Persephone: Parent

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Sleep + Food

on July 11, 2013

A few weeks ago I posed the following question to my husband: if I’m supposed to sleep when baby sleeps and that can be every 3 hours or less, when am I supposed to eat?

From what I know different foods metabolise at different times, rangung from as little as 20 minutes to over 4 hours. So, I repeat when should I be eating?

Metabolism slows when you’re asleep and you shouldn’t go to sleep on a full tummy. Now I know you should eat little and often but if proteins take a few hours to digest it really doesn’t matter. Plus what new mother’s going to get up every few hours, eat and then go straight to sleep? And what new dad’s going to prepare healthy snacks at night?
Now, I for one haven’t suffered any of the usual tummy problems that someone would get from going to bed on a full tummy. And on week nights I eat dinner about 7 and am in bed feeding by 8, going to sleep by 9. Those 2 hours aren’t long enough to digest my main meal.

Upon googling, I learnt that a mother’s metabolism, which changes during pregnancy, does not change back once baby’s born. The metabolism doesn’t even neccesarily change back after lactation, but it is different during lactation.

I read in a microbiology journal about how the gut flora of pregnant mice or rats is significantly different to non-pregnant. The altered bacterial strains from a pregnant mouse/rat were transferred to a non-pregnant one and that mouse/rat started metabolising foods differently. The bacteria in their gut started storing fat in the same way a pregnant mouse/rat would. Not all the pregnancy metabolic changes are physiologically the mouse/rats.

If this can be transferred to humans, during pregnancy some of the metabolic changes which occur are due to bacteria in the intestines which alter the digestable foods. If they work to make food more digestable, they are also making digestion more efficient.

According to the following link:

http://www.ibreastfeeding.com/content/newsletter/excerpt-breastfeeding-answers-made-simple-guide-helping-mothers-0

One of the benefits of breastfeeding is a more efficient metabolism. Perhaps it’s because of the bacteria. So rather than food stodgily sitting in our guts when we realise we can nap straight after eating, the bacteria continue working to maximise calorie intake.

That’s my theory anyway. Feel free to point me in the direction of any other answers!

~ Persephone M

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