Cravings don’t stop immediately after the baby is born. Oh, no-no-no. Food cravings begin within the first trimester (sometimes as early as five weeks) for many women. They can continue postpartum, especially when the mama breastfeeds.
You're not alone if you’ve been craving fried, sweets, or salty foods while breastfeeding. Food craving isn’t uncommon during lactation and pregnancy. As a nursing mother, you need an extra 500 kcal to produce the nutrient-rich milk that nourishes your little one. Not to mention, your new-mom routine, combined with the need for more calories, will cause hunger pangs and food cravings.
Reasons For Cravings
Aside from the fact that you’re sharing and providing nutrition for your newborn, you carried that growing little one for nine months and went through the physical stress of delivering a baby. Now you’re here, likely craving something sugary or deep-fried or both!
The Lack of Sleep
A lack of sleep causes our brain’s decision-making ability to be negatively affected. Experiencing impaired activity from sleep deprivation isn’t a surprise. However, the areas of our brain that control rewards, motivation, and desire become incredibly active and make certain foods seem more appealing.
It’s common for a new mother to be existing with only a few hours of sleep daily. Sleep deprivation will make you crave sugary and fatty foods to satisfy the reward center in your brain.
Constant stress increases our appetite and desire to eat. Welcome to motherhood; it isn’t always a smooth journey. There will be stressful experiences and periods of stress. Fatigue and lack of sleep contribute to stress.
Consuming fatty and/or sugary foods will temporarily help lower your stress level. The instant relief and gratification only lead us further into the temptation of the foods we crave.
How To Control Food Cravings While Breastfeeding
As a breastfeeding mother, you may be unable to curb those cravings all the time. However, there are ways you can try to manage the craving and focus on taking a healthier approach, especially now that you have a little being that depends on your well-being.
Rather than resisting our food cravings all the time, it’s best for breastfeeding mothers to satisfy those cravings healthily. Ignoring our cravings can lead to more stress. The key is balancing cravings with nutritious foods and using portion control.
Give your body what it wants, but in a positive and healthy way! Remember, you’re breastfeeding, so what you eat provides the nutrition for your sweet little one.