Q: Hello. I’m a nursing mother. I have no appetite. What can I take to boost my appetite? Is appetite pills good for me to take them?
A: As a nursing mum, you need to keep your strength up and so dealing with loss of appetite is a no-no!
The first thing really, would be to find the cause of the loss of appetite. Some people experience this as a symptom of an underlying disease which can range from thyroid problems, infections to cancers. So, excluding all these is important
Then what to do?
• Eat smaller and more frequent meals/snacks. Some people naturally, ‘freak out’ when they see a huge bowl of food…how much more someone trying to get back into the grove of food
• Limit your fluid intake when you eat and much as it breaks my heart to say so, do not fill up on too many veggies. They keep you full but provide few calories…which you need if your appetite loss is leading to weight loss.
• When you do feel hungry, don’t be shy…make up for lost time
• Go for visually appealing meals and easy to digest foods like pap (ogi), custard, puddings etc
• If weight loss is a real issue at this time, go for peanut butter spreads on bread, mayonnaise dressings, full cream milk, full fat yoghurt, fried foods etc.
• Exercise is also a great way to work up an appetite at this time.
• If you feel food is bland, try using some spices and experiment with different textures eg some crispy cereal or nuts sprinkled on oatmeal porridge.
• It may also be a good time to experiment with and discover new dishes. All of us are creatures of habit and most tend to stick to the same meals…forever! Switch things around and try something new.
In Nigeria, most people look to a multivitamin to help stimulate hunger. You do need multivitamin supplementation if your loss of appetite is making you not eat sufficiently. Please let your doctor know if all the tips above do not significantly help so he can prescribe one while figuring out the cause of the loss of appetite. Finally, remember that ‘loss of appetite’ for a few hours (most likely less than a day) is not sufficient excuse to go on a binge with all the high calorie-foods mentioned. Let’s not exchange one problem for another, people. If in doubt, please see your doctor.
Have a great weekend, y’all 😀