How motherhood helped me make peace with food + diets

When I became pregnant, I finally was able to see food as purposeful.

How motherhood helped me make peace with food + diets

I have spent a good chunk of my life thinking about food.

When I think about important dates or celebrations in my life, I can almost always tell you what I ate. I love to bake and have a deep and lasting love for pizza and potato chips.

Food and I can be the best of friends, but we also have another side to our relationship.

Food can also feel like my foe.

I have eaten according to numerous diet trends. I have done low carb, calorie counting, and was a vegetarian for almost two years. I have made rules about what foods are okay to eat and when to eat them. I have overeaten, and I have under eaten. Over the years, these food rules have been a constant voice in my head with varying levels of volume and control. I have cycled back and forth between enjoying the feelings of control I have over food and feeling the weight of worrying about all my meals.


With my track record of an unhealthy relationship with food, I was scared of pregnancy and motherhood. How would I handle food in these stages of life? To me, it often seemed like pregnant women fell in to two categories: those that would eat whatever, whenever because they were eating for two, or those who would only eat “healthy” food for fear of additional weight gain. I honestly could see myself falling in to either category, and the idea of that filled me with anxiety.

To my surprise and relief, food filled another category for me when I became pregnant: I finally was able to see food as purposeful.

Food simply became food. It was what sustained my baby girl and me. That didn’t mean food suddenly became boring or that I didn’t enjoy it. That season of life actually made me enjoy food more because I wasn’t obsessing over every little thing I ate. I tuned in to what my body wanted and needed more than I ever had before, and that was extremely freeing.

I later learned that this idea of trusting our bodies and being in sync with what they need is called intuitive eating. Intuitive eating is a way to make peace with food and our bodies. This doesn’t mean that we throw logic out the door, but we also don’t limit our food choices based on what we think we “should” eat. Rather, we access what sounds good, what would help our bodies function well, and what’s available.

I would be lying if I said that intuitive eating is always easy, especially after so many years of eating by my self-imposed rules. But as we mamas know, hard doesn’t mean not worthwhile. It will continue to take time and hard work to rewrite the rules I’ve written about food, but I will keep at it.

Becoming a mother only increased my desire for my daughter to live a life free (or as free as possible) from the worry of food.

I want her to know that what her body looks like isn’t nearly as important as what her body allows her to do. When we have perspective on what really matters, we are free to actually live our lives without the distraction of what our next meal will be.

So in my house, we eat cookies and green beans. We choose foods that taste great, but also provide the nutrients we need. It is a balancing act, and one that we are still learning together. I’ll admit that I wish I had figured out more of this before becoming a mother, but there’s something sweet and humbling about doing this alongside my daughter.

It’s never too late to wave your white flag against the war on food.

Because if motherhood has taught me anything, it is that what I do and how I do it isn’t simply about me anymore. It’s about her too. So, I choose peace—for myself and for my daughter.

By its very nature, motherhood requires some lifestyle adjustments: Instead of staying up late with friends, you get up early for snuggles with your baby. Instead of spontaneous date nights with your honey, you take afternoon family strolls with your little love. Instead of running out of the house with just your keys and phone, you only leave with a fully loaded diaper bag.

For breastfeeding or pumping mamas, there is an additional layer of consideration around when, how and how much your baby will eat. Thankfully, when it comes to effective solutions for nursing or bottle-feeding your baby, Dr. Brown's puts the considerations of mamas and their babies first with products that help with every step of the process—from comfortably adjusting to nursing your newborn to introducing a bottle to efficiently pumping.

With countless hours spent breastfeeding, pumping and bottle-feeding, the editors at Motherly know the secret to success is having dependable supplies that can help you feed your baby in a way that matches lifestyle.

Here are 9 breastfeeding and pumping products to help you no matter what the day holds.

Customflow™ Double Electric Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's electric pump

For efficient, productive pumping sessions, a double electric breast pump will help you get the job done as quickly as possible. Quiet for nighttime pumping sessions and compact for bringing along to work, this double pump puts you in control with fully adjustable settings.


Hands-Free Pumping Bra

Dr. Brown''s hands free pumping bra

Especially in the early days, feeding your baby can feel like a pretty consuming task. A hands-free pumping bra will help you reclaim some of your precious time while pumping—and all mamas will know just how valuable more time can be!


Manual Breast Pump with SoftShape™ Silicone Shield

Dr. Brown's manual breast pump

If you live a life that sometimes takes you away from electrical outlets (that's most of us!), then you'll absolutely want a manual breast pump in your arsenal. With two pumping modes to promote efficient milk expression and a comfort-fitted shield, a manual pump is simply the most convenient pump to take along and use. Although it may not get as much glory as an electric pump, we really appreciate how quick and easy this manual pump is to use—and how liberating it is not to stress about finding a power supply.


Nipple Shields and Sterilization Case

Dr. Brown's nipple shields

There is a bit of a learning curve to breastfeeding—for both mamas and babies. Thankfully, even if there are some physical challenges (like inverted nipples or a baby's tongue tie) or nursing doesn't click right away, silicone nipple shields can be a huge help. With a convenient carry case that can be sterilized in the microwave, you don't have to worry about germs or bacteria either. 🙌


Silicone One-Piece Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's silicone pump

When you are feeding your baby on one breast, the other can still experience milk letdown—which means it's a golden opportunity to save some additional milk. With a silent, hands-free silicone pump, you can easily collect milk while nursing.


Breast to Bottle Pump & Store Feeding Set

After a lifetime of nursing from the breast, introducing a bottle can be a bit of a strange experience for babies. Dr. Brown's Options+™ and slow flow bottle nipples were designed with this in mind to make the introduction to bottles smooth and pleasant for parents and babies. As a set that seamlessly works together from pumping to storing milk to bottle feeding, you don't have to stress about having everything you need to keep your baby fed and happy either.


Washable Breast Pads

washable breast pads

Mamas' bodies are amazingly made to help breast milk flow when it's in demand—but occasionally also at other times. Especially as your supply is establishing or your breasts are fuller as the length between feeding sessions increase, it's helpful to use washable nursing pads to prevent breast milk from leaking through your bra.


Breast Milk Storage Bags

Dr. Brown's milk storage bags

The essential for mamas who do any pumping, breast milk storage bags allow you to easily and safely seal expressed milk in the refrigerator or freezer. Dr. Brown's™ Breast Milk Storage Bags take it even further with extra thick walls that block out scents from other food items and feature an ultra secure lock to prevent leaking.


Watch one mama's review of the new Dr. Brown's breastfeeding line here:

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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