Your body is responsible for making milk; in simple words, it takes energy. If you are breastfeeding and feel hungry a lot, it is natural. Your body burns around 300-500 calories daily to produce breast milk. This keeps happening for almost 3-12 months, so you can say that breastfeeding is one factor that you feel hungrier than usual in the postpartum period.
There is no complication behind why you feel hungry when you breastfeed. Your body exerts energy to create milk, and to overcome the loss of energy, you feel hungry and sleepy. Think of it like an exercise, which is natural unless you start dizzy or have headaches. In that case, consult your doctor and get proper medications.
Eating fruits and drinking juices is the best way to stop hunger while breastfeeding. Moreover, small snacks are also helpful, but you must consider weight gain. Having irregular appetite and mood swings are common in postpartum time. If you don’t consider your diet, the chances are that you’ll gain weight quickly.
Why You feel so Hungry While Breastfeeding
Unlike normal days, your body works much more when breastfeeding. It is constantly engaged in creating milk for the baby, which causes stress on the body, and thus it requires energy so you won’t feel tired. One way to restore that energy is to rest, but rest without proper nutrients won’t provide your body with the necessities it requires.
Thus, feeling hungry is natural during breastfeeding, which is why most women gain a lot of weight after pregnancy. Their body requires food and rest to restore the lost energy, and even a tiny amount of food and rest can cause weight gain. Here are some other reasons why you feel so hungry while breastfeeding.
It is natural to carve for food after the postpartum period, and most of the time, you desire to eat lots of sweet dishes. While it is important to eat fat-free food in this condition, many moms choose to eat oil and fat-rich food. Foods like fries, potato chips, cheeseburgers, nachos, or bread are the main culprit behind weight gain, and the more you eat them, the more you crave them. In most cases, you don’t feel hungry, but you feel like eating.
On the other hand, some people think lactation snacks like brownies or cookies are okay to eat during breastfeeding. They don’t know that these foods are also high carb and fat.
New Hormone Levels
Your hormones will significantly change during lactation, the estrogen levels will decrease, and prolactin levels will increase. Under normal circumstances, increased estrogen levels help in weight loss, but if your body cannot withstand the hormonal changes, you’ll feel hungrier than usual.
If you eat more unhealthy food, the estrogen levels will drop even further, leading to less milk supply. An unhealthy diet postpartum can cause many problems, so no matter how much you crave, stick to a healthy diet schedule and have patience.
Lack of Sleep
For those who don’t know, lack of sleep leads to an increase in cortisol levels. On the other hand, lack of sleep also causes stress, which is another reason for cortisol increase. Cortisol increases your appetite, so if you want to get rid of this problem, it is better to sleep well and don’t stress over little stuff. While you are in the postpartum period and breastfeeding, your mental health is critical. Let others take stress for everything while you pay attention to your health and your baby.
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Increased Nutrient Needs
During recovery, your body requires quick doses of nutrients so you won’t feel hungry and overeat. So, doctors prescribe medicines to overcome nutrient deficiency. Still, if those medicines are not working for you, or doctors don’t want to provide the medication because of your health, the chances are that you’ll feel hungry over the nutrient deficiency. Remember to eat healthy foods and avoid fast foods to fulfill your nutrient needs without gaining weight.
Lack of Fiber
Fiber can help you feel full so that you won’t crave snacks. You will feel hungry even after eating properly if your body lacks fiber. Excellent fiber levels in your body can help in weight loss, and eating fiber-rich food is good for health as they are low in calories. Low fiber levels can also be the reason why you feel hungry after breastfeeding. You can talk to your doctor and take fiber-rich supplements, and get rid of this fiber deficiency.
What to Do if You Feel Hungry While Breastfeeding
The first thing is to check your routine and see if you are feeling hungry on time or at any time of the day. Moreover, check if your hunger goes away after eating the regular food or if you still crave something. On the other hand, if you can’t be able to eat fruits and vegetables but feel happy eating junk and fast food, your hormone levels are disturbed, and you need to eat healthily and rest properly to maintain them.
Your mental health also plays a vital role in controlling your appetite. If you are stressed, you’ll eat a lot. To avoid this emotional eating, it is better to socialize, call your friends at home, watch movies and funny shows and try to divert your attention from negative thoughts as much as possible.
Being a mother is not an easy job. You should consider that the first three months after the delivery will be pretty painful. You’ll go through mood swings, fatigue, restlessness, lack of energy, and many other problems, exerting your energy and causing you to eat more.
Does breastfeeding make you hungry? Yes, it does, and you have to control your diet before you start gaining weight. Eat fruits and vegetables, stick to your medicine, and try to avoid fatty food as much as possible. You can have a cheat day every week, but eating them day and night will affect your health drastically.