The Intermittent Fasting and Breastfeeding Meal Plan That Helped me Lose Weight

The Intermittent Fasting and Breastfeeding Meal Plan That Helped me Lose Weight

*This post may contain some affiliate links for your convenience.  Click here to read my full disclosure policy. Also please note I am not a medical professional or a nutritionist. This is simply me sharing my meal plan that has helped me lose weight. Please talk to your doctor before starting any health plan.   

INTERMITTENT FASTING AND BREASTFEEDING MEAL PLAN 

I love food. Always have. And when I’m nursing, I used to have ZERO control. Even if I’d been sitting on the couch all day, I’d eat like a linebacker at an all-you-can-eat buffet.

But heaven knows I tried. I always tried to eat well, but I failed. And losing weight while breastfeeding was near impossible for me with my first 3 babies.

In fact, I would gain weight while nursing.

But after the birth of my 4th child, with steely determination and the go-ahead from my doctor, I started intermittent fasting while breastfeeding.

Over the past year, through intermittent fasting while breastfeeding I’ve managed to lose over 35 lbs and get to my weight from before having 4 children.

In sharing my success with intermittent fasting and breastfeeding, people have asked a lot of questions about the IF process, how I planned my meals, and what kinds of meal I ate etc.

And since my mission is to help moms live happier healthier lives, I wanted to share a bit more about my journey and the intermittent fasting and breastfeeding meal plan that has brought me the most weight loss success.

I also created an awesome intermittent fasting and breastfeeding printable pack with sample meal plans, fillable meal plans sheets, and a weekly log to track your results. Be sure and check it out at the bottom of the post!

The intermittent fasting and breastfeeding meal plan that helped me lose the baby weight #weightloss #mealplan #intermittentfasting

The intermittent fasting and breastfeeding meal plan that helped me lose the baby weight #weightloss #mealplan #intermittentfasting

PHASE 1: GETTING CONTROL

I first began intermittent fasting with a eating period from noon-8pm (and I’ve strayed very little from that over the last year).

At that point, I was less concerned about an exact meal plan as just getting some control over my cravings. While I was hungry before my first meal for the first few days, my body quickly adjusted, and the 8 hour eating window felt perfect.

The first couple months I noticed 3 things:

  1. I no longer felt like a prisoner to my hunger and cravings
  2. I was learning to recognize and listen to my bodies true hunger cues
  3. I was naturally tuning into how different foods made me feel

During this period, I went from just trying to gain a modicum of control to naturally moving towards intuitive eating and making better health choices.

Which is when I’d say I entered Phase 2.

PHASE 2: EXPERIMENTING & FINDING MY GROOVE

Once I felt like I had control and was listening to my body, I was able to start researching and experimenting with different meal plans.  

In addition to reading online research and listening to health podcasts, I read 2 heavily-researched books that have had a huge impact on me (and I highly recommend):

  1. The 10-Day Detox Diet by Dr. Mark Hyman: Though a bit restrictive, this plan hands-down gave me the most energy I’ve ever had in my life. 
  2. Why We Get Fat and What to Do About it by Gary Taubes: Heard carbs are bad for you, but not sure why? This book breaks makes complex scientific research easy to understand. 

Influenced by my research, I tried to eliminate or seriously limit white flour, dairy, and sugar. Which for me is like sawing off my own toes. As a sugar addict and lover of cheese and ice cream, sugar and dairy have been the toughest for me.

But as I followed Dr. Hyman’s 10 day detox, which eliminates all sugar, gluten and dairy and basically consists of a truckload of veggies, healthy fats, and lean proteins I not only lost weight, but I felt better than I’d ever felt in my life.

intermittent fasting and breastfeeding meal plan

PHASE 3: MY INTERMITTENT FASTING AND BREASTFEEDING MEAL PLAN

This is the general intermittent fasting and breastfeeding meal plan that brings me the best results. Not just weight loss, but actually feeling really great. The plan follows the general philosophy  of filling my diet with:

  • Lots of vegetables
  • Lean proteins
  • Healthy fats
  • Lots of fiber
  • Restricting: sugar, white flour, dairy

What follows is my general meal plan with 3 meals and a possible snack.

Please note that I do not calorie count. Considering breastfeeding needs and exercise, I find it’s best to listen to my body’s actual needs. Therefore, what follows (other than the breakfast shakes) does not give exact portions.

Also note that I do not follow this perfectly all of the time. I shoot for 80-90% perfection.

MEAL 1: HEALTHY SMOOTHIE OR ON-THE-GO OPTIONS

Often, I start eating for the day with a smoothie packed with protein, fiber, and healthy fats. The result is that I an satiated, loaded with awesome nutrients, yet not weighed down by a heavy meal.

Since the smoothies I tend to make tend to be pretty big, I’ll slowly drink the smoothie over the course of an hour or so as I run around getting stuff done.

If I am in a serious rush and can’t bother with the blender, I will grab a homemade whole grain muffin or a protein bar and an apple.

Check out my 7 Healthy & Delicious Make-Ahead Breakfasts for my favorite healthy muffin recipes that can be made, frozen, and ready to eat after 30 seconds in a microwave. As for protein bars, these are my favorites as they are yummy and full of fiber and protein.

If having a smoothie, I usually will have one of these 2 smoothie recipes (click here to print smoothie recipes). The first is from The 10-Day Detox Diet, and the second one is my own invention.

Dr Hyman’s Whole-Food Protein Shake

  • ½ cup frozen blueberries
  • ½ cup frozen cranberries
  • ¼ organic lemon with rind (optional–but I like it)
  • 1 TBSP almond butter
  • 1 TBSP pumpkin seeds
  • 1 TBSP chia seeds
  • 1 TBSP hemp seeds
  • 2 raw walnuts
  • 2 raw brazil nuts
  • ¼ avocado
  • ½ TBSP coconut butter
  • ½ cup unsweetened almond or hemp milk
  • ½ water

If you can, soak all the nuts in the ½ cup of water at least 30 minutes prior to blending to activate enzymes. Blend all ingredients until smooth. With the lemon rind, you may need a second blend.

