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Nutrition, Exercise, and Breastfeeding with Keri Shaw

Hear from Keri Shaw, wife of 4x World Strongest Man, Brian Shaw. Being a mother to two boys, in the fitness industry and leading a life of health and fitness for her and her boys, Keri answers some common BREASTFEEDING questions with regards to nutrition & exercise. At Mommy’s Corner, we get lots of questions regarding proper breastfeeding nutrition and supplementation and Keri is a great source for guidance! Follow her on on Instagram at @fitmommy_kerishaw for lots of home workout inspiration and even more fit mommy inspiration!

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How many weeks postpartum are you and are you breastfeeding?

I’m currently 14 weeks postpartum and am exclusively breastfeeding. I breastfed our first son for a full year and am hoping to do the same with our second.

What do you feel are some of the benefits of nursing?

I feel that the benefits of nursing are limitless, but with that I will say that it may not be right or possible for everyone and that’s OK, too! Truly, fed is best, but for me I choose to breastfeed for numerous reasons. I believe our bodies produce exactly what our bodies (or our babies’ bodies) need. Therefore, I have the perfect food for him already. On top of that, it’s free and convenient! I don’t have to worry about packing bottles or formula because as long as I have me then I have food for my son. I also think breastfeeding helps me bond with my son. It’s some time during the day (and night) where it’s just me and him and I focus on us. Lastly, I must admit, I think it helps me lose the weight a bit faster as it burns extra calories.

How important is nutrition when it comes to your milk supply?

Nutrition is so important, breastfeeding or not. With that said, you need to eat to keep up your milk supply and drink TONS of water. I try to keep a healthy diet full of protein and various vitamins so I can pass them onto my son.

What changes, if any, have you had to make to your diet?

I haven’t made many changes to my diet other than to be more aware of what I’m eating and how it may affect my son. I’m super careful when it comes to some of the ‘typical’ problem foods for babies – milk, eggs, peanuts, supplements, etc., and make sure I take note if he is having any adverse reactions. As for supplements, such as protein powder and bars, I removed these from my diet during my pregnancy and the first few weeks of breastfeeding/postpartum. However, I was having trouble keeping my calories up with clean, whole foods (and having time to eat!) so I slowly introduced them. Again, I just monitored my son and was fortunate that he had no adverse reactions. I also picked the cleanest, while still tasting good, options I could find. I love MRE Lite Oatmeal Chocolate Chip and MRE Bars from Redcon1.

Has it been tough to balance getting in enough food and losing baby weight?

Yes and no. Getting in enough food is not an issue. HA! However, getting in enough healthy food to keep my supply up and still low enough to lose weight is a balancing act. My main priority is to keep my son healthy, fed and happy. I’ve started tracking what I eat a little more closely so I can start getting to where I want to be physically. However, if I notice a drop in my supply, then I will add those calories back in. So far, I have been losing weight and my supply is still great.

What kind of workouts can you do while breastfeeding?

Anything you want! Although, I definitely went through a period of time where it was not comfortable to lay on my chest so I just chose other exercises to hit the same muscles. As always, check with your doctor if you have concerns about anything and, remember, you just created life! Take your time getting back into it!

All in all, breastfeeding, exercising and losing weight can certainly all go hand in hand if you want it to. I personally love breastfeeding for so many reasons, but I also believe that every woman has to do what is right for her and her child(ren). If you want to breastfeed – great! If you don’t want to breastfeed – great! Love your babies and feed them and the rest will take care of itself!