Paleo & Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is hard work you guys!  Honestly, I didn’t expect it to be this hard.  I got super lucky and had a good pregnancy, and a good labor and delivery, and generally a really good baby.  I guess you can’t go 4 for 4.  Maybe because I wasn’t mentally prepared for it to be this exhausting; maybe because I never in a million years thought I would have supply issues, that Baby R would have sucking issues, or that eating strict paleo would cause a supply tank that took me 6 weeks to recover from.  However, it is something that was really important for me to try and do.  I have not been willing to quit because it got hard (although there have been hours, days, and weeks when I’ve sat here thinking how much easier formula would be).  Personally, I believe its the best stuff I can give Baby R so thats what I choose to do.  Again, this doesn’t mean that giving your baby formula is bad; I firmly think everyone gets to make that decision for themselves.

When we got home from the hospital my plan was to give it 10-14 days and then get right back on strict paleo.  Gotta drop that baby weight and get my butt back in shape…well that plan went in the tank around day 18.  Baby R was born at 7lbs 9oz and dropped to 6lbs 15oz by day 3.  He gained weight VERY slowly (read an ounce or two a week; our best week was 4.4 ounces).  It took me a month to get him back to birth weight.  At his 3 week weight check the peditrician we were seeing came into the room and said “He’s not a birth weight.  You need to breast feed him then give him 1-2oz of formula after each feeding…its the only way to fix this.”.  I sat there and cried.  I am not a crier.  I was devastated.  Clearly, I was failing as a mom and couldn’t feed my child.  How could this be the only option?  This was on a Tuesday.

After I pulled my shit back together, I was able to think clearly (on Wednesday).  I picked up the phone and called the Lactation Department at the hospital I delivered.  Of course they didn’t have an appointment for 6 days.  The LC (lactation consultant) spent 45 minutes on the phone with me.  We talked about food (and suspect that the quick diet change and how strict I was being probably decreased my supply), we talked about how often he was eating (I was letting him sleep stretches at night because he didn’t complain about being hungry), and devised a plan.

I added back complex carbs (my major pregnancy craving).  If my choice was eat strict paleo OR breast feed Baby R I would eat all the bagels and once things got on track figure out a plan.  The hubs was like its a great excuse to eat whatever.  When I went to the LC the following week DS was back to birth weight (at almost a month).  This was progress, slow progress but progress.  We re-evaluated the plan again.  I rented a hospital grade pump.  I was going to feed him, pump the “left overs” and bottle feed them back to him (supplementing but with breastmilk not formula).  I was also going to power pump once a day (in crossfit terms 3 rounds of 10 min pump, 10 min break).  I was going to make this work.  Well in 2 days he gained 2 ounces.  We were now seeing his actual pediatrician who is beyond amazing.  He asked what we were doing and I told him I went AMA on the formula plan and he looked at me and said “Good for you”.

Baby R in this past week has gained 7.2 ounces.  When we did his weigh in at the  LC I did a happy dance; they did a happy dance; it was dance central.  The other thing we changed…I took my 6 week old baby to a chiropractor.  They are wonderful.  and it has totally changed how effectively he is sucking.  They do not adjust babies like they do adults.  Its very light pressure and babies will naturally move to adjust themselves.  Its actually quite cool, and Baby R loves it.

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As far as paleo goes — after this past week at the LC we’ve decided I can slowly start incorporating it back in.  SLOWLY is the key here so that if my supply starts to decrease we can see what does it.  I am going to keep the slow rolled oats, white potatoes, gluten free bread, etc in for a bit.  I am cleaning up everything else for now.  Re-taking out occasional cheese, bagels, gluten, sugar, most processed.  Its going to be a slow road back and rushing it clearly didn’t help things.

I am also back at the gym.  I started lifting again this week.  My lifts suck!  My endurance is in the tank.  My hip flexibility is down the drain.  I have to keep reminding myself that I grew another human for 9 months, then gave birth to him.  I was WOD’ing pretty light from 6 months on.  I took 3.5 full weeks off.  Its going to take time.  I need to get my diet under control.  No straight sleep isn’t conducive for good workouts.  I need to be patient with myself.

It took me 9 months to gain the weight…its going to take me 9 to get it off.  Remember this no matter where you are in your journey and no matter what your goals are.  Time and patience are critical to any change.

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