Note: I will HEALTHuts for like 10 smoothies and put them in snack bags which makes it really easy when I’m ready to make this smoothie.

Erin’s Chocolate Berry Smoothie

  • 2 cups packed baby spinach leaves
  • 1 cup frozen berries (I do either a 3 berry mix or just blueberries)
  • 1 scoop vegan chocolate protein powder
  • 1 TBSP coconut butter
  • 1 TBSP almond butter
  • 3 TBSP chia seeds
  • ½-1 cup ice (depending on your preference)
  • ½ cup unsweetened almond milk
  • ½ cup water (or more if needed)

Add spinach first to your blender, then the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth.

Intermittent fasting and breastfeeding meal plan

Download this printable meal planning pack by subscribing below

MEAL 2: SALAD WITH LEAN PROTEIN

For my second meal, I usually have a veggie packed salad with a lean protein (usually grilled chicken, flank steak, or canned salmon). I shoot for:

  • Between 5-6 cups of veggies between greens and chopped vegetables
  • Around a 6 oz. portion of protein
  • 1-2 TBSP of homemade dressing or salsa (depending on salad)

As a busy mom, I rarely have time to make a salad every single day for myself. So I am all about quick meal prep and mason jar salads. You can make a whole week of salads in under an hour that you just pull out of the fridge and enjoy. (Here are the mason jars that I use).

Here are my favorite make-ahead mason jar salad recipes:

MEAL 3: LEAN PROTEIN, LOTS OF VEGGIES, & BROWN RICE OR QUINOA

My last meal of the day is nearly always a meal I make for my entire family. Since my goal has not just been improving my health and habits, but also that of my husband and 4 kids, I don’t make a separate dinner. I mean, who has time for that? As a result, I tend to like to provide a bit more variety than I would if I was just cooking for myself.

Here’s what this meal usually includes:

  • Lean protein (usually grilled chicken or fish, but we occasionally indulge in tri-tip)
  • 2 veggie dishes (like a roasted veggie & green salad)
  • A whole grain dish like brown rice or quinoa 

Here are 7 Healthy Dinners you can make in under 30 minutes that a great. Also, for more ideas be sure and follow my healthy dinner recipe Pinterest board.

SNACKS

If I need a snack (like on heavy gym days), I generally shoot for fiber and protein in each. Here are some of my favorites:

  • Veggies with a dip (like humus)
  • Apple slices and almond butter
  • Nuts
  • Protein bar 

MY RESULTS

meal plan for intermittent fasting while breastfeeding

This is where I am after a year of IF and changing my eating habits. Trust me, if I can do it ANYONE cane.

COULD THIS WORK FOR YOU?

Well, there you have it! This is the general plan I follow to lose/maintain weight while intermittent fasting and breastfeeding. It leaves me satisfied and energized allowing me to work out daily, chase my kids, and make it through the day.

If you are interested in either following this meal plan or creating your own intermittent fasting and breastfeeding meal plan, you can download the printable pack (shown above) when you subscribe to my email list. 

You’ve got this, mama!

 

 

Is it Worth it to Buy Breastfeeding Clothes?

Is it Worth it to Buy Breastfeeding Clothes?

*This post may contain some affiliate links for your convenience (which means that, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission)  Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

IS IT WORTH IT TO BUY BREASTFEEDING CLOTHES?

You’ve seen the ads, you’ve scrolled the online options, but you’re on the fence about Breastfeeding clothes. Are they necessary? Is it actually worth it to buy breastfeeding clothes?

While no one could argue that they’re necessary (women have nursed for millennia without them), the truth is they make nursing (especially in public spaces) so much more convenient.

After breastfeeding 4 babies for a combined 4 years, it is 100% my conviction that it it completely worth it to buy breastfeeding clothes. Let me explain why.

Breastfeeding is tough.

Which is part why 60% of mothers do not breastfeed for as long as they want to.

Including me.

While I had tried valiantly, I didn’t nurse my first 3 to the year mark (which was something I really wanted to do). Somewhere along the way, I’d hit a point where it all would feel like too much and so I’d stop nursing.

But disappointment and feelings of inadequacy inevitably followed.

So I decided that it’d be different with my fourth and last baby. Which meant that I had to actually do things differently. If I wanted to be successful nursing while raising 4 kids 4 and under, I needed to make nursing as convenient as possible.

I needed to give breastfeeding clothes a try.

With each pregnancy, I’d peruse the internet looking at cute breastfeeding clothes. But I felt like they were a little expensive and that I didn’t really need them. They were “extra.” Not a necessity.

I’ll get by on what I have, I thought.

But “getting by” meant many uncomfortable and awkward situations as I strained to get the milk bags out of uncompromising clothes. I’d be sitting in my car or a bathroom stall (yuck) nursing a child with a dress or blouse pulled all the way up.

Or awkwardly trying to nurse with a cover while trying to navigate through about 5 articles of clothing, pushing this one that way and that one this way just trying to feed my child.

It was frustrating. And it made nursing much harder and more inconvenient than it needed to be.

So once I was pregnant with my 4th, I finally decided to splurge and buy actual straight up, honest-to-goodness breastfeeding clothes.

And I’ve never looked back.

Is it worth it to buy breastfeeding clothes? #breastfeeding #baby #newmom #breastfeeding

It’s been a completely different experience.

I now shout it from the rooftops: breastfeeding clothes make nursing  much easier.

We’re well past the year mark breastfeeding and I’m still wearing the same awesome breastfeeding clothes. And still getting compliments on them.

