal and snack ideas tailored for postpartum & breastfeeding moms, inside of The Postpartum Shift there are wide variety of balanced meal plans and recipes waiting for you.

Furthermore, tuning into your body's hunger and fullness cues is crucial during this time. Restrictive calorie counting can often lead to ignoring these natural signals, which can result in undereating or overeating – both of which can impact your energy levels, mood, and milk supply.

By practicing mindful eating and listening to your body's needs, you'll be better equipped to make informed choices about what and when to eat. Trust that your body knows what it needs, and nourish it accordingly.

A Balanced Approach

While obsessive calorie and macro counting may not be ideal for most postpartum & breastfeeding moms, there can be value in tracking certain nutrients for a short period. Protein and fiber are two key nutrients that many moms struggle to get enough of during the postpartum period.

Tracking your protein intake for a few days can help ensure you're meeting your increased needs for milk production and postpartum recovery. Likewise, monitoring your fiber intake can help maintain regular digestion and prevent issues like constipation, which can be common after childbirth.

The key is to approach nutrient tracking with balance and moderation. Use it as a temporary tool to gain insight and make adjustments, rather than a long-term obsession. Once you have a better understanding of your needs and how to meet them through your diet, you can step away from tracking and rely more on your body's cues.

Embrace Flexibility and Self-Compassion

Remember, perfection is an unrealistic expectation, especially during the postpartum period. There will be days when your diet isn't ideal, and that's okay. The key is to embrace flexibility and self-compassion.

If you indulge in a less-than-nutritious meal or snack, don't beat yourself up over it. Simply acknowledge it, and move on. Tomorrow is a new day to nourish your body with wholesome foods that make you feel energized and supported.

Moreover, don't forget to factor in your unique circumstances. Your caloric and nutrient needs will vary depending on your age, how many months postpartum you are, milk supply, activity level, your hormones & metabolism. What works for one mom may not work for you, and that's perfectly fine.

The Bottom Line

For most breastfeeding moms, obsessive calorie and macro tracking can do more harm than good during the postpartum period. Instead, focus on nourishing your body with nutrient-dense whole foods, listening to your hunger and fullness cues, and embracing flexibility and self-compassion.

If you feel the need to track certain nutrients, like protein or fiber, do so for a short period and use it as a tool to gain insights and make adjustments, rather than a long-term fixation.

Remember, your body is incredible, and it knows what it needs. Trust it, nourish it, and be kind to yourself throughout this incredible journey of postpartum and breastfeeding. If you're ready to reach your healthiest weight & feel like yourself again postpartum, The Postpartum Shift is for you! You'll find a macro guide that teaches you how to balance your plate with enough protein, fat, and fiber, along with recommended guidelines and ranges. Plus, guides and training to help you organize and strategize your meal planning process.

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.

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