Extended Breastfeeding, Nutrition, Weight Gain, and a Holiday

Extended Breastfeeding, Nutrition, Weight Gain, and a Holiday


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This post on hormones and possible imbalances after nursing for many months has got a lot of hits ever since I posted it. It’s got me thinking that it seems to be a common problem for women who nurse their toddlers beyond the 18-month mark.

Here are the measures I have taken since the last post:

I started doing Crossfit.
I started applying natural progesterone creams.
I got my hormone levels checked: thyroid tests.

Nothing has worked. Crossfit has not made me feel any better; in fact I started getting joint pains. My thyroid tests came back normal; there has been no notable difference in my symptoms after I started taking progesterone.

The thing is, when you deliver a baby, your Ob-gyn will tell you to take certain supplements and keep them up when you’re breastfeeding. You take immense care of your self, drink plenty of water, get rest, and basically do what it takes to provide the best nutrition for your little baby.

Once the baby starts eating around 6 months, you start letting go a little without really knowing it. But it’s around the one-year mark and above that we truly let ourselves go. Now we think that the little one is barely nursing, so I may not be making that much milk, so I don’t need the extra nutrients that I needed while pregnant and ‘nursing’.

To top it, your doctor may not tell you to continue taking your calcium, iron and other multi-vitamins because nursing beyond the one-year mark is not that commonplace. Plus everyone talks about how nursing mother lose a lot of their pregnancy weight because of milk production but no one talks about the effect on your body after months and months and maybe even years of it.

Imagine, you’re actually doing something so wonderful with your body. Your hormones are turning blood into milk and that’s got to take a toll over time if you’re not looking after yourself as well as you were when pregnant or nursing a baby.

I am nursing a 20 month old. Not only am I nursing him, there are days that I am nursing round the clock because he is unwell or generally needs that bonding and extra nutrients. I am also physically on my toes thanks to his ever-growing needs for play and action. He is heavy now but still needs to be carried and I ‘wear’ him quite a lot. Not only that but I was doing pretty high intensity workouts while depleting my stores of nutrients and my body was giving me signs that something is not quite right.

Therefore I decided to start making sure I am well stocked with nutrients. I started paying more heed to my energy needs, and I take a women’s multivitamin, which has everything an active woman needs. It’s been two weeks and I am already feeling so much better than I was. All the niggling symptoms I was experiencing like migraine, fatigue, constipation (which I’ve never experience before) etc. just disappeared.
I have even begun to feel my clothes loosening! Yes it’s possible! hormones are so delicately balanced that sometimes with something lacking in your diet it may be suppressing production of hormones required for proper metabolic functioning.

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Another thing that I feel is that my body is storing fat differently in all the ‘right’ places. For women to store fat on the hips, butt and upper thighs is healthy. While nursing the body stores fat so that in times of famine a woman can still nourish her baby. We live in times of feast-feast though and no famine but the body still does what it has to protect the offspring.

I also met a holistic health coach here in Mumbai. I am glad to have found her, as many doctors will just read results as a general broad based one-size-fits-all solution. A health coach on the other hand will work with you on case-to-case basis and try and investigate what is making your hormones go out of balance.
She told me that nothing was wrong with me and it’s probably imbalances that will sort themselves out once my body settles down and I take proper care.

Therefore here is the plan of action:

  1. Eat clean foods.
  2. Take my multivitamins from good sources, fermented cod liver oil, and omega 3.
  3. Do light exercising like long walks and yoga. (Sometimes when cortisol levels are aggravated or you maybe experiencing adrenal fatigue, HIIT may be the last thing you need)
  4. Take care of gut health.
  5. Don’t over brain and over worry about my predicament.
  6. Come to terms with the fact that my body has changed for good. I am storing fat differently than before.

 

In other news, this is my first and last post for this month as I am off on a holiday! If possible will send you some postcards on the toddler’s meals and my baby wearing experiences while out and about.

If this post resonates with your story, do drop me a comment.

See you on the other side, thanks for reading!