Here’s why you need breastfeeding clothes:

1) Makes it super easy to nurse discreetly in any situation

Let’s just be honest for a sec–popping the ladies out isn’t exactly convenient in most clothes. You may be able to get away with what you have for the first month or two when you hardly ever leave the house.

But once you are back into the normal routine, nursing your baby wherever you are quickly becomes incredibly inconvenient in most normal clothes. I ‘ve witnessed plenty of moms in the mothers’ lounge at church who’ve had to pull their entire dress up, or who are wrestling with several layers of clothes and nursing covers to nurse their baby. All while I quickly and easily pop my baby on thanks to the miracle of breastfeeding clothes.

Breastfeeding clothes (and nursing-friendly clothes) make discrete nursing easy and convenient. They also increase your chances of successfully breastfeeding for as long as you choose.

Not sure what you need to get? Check out the Ultimate Breastfeeding Clothes Resource Guide

2) Eliminates the need for a nursing cover

Breastfeeding clothes not only make nursing more easy and convenient, but they’re designed to make it discreet. Most are designed so that very little of your breast is exposed while you are nursing. And what is exposed is covered by your baby.

I found that while in public, I could quickly, easily, and very discreetly nurse my little one (with no cover) without getting any looks whatsoever. Not only was it so much quicker and easier for me to latch and feed my child, but it’s like people didn’t even notice.

And honestly ladies, what baby likes having a blanket covering their face while eating? Battling to keep a cover over your nursing baby is not the recipe for flying under the radar while breastfeeding in public spaces.

3) They’re Affordable

My big mistake was thinking that breastfeeding clothes were too expensive. In truth, they cost about as much as a normal wardrobe. If you are planning to nurse for 6 months to a year, then they are worth it.

If nursing long-term is important to you, then making sure you have the right clothes is a small price to pay for the feeling of satisfaction that comes with nursing you baby as long as you choose.

And you need clothes anyways, so you might as well get ones that will be cute and make your life so much easier.

4) They’re fashionable (no one will know they’re nursing)

With side zips and clever designs, you’d never even know that they’re nursing clothes. You can look hip, dressy, and fabulous…and still be able to nurse at a seconds notice.

Even over the past few years, the selection of really cute nursing clothes has exploded. here are never-ending selection of  cute breastfeeding clothes out there right now!

I always get compliments on my breastfeeding clothes and people are shocked when I tell them they’re nursing clothes (see below for a few places to start).

worth it to buy Breastfeeding clothes

5) Many styles very kind to postpartum bodies

Another thing that I’ve found is that a lot of the cuts and styles of breastfeeding clothes take into account a women’s postpartum body shape. So many of the dresses on tops are looser in the belly region.

This makes breastfeeding clothes perfect for the months following birth. Not only can you nursing easily, but you can wear cte and comfy clothes at the same time.

This dress was is my absolute favorite. Not only is it mega comfortable and so easy to nurse (the dress snaps into your nursing bra), but friends and family would comment that I looked slim in the dress. Even with my postpartum belly.

6) Never been a better time with more fabulous options

We’re basically in a renaissance for breastfeeding clothes. It’s an exciting time to be alive, ladies!

There are so many places to get great breastfeeding clothes. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Amazon: You really can get anything on Amazon! Some of my favorite items are from here.
  • Milk & Baby: Great clothes. I especially love the dresses.
  • Roolee: Super cute, modern clothes at really reasonable prices.

For a more complete guide to breastfeeding clothes, check out The Ultimate Guide to Breastfeeding Clothes.

Breastfeeding Clothes Will Change Your Nursing Experience

It really is worth it to buy breastfeeding clothes. Even if it’s just a top or two. Just start with a cute top or dress you like and see what a difference it makes.

Investing in breastfeeding clothes completely changed my breastfeeding experience. After breastfeeding 3 babies, I was genuinely surprised by what a massive difference it made with my fourth. It made it so easy and convenient to nurse discreetely absolutely anywhere.

No more awkwardness and stress while trying to nurse in public. No more fumbling with 6 articles of clothing and intense discomfort as I try to feed my child.

Check out my Ultimate Guide to Breastfeeding Clothes and be ready to experience the magic.

You’ve got this, mama!

13 Tips for Intermittent Fasting While Breastfeeding

13 Tips for Intermittent Fasting While Breastfeeding

*This post may contain some affiliate links for your convenience.  Click here to read my full disclosure policy. Also please note I am not a medical professional or a nutritionist. This is simply me sharing my experience with intermittent fasting (after consulting my doctor) that has helped me lose weight. Please talk to your doctor before starting any health plan

TIPS FOR INTERMITTENT FASTING WHILE BREASTFEEDING 

Intermittent fasting has been a godsend for me. I’ve reclaimed my health, losing over 35 lbs in the year since I started. And I’ve finally lost the baby weight from 4 back-to-back pregnancies. All while breastfeeding. And taking care of 4 busy kids.

For me, intermittent fasting while breastfeeding has been the gateway to healthy habits and establishing a healthy lifestyle (you can read more about my experience here).

Because of my results, I’ve been asked a lot about what exactly I did to successfully breastfeed while doing intermittent fasting (IF). After over a year of IF, here are my top tips for intermittent fasting while breastfeeding.

13 tips for success doing intermittent fasting while breastfeeding

 1) START SLOWLY

Be gentle with yourself. I know exactly how you feel. You want to lose this baby weight and feel good about yourself again. But this is not a quick-fix solution for weight loss. It’s a tool you can use to improve your health. Your priority is health, both yours and your baby’s.

To ensure you don’t disrupt your milk supply, start slowly. Start with a 12 hour fasting period (for example, 8:00 pm to 8:00 am) and then gradually increase it from there to a 14 or 16 hour fasting window.

To keep track your fasting/eating hours, download the free printable intermittent fasting and breastfeeding weekly log at the bottom of this post!

