eating for TWO: keeping up my supply + exercise

I couple weeks ago I asked for Q’s regarding breastfeeding on my stories and you all delivered! which in turn I have written the longest post EVER.. so stick with me..and if you make it to the end, well then you’re a rockstar:)
I’ve breast fed four different babies in the last four years and all four experiences have been totally different.  
well, except for four simple things::
1.  they all got formula (at some point)
2.  they are all healthy + happy
3.  I felt attached to that stupid pump 24/7.
4.  I ate around the clock.
breastfeeding is HARD WORK.
with the twins I felt like a slave to that pump.  I was working 40-50 hours a week after going back when the twins were just 9 weeks old. I busted my tail to give them all of me when I wasn’t present to do so.  I did supplement with formula when they were just a few weeks old because of their size and while waiting for my milk to come in, Jolie more so than Parker. I supplemented with a few ounces of fortified breastmilk after she would nurse until she was about 6 weeks old.
I breast fed Parker and Jolie for 13 months.. by the end of it I was pumping 40 ounces/day while I was at work and then nursing them as much as I could when I was home.  I even lugged my pump to Mexico  when they were 8 months old to keep up with those two while I was away. 
finally at 13 months Parker self weaned after a weekend of pure agony for the both of us- she was DONE with me and not interested in the boob any more letting me know it by screaming in my face for a half hour every time I attempted to feed her.  since I was producing enough for both of the girls to nurse on one side and be satisfied, I went ahead and weaned Jolie as well. nursing and then pumping the other side after Jolie ate brought back nightmares of when the twins were tiny and pumping 8 times a day to build up my supply for the twins.. wasn’t going to do that again!
with Baker, life was a little less stressful in regards to work.. less hours + much less stress, but I had two toddlers running around and pumping wasn’t something I was able to keep up with very well because they seemed to run like banshees around the house every time I pulled out the pump.  she and I had an amazing 10 months together before she started to really cut teeth and had trouble finding a good latch because her gums we so inflamed.  she would nurse for just 10-15 minutes and my supply tanked.  around that time Jordan and I were headed to Mexico (again) so I weaned her right before we left.  I had enough milk stored up for her to get through to 12 months, supplementing with about 8-10 ounces of formula/day but mixing it in with my stored breastmilk.  
..which brings me to Brady.  I have fallen in love with breastfeeding all over again. big B and I are still in the honeymoon stages and since going back to work I’ve been able to keep up my supply pretty well.  working in a (baby-friendly) hospital my boss is a huge advocate for me to be able to pump when I need to and as often as I want.  some days are better than others as far as my confidence in providing for Brady goes.  I posted this picture on IG and got a LOAD of support from amazing women and mothers just like me.  same struggles, similar stories.. all walking the same breastfeeding road as me. while I haven’t had to supplement with Brady (yet) that day might still come as it did with the girls. he is growing like a weed and already eating more from a bottle than his sisters did at 12 months! so you can imagine my concern on the days that I exclusively breastfeed him like.. are you getting enough??  
eat with balance- the basics for maintenance
occasionally, your calorie or fluid intake can affect milk production.  excessive dieting can reduce milk supply, but sensible dieting is generally not a problem.  I have read that it’s best not to do anything consciously to lose weight until after the second month. this gives your body enough time to successfully establish a healthy milk supply that is less likely to be adversely affected if your caloric intake is restricted. 
breast feeding a singleton baby you need an additional 300-500 calories/day.  
there are no foods that you should avoid simply because you are breastfeeding. it is generally recommended that a nursing mother eat whatever she likes, whenever she likes, in the amounts that she likes and continue to do this unless baby has an obvious reaction to a particular food. when Brady was struggling with reflux in his first few weeks I suggested to cut out milk/dairy from my diet and our pediatrician recommended that I don’t simply because if he does have a milk allergy getting the antibodies built up in my milk would allow him to have a lesser chance in maintaining that lactose issue. 
of course, whatever your pediatrician tells you/recommends for you to do.. I would absolutely follow that. 
::boosting my supply::
when I feel like Ive had a dip in my supply I know its time to increase my water intake, decrease my caffeine intake and change the types of food I’m eating.  it is recommended that you do not restrict your food intake below 1500 calories/day.  I’m burning about 2200 calories/day on the days I work out (according to my Fitbit app).  which means I aim for 1800-2000 calories/day to maintain my current weight and keep up with my milk supply.
::my workouts::
I go to bootcamp 3-4 days/week for 60 minutes.  check out my workouts HERE
you can check to see if there is a camp gladiator location near you HERE.
