Navigating Postpartum Sugar Cravings: An Intuitive Eating Perspective

by | Apr 11, 2024 | Blog | 0 comments

Last updated 27 days ago.

Welcome back to Nourished Journey, where we delve into the beautiful complexities of intuitive eating. Today, we’re diving deep into a topic close to many new parents’ hearts: postpartum sugar cravings. Whether you’re experiencing them firsthand or supporting someone who is, understanding the why behind these cravings can be empowering. So let’s explore the dynamics of postpartum sugar cravings through the lens of intuitive eating.

The Energy Surge: Postpartum Nutritional Needs

Ah, the postpartum period—a time of wonder, exhaustion, and yes, increased nutritional demands. Your body has just performed a miraculous feat, bringing a new life into the world. Now, it’s working overtime to nourish both you and your little one, especially if chest/breastfeeding is part of the equation. It’s no wonder your energy needs are through the roof! You may be craving sugar and sweets because you simply need more energy (aka calories) to heal from birth and make milk. Many sweet foods are energy dense and easy to eat, so it’s only natural that you would prefer those foods during this time.

The Sleep Deprivation Factor

Oh, sleep—the elusive treasure every new parent seeks. With sleep deprivation often reaching new heights in the postpartum period, it’s no surprise that cravings for sugar and sweets skyrocket. After all, what better way to combat fatigue and brain fog than with a quick sugar fix? Your body is seeking that rapid energy boost to keep up with the demands of caring for a newborn. It’s ok! If you feel like sugar (and caffeine) are the only things getting you through the day, it may be worth reconsidering the big picture of how you are getting rest and energy. 

The Gestational Diabetes Ghost

For some, the specter of gestational diabetes may still linger postpartum. Perhaps you diligently restricted sweets during pregnancy to maintain blood sugar levels, or maybe you were labeled as “high risk.” Now that your baby has arrived, you might find yourself swinging in the opposite direction, indulging in those “forbidden treats” as a form of rebellion against past restrictions. It’s a common response to feeling deprived, both physically and emotionally. If you can relate, using self compassion and bringing intuitive eating principles can help you navigate this roller coaster so it feels more like smooth sailing. Trying to restrict and control sweets usually backfires in the long run.

Sweet Treats: A Symbol of Love and Comfort

Let’s not forget the social and emotional aspects of postpartum sugar cravings. Sweet foods are often associated with celebration and comfort, two things that are in high demand during this tender time. Whether it’s a well-meaning friend dropping off a batch of cookies or your partner surprising you with your favorite dessert, these sweet gestures can inadvertently fuel your cravings. After all, who can resist a delicious treat when it’s served with a side of love and affection?

Embracing Intuitive Eating in the Postpartum Period

So, what’s a new parent to do amidst the swirl of postpartum sugar cravings? Enter intuitive eating, the guiding light in a sea of dietary chaos. Here are some gentle reminders to navigate this journey with compassion and self-awareness:

  • 1. Listen to Your Body: Tune in to your body’s cues and honor its needs. If you’re genuinely hungry for something sweet, enjoy it mindfully without judgment or guilt.
  • 2. Nourish Yourself: Prioritize balanced meals and snacks that provide sustained energy throughout the day. Pair carbohydrates with protein and healthy fats to stabilize blood sugar levels and balance your energy.
  • 3. Savor the Moment: When eating sweet foods, savor each bite with mindfulness. Pay attention to the flavors, textures, and sensations, allowing yourself to fully enjoy the experience without rushing or overindulging. I recognized this is easier said than done when you have a newborn! 
  • 4. Seek Support: Surround yourself with a supportive community of fellow parents, friends, and healthcare professionals who understand the unique challenges of the postpartum period. Share your struggles and victories openly, knowing that you’re not alone on this journey.
  • 5. Practice Self-Compassion: Be gentle with yourself as you navigate the ups and downs of postpartum life. Remember that it’s okay if your relationship with food is different during this phase and that your worth is not determined by what you eat.

In conclusion, postpartum sugar cravings are a natural and common phenomenon, influenced by a myriad of factors ranging from physiological to emotional. By approaching these cravings with curiosity and compassion, we can honor our bodies’ needs while embracing the joy and challenges of new parenthood. 

If you’d like support navigating your postpartum sugar cravings, new relationship with food, or postpartum body changes I’m here for you. Book a free 15 minute discovery call to see if we’re a good fit for working together. Find a time to connect HERE.

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Emily PiazzaHi! I’m Emily.

I’m a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Full Spectrum Doula, Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor and mom of 3.

Emily helps pregnant and postpartum folks with gestational diabetes, disordered eating and eating disorders, and body image struggles. Through a weight inclusive, anti-diet lens she helps people confidently feed themselves for a healthy pregnancy and healing postpartum journey.

Schedule a free 15 minute discovery session with me.

As a special gift to anyone who books a discovery call, you will have access to my Intuitive Eating: Explained video lesson.


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