Since adjusting, I have mostly done a 16:8 (16 hours fasting, 8 hours eating). My body is very comfortable with that and I rarely feel actual hunger.  I feel best eating between a 6 and 8 hour window.

2) LISTEN TO YOUR BODY

What is true hunger vs. simply wanting to eat? We spend so much of our life ignoring our body’s signals of true hunger and fullness.

Tune into your body and determine whether you’re experiencing hunger or just in the habit of eating. Pay attention to emotional triggers that send you straight to the fridge, even when you’re not actually hungry.

On this IF journey, I’ve had to wrestle with the fact that I am an emotional eater. My husband has a major work success. So we celebrate with milkshakes AFTER a huge meal.

My child gets injured and we rush her to the ER. So I nervously down a huge bag of vending machine Skittles.

I’m overwhelmed with work, kids, and my many responsibilities. And I find myself in a fast food drive-thru despite the fact I just ate and am not at all hungry.

Intermittent fasting has helped me cut through the emotional noise and actually listen to my true hunger cues. That alone has been a revelation. I’ve gotten back to my weight from before having 4 kids without counting any calories.

I also pay close attention to how what I eat affects my body. After 5 sugar cookies, I am zapped of energy and feel seriously gross. But after the green smoothie, I’ve got all the energy I need to keep up with 4 little kids.

Not only do I eat fewer calories naturally, but paying attention to how food make me feel had helped me make healthier food choices.

 3) DRINK LOTS OF WATER

One of the few things my pediatrician insisted on was drinking tons of water. Since I’m never without my trusty (and very banged-up) Hydroflask, it hasn’t been a problem.

You need lots of water to maintain your milk supply.  And plus, it also helps navigating true hunger pains. And it makes your skin nice, too! Check out 5 Clever Ways to Drink More Water.

tips for intermittent fasting while breastfeeding

4) DON’T GO NUTS WITH EXERCISE 

As your body adjusts to a new eating pattern, don’t overdo your exercise routine at the beginning. While you should certainly exercise regularly, gradually increase your intensity so as not to shock your body.

When I started, I would exercise a few days a week for 25 minutes (doing this workout program). As I grew accustomed to IF, I upped my game. Now I do a pretty intense weekly regime of heavy weights, HIIT, and running.

Need help getting motivated to exercise? Then check out 3 Ways for Busy Moms to Get Motivated to Exercise.

5) EXERCISE RIGHT BEFORE BREAKING YOUR FAST

Experts recommend exercising immediately before breaking your fast in order to reap the greatest metabolic benefits.

At first, I thought that I wouldn’t have the energy to exercise, but now I feel best exercising on an empty stomach. I have the most energy in the hours before breaking my fast.

6) EAT PLENTY OF HEALTHY FATS, VEGETABLES, AND LEAN PROTEINS

Eating healthy fats, protein, and loads of vegetables is going to be key to getting proper nutrition and staving off hunger. Having all three in each meal or snack have absolutely helped me get the results I’ve wanted.

I love adding healthy fats like avocado, nuts, coconut butter, or nut butters to smoothies. You can also throw nuts and avocados into salads, or just eat them plain!

7) PLAN YOUR MEALS AHEAD OF TIME 

If you’ve you’re really hungry and you let loose in the kitchen without a plan, what typically happens?

I you are anything like me, your instinct is to eat EVERYTHING. Which results in feeling sluggish and gross. But if you make a meal plan ahead of time, you will be much more likely to stick to a healthy eating plan.

Check out this meal plan that helped me lose all of the baby weight. You can also download free meal planning printables and an intermittent fasting and breastfeeding weekly log below this post.

8) STOP EATING AFTER DINNER

As you go through the day, you are using up your limited store of willpower. After dinner, most of us have very little willpower left. Therefore, eating anything during this time may send us for a ride on the binge-eating train packed to the gills with sugar and carbs.

9) TAKE PGX BEFORE MEALS

At first, you may be tempted to overeat. Especially, at your first meal of the day. But that will just leave you zapped of energy and will NOT help you achieve your health goals. PGX can help with that.

I first heard about the supplement PGX when I read Dr. Hyman’s 10-Day Detox Diet (which is awesome) where he highly recommends taking it before each meal. PGX is a soluble fiber from natural sources that helps regulate blood sugar, reduces food cravings, and helps with appetite control.

Since it takes 20 minutes after eating for your body to feel fullness, taking a few PGX fiber capsules with water before eating can help with overeating.

I typically take 3-6 capsules a few minutes before eating a meal (especially my first meal of the day) and it helps me not to go nuts and eat everything in my sight. If I’m feeling especially hungry, it helps me not to feel so ravenous so I don’t eat so much that I feel gross.

intermittent fasting and breastfeediing

10) GET PROTEIN & FIBER WITH EACH MEAL AND SNACK 

This combination has been really helpful in satisfying my hunger without overeating. There are so many possible combinations.

For a meal, I’ll eat chicken or fish with a ton of baked veggies and maybe some whole grains. Or I’ll have a smoothie packed with greens, seeds, coconut or almond butter, nuts, some fruit, and vegan protein powder. A snack might be an apple with almond butter or some nuts and raw veggies.

11) EXPERIMENT WITH YOUR MEAL SCHEDULE

To find out what works best for you, you may have to experiment a bit before finding what works. For me, this meant a satisfying, protein-rich meal at noon, a snack a few hours later, and then eating a final meal with my family at 6:00 pm or so.

12) TAKE YOUR VITAMINS

Be sure to continue taking the vitamins your pediatrician recommends while you breastfeed. For me, this means continuing my prenatals, taking vitamin D, and fish oil.

13) QUICKLY FORGIVE YOURSELF WHEN YOU “MESS UP”

Don’t let minor setbacks stop you from your health goals. “Messing up” is just how we learn new habits and skills.

