You may be wondering if it’s safe to take on the 8-Week Program while breastfeeding – we’re here to unpack why it’s not only safe, but beneficial to give sugar the slip during this stage.
Sugar is an addictive, inflammatory substance which is slipping unnoticed into so many of our favourite household staples, from bread and cereal to yoghurt and canned produce. Eating added sugars regularly can affect our immune response, our gut microbiome and even our mood – which in turn can have some scary effects during the postpartum stages – including breastfeeding. Studies show that excess sugar consumption can affect the nutritional availability of breast milk, thereby risking the growth and development of your baby.
That’s why quitting sugar with the 8-Week Program is not only safe, but it’s also good for you and your baby. But it’s worth noting that here at I Quit Sugar we work in moderation – we don’t cut sugar out cold turkey; we ease into it and still enjoy natural sugars in fruit and veggies so as to help our minds and bodies adjust safely. There are a few essential considerations to take on when you’re breastfeeding and quitting sugar – take a look.
Replacing the sugary foods you’re cutting out
Quitting sugar isn’t just about ditching junk food and highly-processed foods, it’s about increasing your consumption of nutritious, satiating foods too. It’s worth noting that while breastfeeding, you’ll need to up your caloric intake – an additional 330 to 478 calories on top of your usual daily intake is the general recommendation for optimal health while breastfeeding – we don’t want your milk supply to be negatively impacted, which is why our program is not about deprivation or restriction. The better you eat, the healthier your growing bub will be. This, of course, will vary depending on your unique body mass index, level of physical activity and breastfeeding extent; that is, whether the baby is exclusively drinking breast milk or taking in a combination of formula and milk.
The Australian Guide to Healthy Eating outlines the importance of consuming a variety of healthy foods – and getting an adequate amount! Just because you’re cutting sugar out, it doesn’t mean you should be restricting calories – on the contrary. Take a look at some of the basic recommendations for staying healthy during the breastfeeding stage:
- Get around 5 to 7 serves of whole grains: This could be bread, brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat or other grains of choice.
- Consume around 7 serves of veggies and legumes: Vegetables are a significant source of our daily vitamins and minerals – from vitamin A and C to folate, magnesium and potassium, all of which are essential for breastfeeding health.
- Get 5 serves of fruit: Fruit provides vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, along with keeping you hydrated.
- Aim for 2 serves of dairy or non-dairy alternatives: Milk, cheese and yoghurt all provide protein, calcium and vitamin K.
- Aim for 2 serves of meat, fish, eggs, nuts or legumes: These are essential for iron, protein and B vitamins. They’re also especially satiating for when you’re struggling with sugar cravings.
Getting a balanced diet
It’s essential to have a balanced diet rich in protein, folate, iodine, iron, calcium and a host of other nutrients during the breastfeeding stage – but there is an ingredient that can reduce the benefits of these nutrients. That ingredient is – you guessed it – added sugar. This is because it’s been found to irritate our gut lining, resulting in digestive dysfunction, which jeopardises our ability to absorb all those essential nutrients that are even more important while breastfeeding. It also throws our gut microbiome into chaos, which poses further risk to the baby – this is because nutrients in breast milk are essential for helping build up a baby’s gut microbiome, which will be essential in fighting infections. In fact, one such bacterium in breast milk, known as Bifidobacterium longum infantis,protects newborns from pathogens and strengthens their gut lining. A low-sugar, healthy diet is the key to keeping a healthy gut microbiome, and therefore producing more nutritious breast milk. There are a few other things to keep in mind:
- Steer clear of crash dieting: Here on the 8-Week Program we’re not about deprivation or restrictive diets, rather the goal is to learn how to eat to meet our bodies’ needs. This means more nourishing, nutritious and satisfying foods – including healthy fats. We enjoy a range of tasty, flavoursome and well-balanced meals during the program, and that’s because eating healthily doesn’t have to be boring, restrictive or a chore.
- Drink enough water: Your hydration needs rise along with your caloric needs during the breastfeeding stage, so don’t forget to keep your fluid levels up during the program. We use a range of hydrating foods in our recipes like cucumber, watermelon and berries, so you’ll get a good dose of aqua from our recipes alone, but drinking extra water will be important too.
- Steer clear of alcohol and caffeine: During the program, we occasionally indulge in a glass or red with dinner or a morning coffee, but you may want to skip out on these beverages if you’re breastfeeding. This is because excess intake can cause adverse health effects in babies.
Consult your doctor
As always, your individual health needs may vary depending on your health – both mental and physical, and, as such, it’s best to check in with your doctor before making any dietary changes.
If you like the sound of the program and are keen to transform your health and finally kick those sugar cravings to the curb – we’re here to help. Join us for the 8-Week Program where we’ll be quitting sugar and making our health goals a reality. When you sign up with us, you’ll have access to clear-cut meal plans, community support and exclusive access to our sugar-free content. Here’s what’s on offer:
- 8 weeks of meal plans and shopping lists.
- 90+ member-only recipes.
- Community forums to share your journey.
- Support and guidance from the I Quit Sugar team.
- Exclusive content from our panel of experts.
So, if you’re ready to take your health back into your own hands, JOIN TODAY!