I had my sweet baby at the end of August and took a full month to just relax and enjoy meals from family and friends, and recover physically. After four weeks of that, my husband suggested that we do a Whole 30 in the month of October to get us back on track. We had done a few rounds before, and knew it was so good for us and our family.
At first, my first reaction was that it would be nearly impossible for me to do in this postpartum stage. I felt like my life is a little bit out of control because I was still adjusting to a newborn. I was up at all hours of the night, surviving on coffee and food dropped off by family and friends. The thought of diving into Whole 30 life, with the cooking, shopping, planning felt like way too much for me.
But the more I thought about it, the more it seem like perfect timing. It was a good time to get things back on track and being on maternity leave, I had more time to cook and plan. Also, weight loss played a factor in our decision to start. I had plateaued after my initial post partum weight loss. And still had a solid 10 pounds of baby weight to lose. The final factor that made me give in and decide to do it was that I was reading the Whole 30 book and it said that it is totally safe for breast-feeding moms to do the Whole 30 and- get this!- it could potentially even help both me and the baby with sleep! I was up for anything that could perhaps give me a few more hours of sleep. So we decided to do it!
We are on day 22 of 30 as I write this, and I have to say it has been the best Whole 30 ever! It has included the initial challenges of doing coffee without creamer, and refusing foods that people offer. But we have found our groove with it.
We have some great breakfast options. We have some go-to dinners like Pot Pie Soup and Paleo Meatballs that give us lots of leftovers for lunches. I also experimented with some homemade Lara Bars that were super yummy and satisfied that snack craving I had occasionally. And we’re doing it as a team my husband and I and our friend who lives in our basement. So it seems much more doable!
It has not been a perfect Whole 30. I gave up that ideal quickly. I have cheated a couple times. Once, when a friend brought me a Caribou Coffee latte and I just could not refuse that indulgence after hours and hours of being up in the middle of the night. Another time I ate a piece of pie that my mother-in-law baked just for us. In those decisions though, I see that one of my issues is feeling like I have to eat food that people bring me.
As for the breastfeeding postpartum aspect, it has been a challenge in a few ways. I always feel hungrier when I’m nursing. So I have to plan for that and I have a Whole 30 approved food that I can eat throughout the day. I’d grab a handful of almonds and a banana as I settle in to nurse the baby.
And about the sleep during Whole 30 with newborns, I think at first it didn’t make a huge difference, although my baby slept through the night for the first time one week into the Whole 30! That could be a factor of the Whole 30 food, or could be just a factor of her age and timing. But I’ll take it!
One slightly disappointing part has been the weight loss. Confession, I do not follow the Whole 30 rule about not weighing yourself during the month. I weigh myself every single day- it’s just part of my routine and has been since high school. So, I have weighed myself throughout the Whole 30 and at this point I’ve only lost 6 pounds. I was expecting much more based on other Whole 30s I’ve done. Part of that may be the nursing piece, because they see you say you hang onto some weight as a reserve for nursing. We will have to see when we get to the end of the month.
We found that doing the Whole 30 didn’t impede our lives that much, before or after having the baby. We still carried on our normal lives, just refusing some foods and planning ahead for situations. For example, we still did our annul apple orchard visit. We just resisted the caramel and honey, and indulged on crisp, seasonal, fresh-from-the-tree apples!
We also found that we could eat out at a few certain places and still be (mostly) Whole 30 complaint. We went on a post-baby date to the Mall of America, and enjoyed some cheese-and-sour-cream-free Chipotle salads.
With every Whole 30 I do, I have taken something away from it. The first one, I gleaned the realization that dairy really doesn’t do well in my system. The second one, I kicked the soda (or pop, if you’re from MN!) habit for good. I don’t even crave it anymore. This postpartum Whole 30 has taught me not to use my kids as an excuse, and that I really can cook some satisfying meals. I usually rely on Paul to do most of the cooking because he is infinitely better than me and enjoys it. But this time, I dove it and tried some very successful recipes! I pinned my favorites on my Pinterest board. I even added a new tab to my recipe book for all Whole 30 recipes. I’m just assuming I’ll need it in the future as I incorporate these new foods and ways of cooking into my normal, everyday life. Here’s to more healthy eating in the Risdall family’s future!