My success has come entirely because I refuse to give up, not because I eat perfectly. Seriously, most people can’t do the cold turkey approach.

Most of us give into temptations as we claw our way to better health. Just get back up every time you fall and there is nothing you can’t accomplish. It may take some time, but you will do it.

INTERMITTENT FASTING WHILE BREASTFEEDING IS POSSIBLE

These tips for intermittent fasting while breastfeeding have helped me be successful in getting back to my weight from before having 4 kids. Through following the tips above, it’s been of one of the most important steps I’ve taken to conquer my cravings, lose over 35 lbs of stubborn weight, and finally reclaim my health.

I hope that you find these tips helpful on your health journey.

Good luck, mama!

The Ultimate Breastfeeding Clothes Resource Guide

The Ultimate Breastfeeding Clothes Resource Guide

*This post may contain some affiliate links for your convenience (which means that, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission)  Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

The Ultimate Breastfeeding Clothes Resource Guide

Breastfeeding clothes make all the difference when it comes to successfully breastfeeding your baby. Instead of battling nursing covers and 6 layers of awkward clothing when trying to feed you baby, breastfeeding clothes give you the freedom to discreetly and easily nurse anywhere. 

And luckily, we’ve got thousands of amazing options but a click away with online shopping. 

But with so much to choose from, what exactly do you need?

Is it even worth investing? (Short answer: YES, long answer: Why Breastfeeding Clothes are COMPLETELY worth it).

Other than nursing bras, I didn’t really invest in breastfeeding clothes until 4th and last baby. And it was a complete game-changer.

I will shout it from the rooftops to anyone who will listen that breastfeeding clothes are a god send.

They are how I’ve been able to breastfeed my 4th baby past the year mark while balancing 3 other kids and a job.

Breastfeeding Clothes make life easy.

A couple months ago, I was visiting with a friend I hadn’t seen in a while when my baby wanted to be fed. I asked if she minded if I nursed (she didn’t) so I quickly put my baby on and kept talking.

After my baby finished, my friend sheepishly asked: “Can you just explain what happened here?”

She could not figure out how I latched my baby IN 2 SECONDS without exposing myself AT ALL while not using a nursing cover.

Excitedly, I walked her through the amazing miracle of nursing clothes.

Okay, let’s get down to what you’re going to need to make breastfeeding convenient and discreet.

And where are the best places to get everything without breaking the bank. 

The Guide to the Breastfeeding Clothes You Need #breastfeeding #Newmom #breastfeedingtips


The Guide to the Breastfeeding Clothes You Need #breastfeeding #Newmom #breastfeedingtips,/div>
What nursing moms need to create a breastfeeding-friendly wardrobe #nursingclothes

BREASTFEEDING CLOTHES: WHAT YOU NEED

Clothes in your closet may already fit the bill (hello, deep-v’s!), but investing in some great nursing pieces are 100% worth it.

Depending on your laundry habits and lifestyle, here’s a general guideline for what you will need.

  • 5 +  Nursing Bras (regular & sport)
  • 5-7 Casual tops
  • 1-2 Dressy Tops
  • At least 1 dress
  • Optional: nursing pajamas

While you don’t need to go out and buy a completely new wardrobe, you do want to make sure you have enough clothes to make breastfeeding convenient.

If it’s not convenient, you’re probably going to stop nursing before you really want to. And that’s a major bummer. 

1) NURSING BRAS

These are absolutely essential. If ever there was a time to make sure the ladies are properly housed, it’s when they are full of milk and literally feel like they are about to burst.

If you can’t whip your ta-tas out of your bra easily, it won’t matter what you are wearing. Breastfeeding is just going to be awkward. So first things first, get some nursing bras!

Recommendations:

  • Buy one at a time so you can try them out to see what works best.
  • Buy bigger cups than your pregnancy bra size. The girls are going to expand A LOT.
  • Get very supportive cups. Flimsy cups will do you no favors.
  • Don’t forget sports bras! These nursing sports bras are my favorites (I wear them more than normal nursing bras). 

2) CASUAL SHIRTS

T-shirts and mom life go together like Netflix and not moving for 5 hours. So you’ll want to make sure you have plenty of casual tops that are breastfeeding friendly.

WHAT YOU MAY ALREADY HAVE:

  • The Deep V: These are perfect breastfeeding tops. I wear these ones all the time (note: you will want to order a size up). Pair with jeans or a cute skirt and you are golden. Downside of the deep-v is that the top of the breast is exposed if you like to nurse without a cover.
  • The Button up Top: Not nursing specific, but still super convenient for nursing. Same downside as the deep-v t-shirt. I find that Target always has a great selection

WHAT YOU MAY NEED:

  • Nursing Tops: I recommend getting at least one honest-to-goodness nursing top. They often cover everything but the areola (which is covered by your nursing baby) making nursing in public spaces very discreet.
  • Nursing Tank Tops: Wearing these handy tank tops under your clothes make most tops nursing-friendly. Downside is that you have to lift your top up  and fumble with more articles of clothing. But if you are on a tight budget, these are the way to go.

3) “DRESSY” TOPS

At some point, you are actually going to need to dress up somewhat and get out of the house. If you work outside the home, you may want to get a few.

Even if baby is not coming with you, chances are you will need to breastfeed at sometime while wearing whatever outfit you are wearing.

Even though my baby never joins me while I teach evening classes, since I nurse her before and after the nursing tops makes it ever so convenient.

4) DRESSES

You may not wear dresses all that much, but when you need to wear one, chances are it’s going to be hard to nurse unless it’s an actual, honest-to-goodness nursing dress.

Personally, I love to wear dresses. Plus many styles of dresses are quite forgiving and comfortable to frumpy postpartum bodies.

This is probably my very favorite dress and it comes in 4 colors! It’s also Undercover Mama so it clips right into your bra for super convenient and discreet nursing.

