When I was pregnant with our son, I was sick from week six until delivery, nauseous all the time and losing my lunch on the daily. I remember my doctor saying, “Oh, you’ll feel better at 12 weeks,” then, “I’m sure, by 16 weeks, you’ll be feeling better,” and, “By 20 weeks, surely, some nausea will subside.” Finally, she said,
Ok, this is how your pregnancy is going to be.
As awful as it was in the moment, I got used to the flip-flop feeling in my stomach and managed to get through it. However, since I wasn’t able to eat much most days, I feel like I really missed out on the whole pregnancy cravings thing. While I definitely consumed more whoopie pies than usual (ok, more whoopie pies than in my first thirty years combined), the only real craving I had was for fruit. I wish I could tell you I ate ice cream with pickles or chocolate-covered broccoli, but it just didn’t happen.
I bet you can imagine my joy when I discovered that nursing cravings exist!
I remember my mom texting me while I was in the mother-baby unit and asking if she could bring me anything. I didn’t even have to think before I scream-texted, “CHOCOLATE!!!!!!!” When my son was born and the “morning” (aka all day and all night) sickness was over, my love for food was reborn. In addition to eating copious amounts of chocolate, I simply could not get enough oranges. Popcorn and pretty much anything with cheese was also high up on the list. I had been a vegetarian for most of my pregnancy; due, of course, to the fact that I woke up one day and meat was suddenly disgusting. But, to my husband’s excitement, my love for bacon returned bit by bit and I was able to work my way toward eating chicken and beef again too.
While some of my nursing cravings have been short-lived, like my sudden and tumultuous love affair with saffron risotto, my love for chocolate seems to grow bigger and bigger. In my post about Valentine’s Day, I wrote that I’m not a fan of milk chocolate, but I didn’t say that my love for white and dark chocolate has grown exponentially. I never really loved white chocolate before, but now it’s something I now crave, along with salty green olives, feta cheese, and anything super “carby” – pasta, bread, rolls, tortillas, tortilla chips. I could go on and on.
I feel like, while most everyone knows about pregnancy cravings, there is not a lot of talk about nursing cravings.
I had heard things here and there when I started nursing, like how one of my friends couldn’t stop eating granola. She craved it at all hours, and she jokingly told me that her husband’s new job was cleaning up granola after her – even from their bedsheets! My mom told me about how she drank a milkshake nearly every day when she was nursing, and my sister-in-law told me how she craved sweets (and decaf coffee) all the time.
Once I realized I was not alone in having nursing cravings, I asked the ladies in my online mommy group what their cravings were. The responses were great! It turns out that our nursing cravings are all over the map. Lots of nursing moms are craving sweets, chocolate, and cookies, just like me! A number of the ladies who responded described their newfound obsession with sandwiches, especially those made with mustard. I wasn’t surprised at all that many of the moms were craving carbs: pasta, bread, and chips. One mama said she wanted, “Anything that had like 1000 calories,” like an entire loaf of French bread, and another put it simply: “everything.” I hear you on that one, mama!
One of my friends described it perfectly when she said that nursing made her hungrier than she had ever been before. Interestingly, some moms I talked to were craving broad categories of foods (like sweets, salads, or salty snacks), while others honed in on a specific brand of iced coffee, peanut butter cups from a particular chain, or, in one mom’s case, bell peppers. She said the obsession started when she was pregnant, and continued for almost a year postpartum. I loved hearing about what other moms were eating (and loving), and I picked up a few ideas to add to next week’s grocery list, like non-alcoholic beer. I can’t believe I didn’t think of that one myself.
Also on my grocery list for next week, and every week in the conceivable future will be something with chocolate. Since my husband (and now my son) both love chocolate, I’ll admit that it disappears quickly in our house. Somehow, though, I can always squirrel away a handful or two in the baking cabinet, away from the snack zone and usually out-of-sight.
It’s perfect for when my cravings hit; and I’ve found the perfect vehicle to deliver little bits of chocolatey goodness: my loaded cookies.
My loaded cookies are quite a bit like Texas cow chip cookies, if you’ve ever had those. They start with my standard chocolate chip cookie dough base, and then I mix in loads of stuff: chocolate chips (white, dark, milk, or a combo), mini marshmallows, old-fashioned oats, and cornflakes. I use brown sugar instead of white so it gets a little bit of caramel flavor, and I toss in a bit of cinnamon since it’s one of my favorite spices. You could, of course, swap out one of my mix-ins for your favorite one; like all of my best recipes, this one is versatile.
Whenever I make a batch of cookies, I’m reminded of a snow day I had many many years ago, back when I was in high school. It was close to Christmas time and we were snowed in, but we had a master baking plan. My childhood best friend, Emily, trudged through the snow, we made a huge list of friends and teachers, and baked cookies for hours. We made so many kinds: chocolate chip, sugar cookies, oatmeal raisin, butterscotch chip, and snickerdoodles. Now that I think of it, my loaded cookies would have been the perfect compromise cookie for all of those different recipes. They’ve got melty chocolate, gooey marshmallows, a little bit of crunch, and a touch of caramel and cinnamon. They’re the best bits of many cookies all in one. And they are certain to satisfy at least some of your nursing cravings.