Pregnancy and Breastfeeding after Bariatric Surgery
Blog Series on nutrition in pregnancy and breastfeeding after bariatric surgery
Part Four: Breastfeeding after bariatric surgery
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Breastfeeding after bariatric surgery
Welcome to that last of our pregnancy and breastfeeding after bariatric surgery blog series. There’s been quite of bit of information here that I hope you enjoyed. This last installment is looking at Breastfeeding and beyond to navigate what you may need to keep in mind.
Nutrition needs and balance may take more of a focus during pregnancy, but they are just as important during breastfeeding. A mother’s milk supply and composition are dependent upon the type of nutrients they are eating. Let’s look a little closer at some key points.
You may not be thinking directly about calories during breastfeeding, but lactation is a calorically demanding state. Your body needs around 500-700 more calories per day and naturally sends extra nutrients to the mammary glands.
For someone who had bariatric surgery, it may be difficult to feel as if you are able to get in enough. Don’t be overwhelmed! We just want to make sure you have at least 1500 calories per day to be able to produce and maintain milk supply. Keep in mind that you don’t have to dramatically increase your eating and you may just find yourself a little more hungry. Pay attention to those hunger cues.
Insulin controls nutrient fluctuation to the mammary gland. Regardless if you have a diagnosis of diabetes or not, significant fluctuations in insulin can affect milk production during lactation.
What can you do to help? Eat consistently every 3-5 hours with a balanced meal or snack. Balance includes protein, vegetables for fiber, carbohydrates and fats in your meals. Snacks consist of a combination of at least 2 of those nutrients (but can include all 4 if you like).
You’ll still need to take your vitamin and minerals, just as you would after bariatric surgery. This may be your separate vitamins, including those that are needed in a higher amount or a bariatric formulated vitamin that covers all of your bases. It is also advised to continue to take the DHA / EPA supplement and Choline supplement as outlined in blog #3 of this series.
Omega 3 fatty acids (which DHA and EPA are included) are used after birth to make breast milk. After each subsequent pregnancy, mothers are further depleted of these nutrients, so it’s important to add them during and after pregnancy with your supplement and through food. You can increase your Omega 3 fatty acid content by adding in flax, chia seeds, sardines, walnuts, almonds, pistachios, dark leafy greens, tuna and wild salmon.
Although weight loss may be on your mind after giving birth, it’s advised to wait 2 months postpartum to initiate intentional weight loss. Remember that you do not want to drop below 1500 calories per day, but it’s actually best at this time to follow hunger cues vs counting calories. When it is time to lose weight, avoid jumping into a quick fix and focus on your overall health. Look at the nutritional components of protein, fat and carbohydrates to keep your metabolism functioning.
Finally, slowly begin to incorporate exercise and activity into your day.
Healthy babies after weight loss surgery!
You CAN have a healthy pregnancy after bariatric surgery! Be sure to have a knowledgeable team on board, along with monitoring to ensure the health of you, your baby and beyond. I know that not all practitioners are experienced with bariatric surgery and pregnancy.
If you’re struggling to find a Bariatric Dietitian that has this experience, reach out to Steph@bariatricfoodcoach.com and she can help to connect you with someone.