I also REALLY love the dresses at Milk and Baby. I have bought several and while some were kinda pricey IMO, the convenience of nursing clothes seriously makes it worth the price. I’ve squeezed every penny from those dresses!

6) PAJAMAS

Nursing pajamas are nice for hanging around the house during the postpartum healing period. During that time I don’t really  “get dressed” yet, but it’s nice to have something comfortable to wear when answering the door and for when people stop by to see the new bundle of joy.

Target has a fantastic selection of very affordable nursing pajamas

This nursing sleep shirt is my absolute favorite. Confessional: I’ve worn it while running quick errands!

Recap: My Favorite Items

Breastfeeding clothes

BREASTFEEDING CLOTHES: WHERE TO GET THEM

Now that you know what you need, it’s time for the fun part: shopping!

There is an amazing selection on breastfeeding clothes that you can get online. No matter your style, body type, or budget there are plenty of clothes that are perfect for you.

Let’s get started:

Online Stores that Specialize in Breastfeeding Clothes

  • Milk & Baby: Great selection and super cute clothes. I have a few dresses from here and I always get compliments when I wear them. People are so shocked when I tell them they are nursing dresses!
  • Milk Nursingwear: This retailer also has a massive selection of great clothes.
  • Latched Mama: While the clothes are pretty simple, they are affordable and well made. My 3/4 sleeve dress has held up really well.

Clothing Retailers with Nursing Clothes Selection

These are all retailers whose nursing clothes I love.

  • Amazon: Yep, you really can get everything on Amazon. Amazon has an impressive array of breastfeeding clothes available including many of the above brands plus some very inexpensive options (just be aware of quality and fit issues with cheaper selections).
  • Born to Surf: Tons of cute modern options and you’d never guess they were nursing clothes! 
  • Roolee: I love these clothes. Especially the dresses.Super cute, hip, and affordable nursing clothes. Favorite part: almost all the nursing dresses have pockets.
  • H&M: From bras, pjs, to tops and dresses, H&M has it all. Generally simple, but solid finds.
  • Jane: Do you love cute clothes at steep discounts? Then you’ll love Jane! Their inventory is constantly changing, but there are always adorable selections. 
  • Target Clothes: Not only does Target have a decent collection of nursing clothes, but they ALWAYS have loads of cute button-up blouses that work perfectly (I own several that I use for nursing).
  • Old Navy: They’ve got a very affordable selection of nursing clothes. A lot of the maternity clothes, also double as nursing wear, which is handy. 

Welcome to the world of convenient & discrete nursing!

Clothes make all the difference in making nursing both convenient, easy, and discreet. Make sure that you have a breastfeeding-friendly wardrobe to set you up for breastfeeding success.

Nursing is hard enough without clothing choices making it inconvenient. By investing in a few items, you can change your whole experience.

Good luck, mama!

 

Intermittent Fasting & Breastfeeding: My Experience

Intermittent Fasting & Breastfeeding: My Experience

*This post may contain some affiliate links for your convenience.  Click here to read my full disclosure policy. Also please note I am not a medical professional or a nutritionist. This is simply me sharing my experience with intermittent fasting (after consulting my doctor) that has helped me lose weight. Please talk to your doctor before starting any health plan

INTERMITTENT FASTING WHILE BREASTFEEDING: MY EXPERIENCE

I have a really hard time losing weight while breastfeeding. Like instead of losing weight, I gain it.

While other women waste away while breastfeeding, I’m voraciously downing the last cupcake and picking off my children’s plates.

One thing that helped turn this around was practicing intermittent fasting while breastfeeding my 4th (and last) baby.

Honestly, intermittent fasting (IF) was perfect for me. I didn’t lose a ton of weight quickly (not healthy or easy to maintain), but I reversed the trend of all my previous pregnancies and have slowly and continuously lost weight while nursing.

Through intermittent fasting while breastfeeding, I am now below the weight I was at when I even started having kids…and I’m still nursing!

THE STRUGGLE IS REAL

After each birth, I would resolve to lose all the baby weight. And the weight left over from the past pregnancies. But I always had trouble losing while breastfeeding.

In fact, I would gain 10 lbs and then get pregnant again.

But since I found breastfeeding extremely rewarding, I refused to let my weight interfere with what was best for me and my baby. So after each pregnancy, I found myself heavier than I had ever been before.

After the birth of my 4th and last child Dec 2016, I was at my all time heaviest while not pregnant. And I was determined to FINALLY overcome my inability to lose weight while breastfeeding.

So after getting the okay from my doctor, I joined a gym, hired a personal trainer, tried to eat healthy, and worked my butt off for weeks and weeks.

But my weight did not budge. For a long time. It was so incredibly depressing.

Then, I came across intermittent fasting while researching healthy eating, which was my main struggle. It was a revelation. There are so many health benefits to IF, it’s unreal (e.g. fat loss, increased lifespan, lower ideas risk etc).

I wanted to do it, but couldn’t find anything substantial about intermittent fasting while breastfeeding. I didn’t want to risk my milk supply or quality, but I also didn’t want to wait a year to lose weight when I was so determined.

And then I thought: women throughout history have successfully breastfed with limited food supply and in various circumstances. Really, how could a couple extra hours of fasting a day impact my milk supply?

My experience intermittent fasting while breastfeeding #weightloss #intermittentfasting #breastfeeding

My experience with intermittent fasting and breastfeeding.

TALKING TO THE DOCTOR

At my baby’s 3-month visit, I decided to ask the pediatrician about intermittent fasting while breastfeeding. By this point, my milk supply was well established and my baby and I were in a great routine.

My pediatrician has always been very involved in my nutrition when I am breastfeeding, making sure I am getting all the vitamins and nutrients I need so my babies get what they need.

