How to Lose Weight While Breastfeeding Without Affecting Milk Supply
One of the most common questions breastfeeding moms ask themselves is “how to lose weight while breastfeeding without losing supply?”
Being able to breastfeed your baby is beneficial in so many ways. It provides ideal nutrition for babies and it also provides health benefits for mothers beyond emotional satisfaction. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends exclusive breastfeeding for about six months.
Unfortunately, breastfeeding is not easy for every mom. While some mothers breastfeed until their babies have grown into toddlers, others may struggle. Not surprisingly, some women expect breastfeeding to be easy, but then find themselves faced with challenges.
And that’s ok, every woman is different and every baby is different.
That being said, it is important to note that extreme restrictive diets may affect milk supply and vitamin and mineral deficiencies which may lead eventually to weight gain. This is why it is so important to eat a healthy and balanced diet, especially while breastfeeding and when trying to lose weight.
So if you want to lose weight while breastfeeding your bundle of joy, the last thing you want to happen is a reduction in your breast milk supply caused by a poor diet.
In this article, I’m going to cover all things losing weight while breastfeeding and focus on the best tips on how to safely lose weight while breastfeeding without losing supply.
How to Lose Weight While Breastfeeding Fast?
If you want to lose weight while breastfeeding quickly, you need to maintain a healthy and balanced diet, and you can’t go back to your old habits. So what ways do you go about dropping that weight as fast as possible?
Unfortunately, there is no magic solution. It is essential that you adjust the daily way of eating and exercising consistently, but you can use some tips to maximize your weight loss and the first one is to keep breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding Moms Lose Weight Faster
As reported by La Leche League GB, breastfeeding moms tend to lose more weight when their babies are 3-6 months old than formula-feeding mothers who consume fewer calories.
Breastfeeding Burns Calories!
Did you know that making breast milk and breastfeeding burns calories?
Good news! Many women find that breastfeeding helps to lose weight. There is a strong connection between breastfeeding and weight loss. When you’re pregnant, biology kicks in and helps you build up a reserve of weight that’s beneficial to both you and your baby. After you’ve given birth, it then helps you lose it by breastfeeding.
How Many Calories Does Breastfeeding Burn?
Your body generally burns between 200 to 500 extra calories a day while you’re breastfeeding. These are the additional calories per day that are recommended for breastfeeding moms. Compared with the amount they were consuming before pregnancy – approximately 2,300 to 2,500 cal per day for breastfeeding women versus 1,800 to 2,000 cal per day for moderately active, non-pregnant women who are not breastfeeding.
How to Lose Weight While Breastfeeding Safely?
Most experts don’t advocate dieting while breastfeeding. That’s because your body needs extra fuel to make breast milk – about 500 calories or so additional calories a day. According to La Leche League, breastfeeding moms should consume at least 1800 calories a day and can safely lose around 1 lb per week. For some, consuming 1800 calories per day does not allow much room for weight loss by cutting calories however, you can pair dieting with exercise to promote weight loss at a safe pace.
The amount of extra calories a breastfeeding mom needs depends on how much body weight has been put on during pregnancy, how much breast milk she is producing, her body size, percentage of body fat, and how active she is. Therefore, the best thing to do before starting any diet while breastfeeding is to consult your doctor and dietitian that can help you determine your recommended daily calorie intake based on your age, metabolism, and levels of physical activity, among other things.
How to Lose Weight While Breastfeeding Without Losing Supply – Do’s and Don’ts
Many breastfeeding women get frustrated because they cannot lose weight. It may be difficult to know how you may fall off while breastfeeding because you do not want to compromise the milk supply, your health or your baby’s health. Here are some tips, do’s and don’ts to help you on your way!
When to start
After you have received your baby, it is best to focus on finding a good milk supply and setting up a breastfeeding routine before trying to lose weight. Your body will also need time to recover from childbirth. You want to wait 2 to 3 months and then plan a gradual weight loss. Slowly losing weight is healthier for you, your baby and your milk production. Healthy weight loss is 1 to 1 1/2 pounds per week; do not shoot when you breastfeed.
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Avoid Vitamins Deficiency
A well-balanced diet should fulfill most of your nutrient needs. This way you can lose weight safely while breastfeeding.
If you can’t seem to lose weight no matter what you do, the answer may not always be to push yourself to work harder or eat less. It could be that you need to address a vitamin deficiency. Adding a few safe vitamin supplements can provide the extra boost you need to stay on track with your healthy weight loss regimen while breastfeeding.
Make sure to visit your doctor to take blood tests after pregnancy to make sure there is no vitamin deficiency. You can read more information about important vitamins here:
When wanting to know how to lose weight when breastfeeding, exercise may almost be like a swear word to you for many reasons. Many people don’t like to exercise, but also, when you have a baby to take care of, especially a newborn, you may not have the energy to even think about exercising!
A great way to exercise is to do something you enjoy. Also, switch up your workouts, try something new now and then, so you don’t get bored, and that’ll make it more enjoyable! Just ensure your doctor has given you the “go ahead” on exercising before you get started, and start slowly.
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Does breastfeeding seem to make you thirsty? I remember I was thirsty all the time when I was breastfeeding! I’m sure you know that water is the best thing for you to drink so drink up!
Remember also that you can get water from fruits and veggies that contain higher amounts of water. This is not to say that you can’t drink any other fluids during the day but try to stick mainly to water.
Many moms wonder how much water to drink when breastfeeding. The amount can vary so drink when you are thirsty and pay attention to your urine color; if it is dark yellow then you are not getting enough fluids, but if it is light/pale in color, then you are getting enough.
When you are breastfeeding, you want to avoid any diet, liquid diet, fad diet, diet pills, etc. These weight loss methods are not valid because they can affect your health and/or your energy level (and mothers all know that you need all the energy you can get with a little bit of fun!) And they can also reduce your milk production. If you’re wondering how you can fall off while breastfeeding, it’s best to follow a healthy, balanced diet and consume the number of calories you need, based on your height and weight.
Losing weight when breastfeeding depends largely on healthy eating habits. Keep these following tips in mind every day:
- Avoid high calorie and high-fat foods as much as possible
- Portion control – eat only until you feel full
- Aim for nutritious and filling foods (foods that are high in fiber, whole-grain foods, protein, etc.)
- Make your food in healthy ways such as broiling, steaming, baking, etc.
- Make healthier food choices (for example, switching from whole milk dairy products to light or non-fat versions, choose lean meats, etc.)
- Reduce intake of sugary foods and less processed foods.
- Aim for a diet rich in fruit and vegetables and nuts
- Reduce alcohol intake
- Avoid eating before bed
- Don’t skip meals
- Eat more frequently
- Rest when you can.
Are Low Carb Diets Safe While Breastfeeding?
Low carb diets such as Atkins or Paleo method are compatible with breastfeeding as long as you consume a variety of fruits, vegetables, and proteins to ensure sufficient nutrition. Eliminating unhealthy carbs can be very helpful for many moms because they generally cause us to feel hungrier and eat more.
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Remember that if you stick to healthy eating, regular exercise, and patience, you will see the weight disappear. Have in mind that it is healthier to gradually lose weight. Your body has done a fantastic thing, it built a home for your little one for nine months, so it has been through a lot! Just give it time to recover and don’t be surprised if that takes a while.