I have been loving the group exercise scene and have been working out with CG for a little over a year.
when boosting my calories I try to snack on healthy fats + protein sources from dairy and vegetables/grains. I usually reach for hard boiled eggs, hummus, and peanut butter for something quick and easily accessible!  I LOVE those mini cups of guacamole, hummus, and peanut butter!  its easy to throw one of those in the diaper bag with some crackers or an apple.  I also strive to keep myself hydrated with at least 120 ounces of water/day and some days its easy to do so, and then others is a struggle because I would rather down a Diet Coke at lunch or guzzle more coffee than one should ever consider.  I don’t actually drink those things for energy, although these days they are totally appreciated, but more because 1. I am obsessed with carbonation.    I even craved that burn down my throat while I was pregnant.  and 2. I actually really love the taste of coffee.  the darker the better.  my best measure for the amount of water I’m taking in is how many times I’m filling my water bottle every day. I carry around a 40 ounce bottle (this one, in case you’re curious!) and try and fill it at least 3-4 times throughout the day.
dietitians recommend women that are attempting to really boost their supply and produce a high fat milk thats healthiest for their baby should consume whole fats themselves.  adding in at least 3 cups of whole milk, whole milk yogurt, and full fat cheese every day will dramatically help in your milk production! you’ll also need to make sure you are eating at least 12 ounces of protein and include about 8 ounces of whole grains every day.  
::a typical day of food::
5AM: (pre-workout) 100 calorie granola bar 
6:30AM: 2 slices whole grain toast with 3-4 tablespoons natural peanut butter + 1/2 banana, sliced
1/2 cup rolled oats cooked in 1/2 cup skim milk, 2-3 tablespoons peanut butter
730AM: venti 1/2 caf skinny caramel macchiato 
9AM: SNACK (work out): 2 hard boiled eggs + pepper
10:30AM: SNACK (non workout): skinny pop rice cakes + 2 string cheese sticks
12PM: Starbucks reduced fat turkey bacon sandwich + 2% greek yogurt
organic chicken + quinoa + kale bowl (I buy THIS at Costco) + 3 tablespoons hummus or guacamole 
1/4 c. black bean hummus on double protein english muffin (I buy these!) + boar’s head honey maple turkey
grilled turkey + cheese sandwich and tomato soup (I buy this kind!)
2:30-3PM: 2% greek yogurt OR peanut butter + banana toast (same as 6:30AM breakfast above)
decaf iced coffee w skim milk
7:30PM-8PM: grilled chicken + salad OR grilled chicken/steak/salmon, roasted vegetables, mashed potatoes 
cereal (<- ha!)
10PM (occasionally): 2% greek yogurt ( I love 2% FAGE) or bowl of Cheerios 
side note:: 
right now we don’t usually eat with the kiddos.  I am an advocate to eat as a family, and we are getting there!  we got into the groove with Parker and Jolie and then eventually with Baker, but still getting the hang of all four of them now.  Baker is out of a highchair and sitting at a booster seat at the table with her sisters, so once Brady gets to the point of sitting in a highchair in the next few months we will be eating as a family again.  right now Jordan and I like to eat together after the kids go down for bed, and even though it seems like its super late to eat a meal, this is worth it for the down time we need to have a conversation:)
I plan to update our family meal plans and share with you all SOON, but for now check out these weekly toddler menu plans and this MEGA list of toddler snack ideas!  I used to write and share those meal plans every single week!  I really need to get back in that habit of sharing those.  it kept me accountable, too!
::making time for the pump::
my supply is also affected by something as simple as adding in a couple of pumping sessions every day.   usually I pump right after I feed Brady for the first time in the morning and then right before I go to bed at night.  usually I will pump about 6 to 8 ounces in the morning and 4-6 ounces before bed.    my supply always seems to be lower in the evening/night and I’ve read that it ‘peaks’ about 2 am in the morning- which is why that first pump always produces the most I get throughout the entire day.  I will occasionally get more than the 4-6 ounces in the evening because I’ve been giving Brady a bottle before bed to make sure he gets a full belly before he goes to sleep for the night.  anything to get him to sleep longer! usually the moment I stick him on the boob before bedtime he passes out and the bottle forces him to stay awake to finish because the flow is much easier.  speaking of bottles.. we are loving the como tomo bottles.  we were introduced to them when Baker was a wee babe and have been using them with Brady and he’s doing great!  I think the key to transitioning from bottle to breast with ease is to breastfeed as often as you are able! if you are home/around your baby nurse nurse nurse!  it is also common for the baby to start waking more often at night again after the mother goes back to work (ALL of my kids have done this!) just to cluster feed and be close to mama.. best piece of advice is to let them nurse! don’t cut it short at all and allow that bond to remain if you plan to breastfeed long term.
WHEW!  I think that covers the best of it!  you guys are amazing with all your awesome questions. do you have your own tips and tricks for breastfeeding and keeping up your supply?? 
share away!!
photography by b faith photography

