After my son’s pediatrician recommended I eliminate dairy from my diet, in hopes of clearing up his eczema, I decided to look into the Whole30 program. After reading the rules, eliminating dairy seemed to be one of the main guidelines. Plus, a few of my friends had completed Whole30 while breastfeeding so I knew that it could be done. So I decided to give it a go.
Here, I’ve divided my diary into just three sections because let’s be honest, no one wants to read a 30-day diary of emotional ups and downs. I’ll just get to the good stuff. I’ve also provided some extra tips on completing the program while breastfeeding.
The first three days were the hardest. I was irritable, hungry, and craved chocolate like nobody’s business. I planned out 30 days worth of meals before I began so each day I knew what I was going to eat. I only planned 10 different meals and just repeated the meals three times. I don’t normally eat 30 different meals in a month, anyway. I started out meal prepping on Sundays for up to three days but I found that I enjoyed cooking almost every day. It kept my mind off of being hungry if that makes sense.
By day four, I was fine. I kept some mixed nuts on hand and knowing that a delicious meal was just hours away kept me at ease. By day eight, I noticed that my expressed milk wasn’t as fatty and as gross as it sounds, on the days that I ate many greens, my milk had a greenish tint.
Dividing the Whole30 program into three sets of 10 days helped me with the mental aspect of things. I started out having to coach myself through the day and by the second week, I was on my way to training my mind. I realized that before, I’d been eating for satisfaction instead of for nutrition.
By the third week, I was way less bloated and I felt great! And, the eczema rashes on my son’s cheeks were clearing up. Seeing him feeling better and not scratching his face motivated me to continue the challenge.
These last ten days were a piece of cake. Eating whole foods had become the new norm. I was feeling better than ever, my son’s eczema was completely gone, and my clothes were fitting loose. The program advises you not to step on the scale until you’ve completed the challenge but I was tempted. By day 25 I was down 18 pounds—I lost 20 pounds in total once I’d completed the 30-day challenge.
Tips for Completing Whole30 While Breastfeeding
- Don’t skip meals. According to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the caloric intake for all women 19 to 50 years old—based on activity level—is between 1,800 and 2,400 calories per day, with the increased caloric intake for women who are breastfeeding being about 450 to 500 calories per day.
- Be careful with the consumption of nuts. I was relying too heavily on a handful of nuts to get me through those snack cravings and I noticed that on the fifth day my son had developed an itchy rash all over his body.
The Whole30 program was definitely the reset my body needed and it jumpstarted my journey to a healthier diet. I’m still cautious of what I eat, reading labels and checking ingredients, and I barely consume dairy. If you’re concerned about starting the challenge while breastfeeding, know that it can be done but contact your pediatrician first to be sure.