How to Lose Weight While Breastfeeding

You can lose weight while breastfeeding. However, the question is how to lose weight while breastfeeding? You need to ensure that you do not compromise on a balanced diet, as this could reduce your milk supply. Breastfeeding already consumes many of the additional calories and you need to ensure that you have a healthy caloric intake. Besides, there are other precautions that you should take while trying to lose weight when breastfeeding and additional tips to facilitate weight loss when breastfeeding.

When to Lose Weight While Breastfeeding?

In essence, breastfeeding actually makes the weight loss process much easier, as the energy fat stored in the body is used in milk production. Losing weight while breastfeeding is possible, but it requires great caution. Since most experts recommend breastfeeding for at least several months after delivery, it is probably important to wait for dramatic weight loss until after you stop breastfeeding. 

It is a slow process and you may want to plan for a 10-month process if you wish to get your pre-pregnancy body back. The healthiest way to lose weight is through a gradual process and you need to start by eating healthy foods with a low fat content. Choose to eat whole foods and eat slow so that you can tell when full. Exercise is also important and drink plenty of water. Overweight women will need to take their weight loss a notch higher and we recommend visiting a nutritionist or dietician.

How to Lose Weight While Breastfeeding

1. Wait Till Your Baby Is Two Months Old

Give yourself at least two months after giving birth before you can start the weight loss process. Remember that your body will need time to establish enough milk supply and also recuperate from childbirth.

2. Eat at Least 1500-1800 Calories

Do not consume anything less than 1500-1800 calories a day. Studies show that having a lower caloric intake could be risky for your health and some mothers may require a higher caloric intake than this.

3. Decrease Your Calorie Intake Gradually

Your calorie intake should not be reduced drastically, as this could also lead to a drop in your milk supply. This is because the body goes into a starvation mode consequently cutting the essential resources to support milk production. Low-carb diets, liquid diets and weight loss medication are not recommended for nursing mothers.

4. Lose No More than 1.5 Pounds Every Week

Keep your weight loss normal and do not lose more than 1.5 pounds a week. However, there is a study that supported losing 2.2 pounds which is the equivalent of a 1kg per week. In the study, the mothers underwent an 11 day diet, which is not recommended by us.

5. Drink a Lot of Water

Water is essential in the metabolic process and it is recommended that you drink at least eight ounces of water after breastfeeding. Avoid caffeinated drinks and it’s important to note that caffeine is not only present in tea and coffee. Soft drinks, energy drinks, chocolate and various types of foods also contain caffeine. Breast milk is made up of 50% water.

6. Begin with Exercises

Before you can start dieting, take up light exercises. Focus on aerobics and cardio workouts. You can begin by taking 30 minute workout sessions three to five times a week. Brisk walks can also help and you can use this time to take your child out for some fresh air. Do not overwork yourself. Click here to learn all about post pregnancy workout to lose weight. 

Watch this video to get further help on how to lose weight while breastfeeding after birth (exercises recommended):

A Healthy Diet for Losing Weight While Breastfeeding

Although dieting is not recommended for nursing mothers, there are a few ways in which you can diet and stay healthy.

1. Eat Smaller Meals

Opt for smaller meals throughout the day as opposed to eating three large meals a day. This will help revive your metabolism throughout the day and you will consequently burn more calories and fat.

2. Have Various Nutritious Foods

Do not accustom your body to the same meals. Mix up your diet with various types of foods and ensure that you accommodate all food groups into your diet. Limit your consumption of the same foods.

Healthy Foods

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Iron and Vitamin C Foods

Great sources of iron include whole grains, dark green leafy vegetables, peas, dried beans and dried fruits as well. Good Vitamin C sources include: citrus, tomatoes, strawberries and sweet bell peppers.

Carbohydrates and Protein

Include a healthy balance of carbohydrates and proteinintoyour meals. These foods make you fuller for longer and are also highly nutritious.

Fish

Fish is a great source of omega 3 fatty acids which helps in the development of the brain and eyes. The recommended fish intake for nursing mothers and pregnant women per week is 12 0z. Shrimp, crab, catfish and tilapia, lake trout and salmon are all great sources of omega 3.

Healthy Fats

Not all fats are bad. The fats you need to avoid are trans-fats and saturated fats. These fats are not only unhealthy; they also alter the quality of your breast milk. Instead, go for mono-saturated and polyunsaturated fats.

Whole Foods

Fruits and vegetables are essential and you need to ensure that you consume fiber-rich foods. Fresh foods contain a lot of fiber also have high amounts of minerals and vitamins.

3. Don’t Forget the Vitamins

Vitamins are essential for good health and you can ask your physician to recommend prenatal vitamins. Although breast milk is a great source of vitamins for babies, mothers do not get enough of this nutrient. Nursing mothers are recommended to consume 200 IU of Vitamin D supplements daily. During pregnancy, you may need a higher intake of 10,000 UI every week. Vitamins also help the body consume calcium and they are essential in reducing the risk of developing high blood pressure, diabetes and osteoporosis.

4. Avoid Those Foods

Foods you may need to avoid include: spicy foods such as pepper, chilly and curry, as they could upset the child’s stomach. Caffeinated drinks could disturb the child’s sleeping patterns and bring about irritability and nervousness. Dairy products contribute to colic in some babies. Also avoid vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage, as they may make the baby gassy. Alcohol, fish containing mercury, chocolate, saturated fats, trans-fats and peanuts also should be avoided or taken minimally.

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