August 8, 2017

  1. Carrie says:

    I have a one month old and am trying to build up a freezer stash for when I return to work in Oct. I've started pumping once a day, but often find that I'm engorged overnight and if she sleeps any longer than 3 hours during the day. Is pumping creating an oversupply? How do you deal with pumping and nursing without creating such an oversupply. I also pump for about a minute before latching her BC I have a strong letdown. Could that be contributing to engorgememt?

  2. amber says:

    Hey Carrie! So pumping can definitely promote an over supply, but before you stop pumping all together, your baby girl is really young and your body is still adjusting to producing the right amount of milk she needs. During the first 6-8 weeks is when I built my freezer stash for going back to work and I had about 200 ounces stored before going back to work. Eventually your body will adjust to producing the perfect amount to fill her up. that being said.. you might just have to pump for 15-20 min after she eats to prevent that feeling of enforcement. She is most likely not emptying the breast, so in turn filling on top of what remains. Hope that helps!

  3. Carrie says:

    Thank you so much! Definitely makes sense.

  4. Stephanie says:

    I miss those weekly meal plans! But honestly, I don't even get how you have time to go pee. Love your blog posts! I am always left feeling encouraged and motivated! 🙂

  5. Love hearing this from a momma working outside the home. It's tough work no matter how you choose to feed your baby, but the night waking thing is real! Both of my kids did it. They started to become really great sleepers and as soon as I went back to work, the struggle was on. Glad to hear I'm not the only one. Great job feeding 4 babies in such individualized ways.

  6. Great advice as always!! I'm hoping to join the mama world very soon and totally appreciate these amazing/helpful posts- I feel like I'll be referring to the "Mama Massey bible" (LOL) when I have questions about breastfeeding!! Ps…LOVE your hair this colour, looks AMAZING!!!!

  7. Jamie says:

    Love this so much! Thank you for sharing! I'm due with #2 august 18th ek! Question: when did you start giving Brady a bottle?

  8. Mary C. says:

    This was an extremely helpful post! I'll be referencing this when my third little one joins us in the spring. I did have a question about what prenatal vitamin you took or are taking. The one that I'm taking right now just isn't working out as well as I thought it would. Thank you so much for your help!

  9. Heidi Crisp says:

    Thank you so much for posting this!! I'm right in the middle of figuring out the best pumping/breastfeeding schedule and trying to up my supply. I'll definitely be referring back to this post often!

  10. Hi! So I have a 4 month old as of tomorrow and while she is at daycare and I'm at work she takes 3 5oz bottles. I nurse her on demand after I pick her up. I pump only 3 times a day, 9:30, 12, and 3. First pump I get about 7-10oz and the other 2 pumps between 2-4oz. And I do see and fill significantly less full as the day goes on. I wonder about whether or not she is getting enough to eat once we are home. I tried pumping at night before I went to bed but I got discouraged because I couldn't get anything to come out. Totally envious of your ability to pump 4-6 at the end of the day. I also have tried several supplements to help boost my supply, do you have any suggestions that might help me pump and produce more? Because I nurse her after work I'm worried she isn't getting enough due to the fact I don't see how much she is actually taking from me. She seems to be good on weight, she was 12lbs 2 weeks ago. Any help, would be appreciated.

  11. amber says:

    Hey Jamie! Congrats on baby number 2!! I started giving Brady a bottle around 8-9 weeks, I believe? Not everyday but a slow introduction helped usage through my first week of going back to work unscathed 🙂

  12. amber says:

    Hi Mary! I am currently taking a prescription gummy vitamin:) Vitafol is the brand. My prescription my OB wrote me while pregnant runs out in September and at that point I'll probably;y start taking something OTC. Hope that is helpful!

  13. amber says:

    Hey Courtney! Your milk output seems right on point to me! If your sweet girl is taking 3.5 ounces in a bottle then you shouldn't be pumping much more than 2-4 ounces at a time! at this point your milk is mature and your body has acclimated itself to produce just enough for what she is eating. Since Brady gets a bottle before bedtime (in hopes he will sleep longer through the night!) I am able to pump a bit more because he's missed a feeding.. AND he's taking 6 ounce bottles at a time, so because of that my body is producing a little bit more than yours- I hope that makes sense! I've never been super successful with supplements before.. its the change in my diet that helps the most (as posted above). As long as our girl seems happy and satisfied after she's fed then you are golden!

  14. Jamie says:

    Thanks Amber! :)) I have to go back to work at 7-8 weeks after baby 🙁 so I'll probably introduce a bottle at the 5-6 week mark and see how that goes :)) .

  15. Omg, I seriously could not eat enough when breastfeeding/pumping! I didn't ever produce enough milk for both babes but I honestly just wanted to eat ALL OF THE THINGS, ALL OF THE TIME! I remember eating ice cream with Oreos EVERY night during my midnight pump and I STILL lost weight. Thoooose were the days. 🙂

  16. Gwendolyn W. says:

    Hi Amber! Loved your post – I'm current breastfeeding baby #2 & love hearing about how other moms do things! Non-breastfeeding question for ya: what size tee are you wearing? I love it (and love Ezra+Eli) and want to snag one but I can't decide what size to go with for the off the shoulder style. I feel like we're about the same size (I'm about 5'8" & 120). Did you go with a S or M? Thank you!!