Tag Archives: breastfeeding

Snicky Snacks

For a period of time when she was younger, my now almost 5 year old loved to call snacks “snicky snacks”. It was equal parts endearing and obnoxious, as many things with toddlers are.

Are you a snacker? For most people I’ve met, there is a clear divide here: those who snack and those who don’t. I am generally a moderate snacker – if it is available, I’ll snack. I LOVE snack foods and enjoy occasionally just making a meal of snacks. However, when I am pregnant and breastfeeding, my snacking is at Olympic training levels.

While to some of you that sounds delightful, sometimes it is hard. The trick with snacking is not over doing it and finding something “healthy”. And thinking about it as much as I have to in these scenarios is draining. I’ve been hearing a lot about decision fatigue lately, and I definitely get snack decision fatigue.

In honor of that, I thought today I’d share a list of some of my go-to healthy(ish) snacks. I hope they help you in any snacking ventures you are experiencing.

– Lowfat cottage cheese with fruit. Drained peaches canned in juice is my absolute favorite.
– Trail mix. I try to find one with plenty of dried fruit and maybe yogurt chips, no outright “candy”.
– Yogurt. With fruit, with granola, plain, I’m an equal opportunity eater. My personal favorites right now are Light and Fit Greek or Noosa.
– Popcorn. Home popped with a little Parmesan or the store bought white cheddar.
– Triscuits. Please try the fig and honey flavor.
– Veggies with hummus
– Cheesesticks with lunch meat. I try to keep this one sporadic as it is a bit of a salt bomb.
– Clif Zbars. Yes these are the kid versions. But I love them.
– Fig Bars.
– Leftover smoothie. If I can hide it from my kids, I usually make too much smoothie in the morning and love to save the extra for later.
– Muffins. I like to make big batches of 2 or 3 kinds of muffins and store them in my freezer.
– Avocado or almond butter toast.
– Tortilla chips with salsa or guacamole. This one definitely has to be in moderation. And I try to find salt free chips.

I’d love to hear some of your go to snacks. I’m always looking for variety. Happy snacking!

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Breastfeeding Buddies, Not Bullies

My daughter didn't like nursing without seeing my face.  So I went "under cover" with her.

My daughter didn’t like nursing without seeing my face. So I went “under cover” with her.

One of my best friends had a beautiful baby boy this week. As I look at the pictures of this new little life, I am reminded of my own experiences after the birth of my daughter and recent conversations with friends and family. The first few days/weeks of a baby’s life are both glorious and extremely challenging. For many women, one of those challenges is breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding is hard. For some, it comes naturally and easily. For most people I know, there are a lot of struggles along the way. Baby doesn’t latch appropriately. Mom has too little milk or too much milk. Mom gets painfully sore. Mom feels overly tied down by not being able to leave the baby or becomes exhausted from having to be the only person getting up for feedings in the night. Baby doesn’t want to nurse under a cover, making nursing in public a challenge. I could go on.

A recent article I read talked about how the push for breastfeeding in the past few years has perhaps been taken too far by some people. While breastmilk is the best nutrition for babies, that ideal just isn’t possible for all families. As in all areas of healthcare, it is important to give moms all the information and then respect their decision on how to feed their baby.

Even if not explicit, I think there is a certain stigma of shame in some areas of our society for women who do not breastfeed. A friend recently went into a huge detailed explanation to me of all the things she tried before switching to solely bottle feeding. I felt so sad reading her email. She shouldn’t feel the need to explain what happened, as if she was a failure in some way. She loves and is feeding her baby the best way she can, which is all that should matter to anyone.

So happy birth week to a sweet little boy! And happy feeding, bottle or breast, to all you moms with babies out there!

Have any nutrition questions? Need help with meal planning or a special dietary need? Send your questions to me at kimberlykmarsh(at)gmail(dot)com, and I will answer them in upcoming posts!

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Pregnancy and post-pregnancy weight

The day I went to the hospital to have my daughter.  Not a moment for skinny thoughts.

The day I went to the hospital to have my daughter. Not a moment for skinny thoughts.

In the last few months, at least 10 people I know have announced a new pregnancy. My social media is crammed with their announcements, ultrasounds, and puking reports. I also recently read a somewhat disturbing statistic. In a recent study, 75% of women followed were heavier one year after giving birth than before their pregnancy. The women studied gained an average of 32 pounds while pregnant, which is within the range of recommended weight gain for normal weight women. With this in mind, here are a few pointers on pregnancy weight gain and losing that weight once baby arrives.