She is very current on research and very concerned with healthy living. So I figured she was the perfect one for me to talk to. Honestly, I assumed she would say “no” out of extreme caution.

But to my pleasant surprise, she was really supportive of my plan to fast daily for 16 hours. I was going to eat between noon and 8:00pm each day while focusing on drinking tons of water and eating healthy.

Super excited, I started the very next day.

MANAGING INTERMITTENT FASTING WHILE BREASTFEEDING 

I woke up around 7:00am and got busy taking care of my kids to keep myself from eating before noon. Honestly, keeping busy isn’t as struggle as a mom, right?

After the morning routine, we went to the gym. By the time I got my kids checked into the kid’s center, worked out, gathered up my kids, and drove home it was almost noon. By then, I was definitely ready to eat and prepared a nice big meal.

Then I ate 3 meals between noon and 7 and made sure to be done eating at 8:00pm. I continued this and by about day 4, it was seriously no big deal waiting til noon to eat.

I was no longer hungry in the mornings. In my experience, it was really easy to adjust to intermittent fasting while breastfeeding.

Eating during an 8 hour window is so doable! Plus, I found that feeling “empty” in the mornings helped me have more energy to take care of my kids and get stuff done around the house. intermittent fasting while breastfeeding

MY RESULTS

1) MILK SUPPLY

To my pleasant surprise, my milk supply was unaffected by the fasting. I had plenty of milk and I noticed no change in nursing whatsoever with my slow and steady weight loss.

Note that at times when I’ve lost weight more quickly (months after beginning IF) I have noticed a slight (and temporary) drop in supply. However, I believe that is unrelated to IF and instead a result of rapid weight loss (i.e. more than 2 lbs a week). As of right now, I am still nursing my very healthy 18 month old.

2) WEIGHT LOSS

The weight immediately began to come off at about a pound a week (my breastfeeding sister has seen similar results with IF). While this slow weight loss may not be exciting for some, I haven’t gained back anything that I’ve lost over a year after starting intermittent fasting while breastfeeding.

Other than the first few days, I never felt hungry. I have lost 35 lbs so far putting me at my weight from before having any children.

I’ve plateaued at times, which is normal over a long term weight loss journey. But through changing habits, I’ve managed to not gain anything back, which is honestly pretty exciting.

3) CHANGING HABITS

The best part of intermittent fasting while breastfeeding is that it helped me get in control of my eating, which was key for me on my weight loss journey.

While nursing, I an typically ravenously hungry and have a really hard time controlling cravings. Intermittent fasting changed that for me.

Since beginning IF, I have changed my eating habits a lot. (for more on IF meal plans, check out My Intermittent Fasting and Breastfeeding Meal Plan That Helped me Lose Weight)

And the best part is that it’s been a really natural and gradual progression.

Which means that it’s a change that has been easy to maintain, hence not gaining back the weight I’ve lost. I’ve always been big into exercise, but you can’t exercise your way out of a bad diet. And breastfeeding has made me feel like I am starving ALL THE TIME.

It was hard to control my eating because I want to eat everything in my sight. With intermittent fasting while breastfeeding, I felt like I took back control of my eating habits.

It became easier to start making better food choices. Never one to calorie count, instead I started to be more mindful of my true hunger cues and started really listening to my body.

Listening to how food actually made me feel. As I gained more self-control, I read some fantastic books on nutrition that helped shape the foods I was eating. Here are a couple of my favorites:

  • The 10 Day Detox: This book was really helpful in conquering my sugar addiction and cleaning up my eating.
  • The F-Factor Diet: This book really helped to start eating healthy fiber-rich foods that filled me up without adding loads of calories.
  • Why We Get Fat & What to Do About It: This book clearly and simply boils down tons of data and research to show how carbs are making us fat.

With IF and continued nutritional education, I began to finally stop the cycle of gaining weight while breastfeeding and lost all the weight I’ve gained through having children.

meal plan for intermittent fasting while breastfeeding

INTERMITTENT FASTING WHILE BREASTFEEDING WAS THE ANSWER FOR ME

Overall, intermittent fasting is simple (no counting calories or tracking food) and has been a miraculous way for me to build healthy eating habits. It was an important tool for me in taking back my health and losing 35 lbs of extra weight from you pregnancies.

If it interests you and you are breastfeeding, be sure to consult with your doctor/pediatrician first. Also, I created a free printable intermittent fasting log (see below) where you can track your food, hours fasted, weight, and milk supply. I’d love to know how it goes for you!

WANT MORE ON INTERMITTENT FASTING WHILE BREASTFEEDING? 

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6 Breastfeeding Tips for New Moms

6 Breastfeeding Tips for New Moms

*This post may contain some affiliate links for your convenience (which means that, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission)  Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

6 BREASTFEEDING TIPS FOR NEW MOMS

I’m not going to sugar coat it: breastfeeding is really tough. As many as 60% of new moms do not breastfeed for as long as they intend to. But with the best breastfeeding tips for new moms, you can set yourself up for breastfeeding success.

Often, new moms are unaware of just how challenging breastfeeding can be. I certainly was. Between sore nipples and the sleep deprivation, it was hard to learn everything about breastfeeding and try to teach my baby how to latch properly.

Even after 22 hours or labor and an emergency c-section, the greatest challenge I encountered with the birth of my baby was trying to breastfeed. Six weeks of tears and bleeding nipples followed before the pain stopped.

At one point of intense middle-of-the-night delirium, my husband actually begged me to stop. I was miserable.

How could something so natural be so insanely hard?!?

With much stubbornness, I managed to get through it and nurse for the next several months. And after those initial 6 weeks of hell, breastfeeding suddenly became one of the sweetest experiences of motherhood. It was heavenly.

So when I had my second child the following year, I was determined to escape the misery and go straight to the sweet bonding. And I did. I went on to successfully nurse 3 more babies learning more with each baby.

