Dieting in a Breastfeeding-Friendly World

This post is part of the weekly breastfeeding blog hop, hosted by The Slacker Mom, and co-hosted by The Gnome’s Mom and Happiness Redefined. This week’s topic is “Dieting while Breastfeeding” Please visit The Slacker Mom to see the linky list and read everyone’s entries, as WordPress.com can’t show it here.

One aspect of a Breastfeeding-Friendly World, as I imagine, is that it is a place where every nursing mother feels happy eating a healthy, balanced diet, free of societal pressure to “regain her figure” in record time. It is a world in which we trust a woman’s body to transform in amazing ways into pregnancy and then beyond into breastfeeding, giving it time and space to make incredible changes naturally. It is a world that supports mothers to care for their little ones and themselves without worrying unnecessarily about their own body image.

However, in the United States, we live in the polar opposite world. We live in a world selling fantasies about the human body, at great cost to our physical and mental health. The media and the American public is obsessed with celebrities who lose their baby weight and slip into bikinis in record time, filling new mother’s heads with the idea that getting their pre-pregnancy body back is of the utmost importance, which pushes some to diet dangerously and even put their ability to breastfeed at risk. This culture’s warped, over-sexualized view of a woman’s body idealizes her pre-pregnancy state. It even demonizes a woman who uses her breasts for nature’s primary purpose: to feed her baby.

If you read my last Blog Hop post, you know that I was told on the fourth day of my first son’s life that he was failing to thrive because he wouldn’t latch on to breastfeed. One lactation consultant later, I was committed to doing whatever it took to feed my baby and help him thrive. My luxuriant nursling left me with hours upon hours of time with my feet up to read. I read breastfeeding books. Continue reading