Dear Doula,
I had my first baby boy, E., 10 days ago. At first, we had some struggles with breastfeeding, but things have really taken a wonderful turn! He’s nursing well, I’m not experiencing any more pain, and he’s going through 10+ diapers every day!! (I never thought I’d be excited about diaper counts!) Everything is really going so well. Except, at night, as soon as I sit down to nurse, I am STARVING! I was really careful during my pregnancy to eat well and gained just 21 lbs. I’ve been trying to continue with my healthy eating now that I’m breastfeeding, but I’m really struggling during nursing sessions. I just want to eat everything in sight, especially at night! I have never felt so hungry. Is this normal?
-Hungry in Highland Heights

Hi Hungry-
Congratulations on your baby boy! I’m so happy to hear that breastfeeding is going well (and that you have a FANTASTIC diaper count, go Baby E!). 

What you’re feeling with regards to hunger is completely normal.

Breastfeeding persons (whose weight is in the normal range) need an additional 450-500 calories per day!

And while that’s easily done with a slice of Bonbonerie’s Opera Cream Cake, you’re ideally getting those extra calories from nutritious foods. 

Some of our favorite snacks to have prepared for nursing sessions are:

  1. Vegetable crudités with greek yogurt dip.

  2. Turkey and Cheese Pinwheels.

  3. Sliced apples and peanut butter.

  4. Cubed cheese (or, something prepackaged, like string cheese or Babybels).

  5. Pretzels (these are my absolute favorite) and individual cups of hummus (you can portion these out yourself or pick some up at Costco).

  6. Peeled-ahead clementines.

For overnight sessions when you can’t make it to the fridge, keep some Luna Bars or trail mix at your nursing station. A banana makes for a quick snack, as well.

Drinking plenty of fluid is incredibly important while breastfeeding, and it can help curb those feelings of hunger, as well! Remember, you need approximately 8-10 cups of water a day

Pro Tip: Fill up a stainless steel water bottle (that can keep your water cold for 12-24 hours!) and put it near your bed or where you’ll be nursing. Plan to drink at least one cup of water each time you sit down to nurse (day or night!).

Bottom line: Sister, fill your belly! You just grew a whole human being inside your body and now you’re feeding him [with that same body] so often that he’s pooping and peeing 10+ times per day! You’re a rockstar. And rockstars don’t go hungry. 😀 

We hope you start feeling satiated soon!