And after nursing 4 children (including two babies with tongue-ties) for a combined 4 years, I’ve learned quite a few things about what makes breastfeeding easier. So I wanted to share my top 6 breastfeeding tips for new moms so others don’t have to struggle like I did.

Learn from my mistakes and set yourself up for breastfeeding success as early as you possibly can. It will help eliminate a lot of the frustration and increase your chances of nursing as long as you desire. With both you and your baby reaping the benefits.

1.) Have a support system in place. 

This is one of the most overlooked resources in this world of do-it-yourselfers, but is probably THE most important key to success.  You’ve gotta have support to help you work through the difficulties.

I’ve even heard the advice to hire a lactation consultant before you even have the baby. But who can afford that!?!

For thousands and thousands of years, people have successfully breastfed without having to hire in-home help. If you can afford it and want it, then power to you. But what I’m saying is it isn’t essential.

What people have had, historically, is a knowledgeable breastfeeding support system. There is a good chance you have experienced breastfeeders in your circle somewhere.

Breastfeeding struggles are universal, but the most successful breastfeeding societies have strong breastfeeding support systems.

Consider asking relatives, friends, or close neighbors if they’d be willing to help once the baby comes. The vast majority of experienced breastfeeders would be downright thrilled to help you out.

Heck, email me if you need help!

If you are feeling modest, I’m telling you–after labor, you won’t care who sees your ta-tas.

And once you learn the ropes, be sure that you then help someone else as they learn to breastfeed.

Breastfeeding Tips for New moms #breastfeedingtips #newmom #breastfeeding

2.) Ask for LOTS of help right off the bat

If you are afraid to ask for help, face your fears and start asking! In the hospital/birthing center use the lactation consultant and all the nurses to ask every question as it comes up. Don’t wait! When ANYTHING pops up, ask for help.

If you have a lactation consultant available, take full advantage. But if she isn’t helpful, ask for another one. Or find a nurse who is helpful. Many nurses are absolute treasure troves of breastfeeding knowledge!

With my first baby, I asked for the lactation to come to my hospital room. She made me feel stupid, so even though I was struggling, I didn’t want to ask her back and I didn’t know there were several on staff. And then I struggled for the next 6 weeks looking every video and tutorial I could find to no avail.

With baby number 2, I had an amazing nurse (the daughter of a lactation consultant) who was uh-mazing. She was so helpful and patient and taught me so many little tricks. She’d pop in during every shift (even when she wasn’t assigned to me). I experienced no pain nursing baby #2!

On baby #3, I struggled again. Little did I know, she had a serious tongue tie that no one would catch for a while. But again, I asked for help. And the lactation consultant sent to my room didn’t help. So I asked for another, who ended up being the mother of my old nurse!

So even with the tongue-tie, with the help of a great lactation consultant, I figured it out.

6 Essential Breastfeeding Tips

3.) Bring your nursing pillow to the hospital/birthing center. 

This may seem obvious, but in the rush to get to the hospital, many moms don’t think about the nursing pillow. I certainly didn’t. I didn’t bring it until my 4th baby. (I’m a slow learner)

But the minute your sweetie is born, you’re going to start nursing. And you want to be surrounded by the tools you need so you can start on the right foot. The nurses will help you get everything set up and show you how to use the pillow so once you get home, you know the different ways to use it.

Note: Make sure you buy at least 1 waterproof protective cover for the pillow AND your normal covers. That thing is gonna get seriously messy.

4.) Don’t stress out about a little formula supplementation.

I’m going to take flak for this, but it’s true. A little formula will not derail your breastfeeding endeavors.

If you’ve done much breastfeeding research, you’ve probably heard that supplementing with formula will affect your supply. And it certainly will. If you do it regularly.

But let’s say you are in so much pain from a bad latch and are basically delirious from pain and lack of sleep (been there!). A few ounces of formula isn’t going to be the end of the world.

However, it may give you the chance to get sleep, give your nipples a break, and try again a bit later with a little more sanity at your disposal. You can have breastfeeding success with a little formula.

5.) Buy nursing clothes.

Perhaps you’ve already looked, but they seemed pricey. It’s worth it, trust me (Why Breastfeeding Clothes Are Completely Worth it). You’ll thank me later when you can breastfeed discretely and with ease in a public place as opposed to pulling your dress over your head in a nasty public bathroom stall or your car.

I cannot tell you how much this completely changed my breastfeeding experience. I didn’t get breastfeeding clothes til baby number 4 and it was a different world. Breastfeeding was sooooo much easier. For more on breastfeeding clothes, check out my breastfeeding clothes guide.

6.) Get a suitable pump. 

Not everyone needs a pump, but you don’t need to be a working mom to find incredible value in a good pump.

When I had extremely sore nipple, pumping gave them a break while still getting milk to my baby.

If you are a stay-at-home mom, but plan to be able to leave your child for a couple of hours, a single pump will do the job. The medela swing is perfect. I loved it until I started working part-time.

If you plan on working or being away for 3 or more hours regularly, or you are not comfortable breastfeeding in public and want to bring bottles, the Medela Pump in Style is awesome.

I’ve cooked dinners, graded papers, and even done squats–all while pumping. You wear a pumping bra and can pump both sides, hands-free. It’s awesome! I feel like if I had gotten a double pump with my 1st two kids (I didn’t get it until #3) I would have been able to nurse them longer.

And Finally: Be kind to yourself, mama. 

Remember, breastfeeding is not a stick to measure yourself up to anyone else.

Your mental and physical health is the most important thing you can offer your new baby, not breastmilk. Do the best you can, and love yourself. You created human life. That’s pretty amazing, mama.

I hope you’ve found these breastfeeding tips for new moms to be helpful and I wish you great breastfeeding success! May the milk freely flow and the nipples be pain free.

 

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