-Embrace a healthy amount of weight gain. If you begin pregnancy at a normal weight, 25-35 pounds is considered a healthy amount of weight to gain. If you are overweight, aim for 15-25 pounds. But remember: the more you gain, the more you will have to lose postpartum.

-You are eating for two, but one of you has a pretty small appetite. Even during the third trimester, you only need an extra 300 or so calories a day. Adding a couple healthy snacks during the day will easily meet those needs.

-Breastfeed! Breastfeeding mothers may need up to 500 extra calories a day, which is more than during pregnancy. However, don’t use this as an excuse to overeat. Maintaining healthy snacks from pregnancy will keep up your intake while still managing a slight deficit to help with weight loss.

-Exercise. Exercising while pregnant can help prevent excess weight gain. Exercising after baby can help you shed pounds.

-Be patient. I have heard many mothers say “9 months on, 9 months off.” Even if you only gain 25 pounds with a healthy pregnancy, you will likely give birth to a 7-10 pound baby. That is 15+ pounds of other tissues that will take time to adjust back. Also realize your calorie needs may change as baby grows and your breastfeeding changes.

On a personal note, I gained close to 35 pounds with my pregnancy. My weight gain was on track for the first 7-8 months, but I kind of overdid it in the end. I was fortunate that I actually lost all my baby weight very quickly, within a month. However, when my baby was about 5 months, I was starting to gain some of that weight back. As she started eating more food and breastfeeding less, I needed to cut back on my intake and exercise more. It was a constant challenge, but worth it.

Good luck to all mothers-to-be!

Have any nutrition questions? Need help with meal planning or a special dietary need? Send your questions to me at kimberlykmarsh(at)gmail(dot)com, and I will answer them in upcoming posts!

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Q&A: Breastfeeding and Weight Loss


I tried to take a picture “recreating” my pregnant belly after my baby was born. Too bad my remaining pregnant weight gain was in the way…

Q: Hey lady, I love all your posts. Just thought I’d take a shot at it and ask if you have any tips for a breastfeeding mom to lose weight. I’ve always struggled. Right before I got pregnant I was working out and eating well but still struggle to get the scale to budge. I get my thyroid checked yearly so that’s not it. Any eating advice to maybe help lose weight but not decrease my milk supply?

A: Thanks for the great question. One of my good dietitian friends, Jessica Clayton, actually works as a lactation consultant. She graciously agreed to write a guest post answering this question. Thanks to Jessica!

Having a baby is quite an event and can certainly change habits as far as diet/exercise go. Many mother’s ask me about losing weight WHILE breastfeeding. The answer is probably one you have heard before – slow and steady: don’t restrict calories excessively and moderately exercise.

It is ideal to wait until baby is 2 months of age before actively focusing on calorie intake and exercising. Take small, gradual steps to decrease calorie intake, and increase exercise. Any extreme can cause a notable decrease in milk supply.

Most mothers need an extra 300-500 calories a day to support breastfeeding. This isn’t a ton of extra food; a large apple and some cheese or peanut butter would suffice. Obtaining advice from a Registered Dietitian for your particular needs may be helpful. Generally 1500-1800 calories as a minimum while breastfeeding is a good place to start. It is recommended moderate weight loss while breastfeeding should not exceed one pound a week.

Adjusting to life with a new baby and then getting back into an active routine of health can be a struggle. Here are a few quick tips to help find balance:

1. Make sure healthy snacks are available for you while breastfeeding.

2. Use “Mindful Eating” techniques.

3. Involve baby in your exercises by playing with him/her.

4. Keep protein intake up (most mother’s need 65 gm/day.)

5. Avoid periods of fasting by eating smaller meals more frequently.

6. If supply does seem to slow down, try to increase demand by feeding more frequently or pumping.

You are not alone. Many women that I have worked with have a struggle to lose those last pesky 5 pounds (and sometimes more) until they stop breastfeeding all together. Your body stores fat during pregnancy, and part of this is to support breastfeeding. We are all different, so avoid comparing yourself to the mom down the street that basically was back into her skinny jeans the day she got home from the hospital. Listen to your body, and find the right balance regardless of those scale numbers.

For more information see Anne Smith’s Article here: http://www.breastfeedingbasics.com/articles/nutrition-exercise-and-weight-loss/3


Jessica is a Registered Dietitian specializing in lactation care at the University of Utah hospital. She can be contacted via breastfeedingbond@gmail.com

Have any nutrition questions? Need help with meal planning or a special dietary need? Send your questions to me at kimberlykmarsh(at)gmail(dot)com, and I will answer them in upcoming posts!

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