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Sugar craving are very common for breastfeeding mamas. Many mamas who are solely nursing find themselves wanting sugar every couple of hours, or more, and the cravings are very strong. Lactation cookies are very popular now as a means to help satisfy the sugar cravings, while also increasing milk supply, but the root of the issue still isn’t being addressed.
Sugar cravings while breastfeeding are signals from the body that we need nutrients.
Hunger and cravings tend to consume new mommies to the point where they are in survival mode. This causes reactionary eating, based on intense feelings and hunger. Candies, chocolates, chips, crackers, peanut butter, nutella and other packaged foods offer immediate satisfaction to both the hunger and the sugar needs. It is easy to open a jar of nutella and dig right in. But, the convenience of most packaged foods is actually causing more sugar cravings and continuing an endless cycle.
Here at Milk Dust, we are here to help mamas understand why they are craving sugar, and what to do to stop it.
Let’s dive head first into what sugar cravings mean, and where they are stemming from, particularly in breastfeeding mamas.
The Meaning Behind Sugar Cravings As A Nursing Mama:
Mineral Deficiencies Such As Chromium + Magnesium:
Chromium and magnesium have been used to treat diabetes and help with blood sugar control for years now. Many of these essential minerals are lost in our diets today because of the way food is grown, harvested and fertilized. Chromium is also found in small amounts in many foods, which means we need a wide variety of fruits and vegetables to help replenish those chromium and magnesium stores. Many new mamas aren’t eating colorful plates full of fruits, veggies and lean proteins merely because of the effort to prep (hello hands being full 24/7), and prepare healthy meals as a new mommy. Without a diet full of these foods, the minimal amount of Chromium is missed. Chromium is essential for transporting glucose and blood sugar regulation. Here is what Dr. Weil says,
For people with type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, (marked by insulin resistance), and those who gain abdominal fat easily, I recommend daily supplements of 1000 mcg of GTF (glucose tolerance factor) chromium, a form that is well used by the body.
Milk Dust of course offers Chromium and Magnesium to help mamas with their mineral needs. Deficiencies in these minerals are one of the contributing factors to sugar cravings while breastfeeding.
Low Protein Consumption:
If your protein consumption is lower while breastfeeding, your blood sugar levels are going to jump up and down more often. It is common for nursing mothers to jump on cookies, packaged foods and comfort foods which are often full of simple carbohydrates, sugar and fat. The important point here is that a diet like this means your protein to carbohydrate and fat ration is lower. In reality, protein and carbohydrates should make up most of your diet, with small amounts of healthy fat. Without enough protein, blood sugar levels are rocky, dipping frequently and stirring more sugar cravings. Adding in more protein, with something simple and easy like Milk Dust, can help you decrease sugar cravings, slow the absorption of sugar and carbohydrates, and balance your blood sugar levels.
One study found that starting the day with a higher protein breakfast reduced sugar cravings the rest of the day. Hello protein smoothie! A protein smoothie made with Milk Dust is fast, easy and delicious!
Stress + Sleep Deprivation:
Of course new mommies are walking zombies. Newborns wake every few hours in the beginning for feedings, and it can feel like days and nights are one big blur. Sleep deprivation and stress are common causes for sugar and carbohydrate cravings. When your brain is low on sleep, it craves glucose for immediate energy to compensate for the lack of sleep. Stress can also signal carbohydrates because the dopamine reaction to help sooth and calm your brain. Both stress and sleepless nights are completely normal while breastfeeding. Combating this with non-caffeine boosts like vitamin B12, which we specifically added to Milk Dust can really help manage some of the lowest energy days. Vitamin B12 is also really important to baby. If a breastfeeding mother is deficient in vitamin B12, so will baby be. Not only does vitamin B12 help with energy levels, it helps with the production of healthy red blood cells. Very important for growing little ones.
Spirulina is also amazing for tired mamas, which we’ve added in our powder formula because it has no cell wall, and infuses your body with many nutrients quickly. This can give your brain and body an instant boost of nutrients. By offering the right nutrients to help combat fatigue and stress, you can combat some of those instant sugar cravings with instant nutrients.
Not Enough Fiber:
If you aren’t eating enough fiber, you are probably feeling hungry all the time, or soon after meals. Fiber is the key to bulking up and filling your tummy and intestines. Fiber is often thought of an issue for gassy babies. This is not the case at all because fiber can not pass through breast milk. Fiber is a form of carbohydrate that goes directly to the small intestine of the mother. It can cause mama to be gassy, but not baby. The more fruits and veggies a mama can eat, the better. Without feeling satiated, you will be headed to the pantry soon after even a large meal, if it doesn’t have enough fiber. Combining fiber with protein, like we have in Milk Dust, is going to help you feel so full after your meal, even sugary treats won’t sound appealing. Adding more fruits, or large salads to every meal can do wonders for sugar cravings. Fruit is natural sugar, and your body processes this sugar slower than many think. Because of the water, nutrients, and fiber, the sugar is absorbed slowly, yet still gives you with sweet taste you want.
By adding fruit or spinach to your perfect lactation shake, you are adding natural glucose and lots of fiber! Blend it up with our protein-rich Milk Dust, and you have an amazing combination.
Lack of Sunshine or Vitamin D:
Vitamin D deficiencies have been linked to sugar cravings, and many new mommies are stuck inside for days with a new baby. This doesn’t allow much sunshine to get in and provide the natural vitamin D levels that are needed. Dr. Axe has an awesome video on Vitamin D deffeciencies, and he correlates pregnancy to lower levels of vitamin D. A new, breastfeeding mama was just pregnant, and it is safe to say she may not have been able to get outside much, or replenish those vitamin D stores right away. Outside light is the best way to do this, but as Dr. Axe mentions in his video below, wild caught fish and mushrooms are the best food sources.
Low vitamin D levels are linked to lower seratonin, which often mean sugar cravings! If you live in a less-than sunny place, consuming more vitamin D rich foods and getting a supplement can really help with those sugar cravings.
Here we’ve gone over major reasons behind sugar cravings while nursing.
Of course, if you aren’t eating enough, your body will signal for more food. This can often come out in sugar cravings as well. If you think you need to eat more, don’t dive straight into cheeseburgers just for calories. Add in more calories from more salads, more nuts, more fruit, more beans and more complex carbohydrates like sweet potatoes and oatmeal. The most important thing you can do is fully nourish your body for both yourself and your baby.
We’ve created Milk Dust as a tool to help you do this. A full-scale protein lactation powder that helps to nourish new, breastfeeding mothers with specific nutrients that both mama and baby need. It also tastes great!