How to lose weight while breastfeeding?
Understandably, women gain weight after childbirth. I am a woman too, and I know how important it is to lose this weight, but without affecting breastfeeding. You might wonder, do I need to avoid some foods for breastfeeding? Or do I need a special diet for my baby? Would losing weight affect my lactation? What if I stop producing enough nutrients in my breast milk due to dieting?
The good news is; your milk or its nutrients wouldn’t be affected if you lose weight safely. The best option for you is to live healthily and go on a healthy, low-carb diet.
Are low carb diets safe while breastfeeding?
Low carbohydrate diets are compatible with breastfeeding as long as you consume a variety of fruits, vegetables, and proteins to ensure sufficient nutrition.
Low-carb diets (without the consumption of fruits and vegetables) can cause mom’s body to release ketones that could pose risks for a baby. Ketones are chemicals made when the body does not have enough insulin in the bloodstream. Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas that allows your body to use sugar (glucose) from carbohydrates in the food that you eat for energy or to store glucose for future use. This is why fruits and vegetables are so important when planning a low-carb diet while breastfeeding. So, to be safe choose a more moderate low-carb diet, with at least 50 grams of carbs per day.
Low-carb diets include Atkins or Paleo methods. It is recommended to avoid eating unhealthy carbs like pasta, bread, sugary snacks, junk food, such as pizza, burgers, etc. The reason you should avoid eating carbs is that generally they cause us to feel hungrier and eat more, which means that reducing or eliminating carbs can decrease our appetite. Make sure to get a sufficient (at least 1800) calories a day to fuel your body during breastfeeding.
How to start?
First, give yourself some time to ease back into weight loss. You should avoid starting a crash diet, especially now while breastfeeding. Losing baby weight slowly and steady is an essential condition if you want to lose weight safely and avoid being stressed.
Foods to Eat
You should base your diet around these healthy foods.
- Meats, fatty fish and seafood
- Eggs – Eggs are excellent for your nutrient requirements. Besides, they are great for almost any meal. Most preparations with eggs take less than 5 minutes and will leave you protein-filled. It covers enough nutrients for postpartum recovery and lactation.
- Low-carb fruits and vegetables – Eat plenty of vegetables and one serving of fruit such as strawberries, blueberries or grapefruit daily.
It might be difficult getting and preserving fresh fruits and vegetables, so frozen will do the job. Just throw them in the microwave or blend into a smoothie.
- Full-fat dairy
- Plain Greek Yogurt – Plain Greek yogurt is another staple packed with protein and many nutrients. You can add fruits and nuts even to increase the nutrient content. Try out the plain whole milk yogurt for healthier fats.
- Nuts and seeds – Nuts contain healthy fats and protein. They are versatile for both meals and snacks; anyhow you like it. They also help with the mental and overall body development of your baby. They improve your metabolism and lactation.
- Healthy fats (such as olive oil, coconut oil, and avocado oil).
- Hummus – With fiber, healthy fats, and a lot of protein, hummus has an elemental composition of your daily nutrient requirements. It comprises olive oil, chickpeas, and tahini, which are quite delicious with any meal of your choice. You can smear it on crackers or bread too.
- Oatmeal – Oatmeal contains a small percentage of crabs and high composition of protein and fiber. More importantly, it quickly fills you up and makes you eat even less. They also contribute to milk production in nursing mothers.
- Whole grain bread – Wholegrain-based bread is great to be eaten alone or with a favorite topping. You can eat it fresh or freeze it to preserve it. Defrost whenever you want your staple food for lunch, breakfast, or dinner.
- Sweet potatoes – Sweet potatoes are filled with several nutrients. It also has vitamin A, which is passed through breast milk to your little one for development and eyesight. It is easy to prepare and has one of the highest shelf life, amongst other vegetables.
- Apples – Apples have a long shelf life amongst other fruits, just like sweet potatoes. They are made up of nutrients and complex carbs that keep your energy levels high. When mixed with nut butter and other foods, they produce a nice blend of proteins and fats.
- Beans – Beans have a high fiber content that improves the digestive system, essential for c-section or vaginal birth. They are excellent sources of protein and promote lactation.
Foods to Avoid While Breastfeeding
There are a few foods that you should avoid while breastfeeding that can affect milk taste and increase the chances of baby colic.
- Parsley, Peppermint and Sage
- “Gassy” Foods
- Medicines that aren’t allowed while breastfeeding
Foods to Increase Milk Supply
- Fenugreek seed
- Goat’s rue
Best Supplements to Increase Breast Milk Supply
- Fenugreek – It has been found that fenugreek can increase a nursing mother’s milk supply within 24 to 72 hours after first taking the herb. Once an adequate level of milk production is reached, most women can discontinue the fenugreek and maintain the milk supply with adequate breast stimulation. Check out the Pink Stork Lactation Tea that improves breast milk supply with fenugreek.
- Fennel – It is a well-known herbal galactagogue (a substance that helps in increasing breastmilk supply) and has been used to increase the supply of milk in nursing women for centuries.
- Plam Dates – In the Middle East, natural products such as fenugreek and palm dates often replace artificial drugs as they have one of the most widespread anecdotal benefits of increasing milk supply.
- Coleus Amboinicus – The benefit of this plant is that it increases milk production and restores the uterus after delivery.
As long as you base your meals around a fatty protein source with vegetables or nuts and some healthy fats, you will lose weight. It’s that simple. Make sure to consume foods that can increase your milk supply while losing weight.
And have fun! This is a very special time you will never forget.