If you want to lose weight while breastfeeding without losing your milk supply you’re in the right place.
Tell me a mom who does not want to get her body back after she gave birth. Thought so. No mom is crazy about her postpartum body.
To give you an idea of how I looked 2 days after my delivery my husband asked this (stupid) question: ‘why do you still have a belly if you gave birth already?’ REALLY?
I get it. You want to lose the extra weight you gained during your pregnancy, but still be able to provide enough and quality milk for your baby.
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Your breast milk is her only nutrient source and she will taste whatever you eat. Breastfeeding has a ton of benefits.
First of all, it’s the best nutritious meal for your baby and it’s FREE. Second of all, it gives you therapeutic benefits. It helps you bond with your baby and reduces your chances of suffering from postpartum depression.
And third of all, yes it helps you lose weight because every time you breastfeed you burn calories (around 200-500 calories per day).
The question is how much weight can you lose while breastfeeding and how fast? That depends on the food choices you make and your body. Every woman is different so the answer varies.
Many new moms get very excited that breastfeeding will help them lose weight fast but they overlook that while breastfeeding burns many calories, it also requires an increase in your daily caloric intake.
HOW QUICKLY DO YOU LOSE WEIGHT WHILE BREASTFEEDING?
There are some factors that affect your postpartum weight loss so you better be aware of them before you set your goals:
- Gained weight during pregnancy
I know you want to get rid of your baby weight as soon as possible. All moms want that. But think about how much you gained, to begin with.
I gained 50 pounds. A lot. But I lost 20 pounds in the 3 days I stayed in the hospital (from baby weight, placenta, amniotic fluids). So you will lose some weight for sure right after delivery.
That’s just a bonus you get with it. But the amount you may lose varies, for example, some babies heavier than others.
It also depends on how much fluid retention you had during your pregnancy. So set realistic weight loss goals and don’t go too crazy.
You want to get rid of that baby weight gradually and healthy. Aim to consume 1,800 calories per day while breastfeeding to give you enough energy and still maintain your milk supply high.
A more realistic goal would be to lose 1-2 pounds per week. There’s no definitive timeline, so don’t put pressure on yourself.
HOW MANY CALORIES DO I NEED WHILE BREASTFEEDING?
Once again it all depends on your age, lifestyle and your body. I know you want to lose weight and still have enough milk supply, that’s why your caloric intake is very important.
You need to consume an additional 400-500 calories per day, which means between 2,250 – 2,900 total calories daily, depending on how active you are throughout the day.
To lose weight in a healthy way you should focus on getting enough nutrient-rich foods, like:
FRUITS AND VEGGIES
Start your day with a shake (fruits, spinach and almond milk) to benefit from a delicious and healthy breakfast.
Make veggies as your side dish for lunch and dinner. Use carrots or other raw vegetables as a healthy snack in between meals.
Lean protein can be found in chicken, fish, beans and protein powders. Remember that shake I was telling you about earlier? Add some protein powder to it to make it even healthier.
Here are some good examples:
- Hemp seeds
- Chia seeds
- Olive oil
- Coconut oil
You’re going to keep adding up to that smoothie and turn it into a massive nutritious drink. You can add hemp seeds or chia seeds in it to give you the healthy fats you need.
For your salads, you can use olives and olive oil as dressing. To go on with your healthy habits, cook your chicken or fish in coconut oil.
And because breastfeeding can make your really hungry try snacking on some nuts to keep your energy up.
*ELIMINATE EMPTY CALORIES:
- White bread
- Baked goods
- Junk food
You may also opt for multivitamins or you can keep taking your prenatal vitamin. You may want to talk to your doctor in this sense.
IS IT SAFE TO CONSUME FEWER CALORIES WHILE BREASTFEEDING?
If you’re breastfeeding and trying to lose weight at the same time, you should at least consume 1,800 calories daily.
Exercising may speed up the process, but it may take longer for moms who had C-section or had a complicated delivery.
Let’s not waste any more time and go through the best tips to help you lose weight while breastfeeding
1. LOWER YOUR CARBS
If you consume less carbs then you need to supplement with plenty of protein, fruits and veggies. But you should still eat at least 1,800 calories per day.
2. MODERATE EXERCISE (if you can)
Having a healthy diet is only half the battle. You need to supplement it with some exercise, that’s of course if you are allowed. You may wait for a while until your doctor gives you clearance to exercise.
Some women cannot exercise after they delivered because of several reasons (C-sections, restrictions, etc.). In the meantime, walking does wonders, like helping with heart, lungs and circulation.
You don’t have to go too extreme. Go for long walks with your baby, either with a stroller or carrier. Breastfeed her before so you avoid engorgement.
3. DRINK PLENTY OF WATER
This is the best thing you can do for yourself, regardless if you want to lose weight or not. It’s recommended that you drink 12 cups = 96 ounces of water per day.
It’s better if you stick to water mainly and not sugary drinks, which are packed with empty calories.
Water is good because:
- Helps with circulation
- Regulation of body temperature
- Kidney function
- Milk production
- Prevents overeating
- Provides UV protection (combines with oil on your skin)
To help you drink enough water throughout the day here’s what you can do:
- Drink 2 cups in the morning
- Drink 2 cups at lunch and another 2 at dinner
- The last 2 cups add them to a water bottle and sip on it during the day
If plain water is not appealing try an infusion bottle to give you a hint of fruit. You can even try replacing the water with seltzer water.
Whatever you choose make sure it has no added sugar because it can travel through your breast milk.
4. EAT FREQUENTLY AND DON’T SKIP MEALS
It’s very important not to skip meals while breastfeeding. Have frequent and small meals to keep your metabolism going.
If your metabolism slows down then your energy goes down and you want to as active as you can around your baby, right?
Plus, eating less will make it harder to lose weight. Always have healthy snacks on hand (fruits are ok) mainly after breastfeeding.
Plan to have 3 meals and 2 snacks daily, which can be hard because breastfeeding makes you hungry.
5. GET ENOUGH SLEEP
Easier said than done with a newborn and an exhausting breastfeeding schedule. Housework chores and other things of that sort can wait.
Sleeping will help your body recover faster:
- Regulates blood pressure
- Helps with muscle relaxation
- Improves blood supply
- Growth hormone is released
- Balances your heart rate
And did you know that lack of sleep has been linked to weight gain?! Many moms load themselves up with carbs because they are sleep deprived, hungry and overwhelmed by motherhood.
If you are nursing at night (most probably) take short naps during the day to make it up.
6. FEED ON DEMAND
Keep on breastfeeding your baby so you can keep burning calories. And don’t think you’re overfeeding her, she knows when she’s full.
You need to let your body know that even though it’s losing fat it still needs to produce milk, so it’s important to breastfeed frequently.
7. THE MOST IMPORTANT TIP
Be patient and don’t stress yourself. Those skinny jeans may be waiting for you but your body needs enough time to recover itself so be reasonable with your expectations.
Slow and steady steps will eventually help you lose the baby weight!
WHEN TO SEEK PROFESSIONAL HELP
If losing weight postpartum becomes your concern you should talk to a specialist. They can guide you and provide you with healthy options based on your diet and lifestyle.
For example, it may be safe to lower your calorie intake when your baby starts eating solids.
Depending on your emotional load, they may further advise you a counselor, therapist or nutritionist to help you with your postpartum weight loss.
WHAT TO REMEMBER
It took 9 months to gain the extra weight during your pregnancy, so don’t have high expectations, but rather realistic goals.
It may take months or years, but it all depends on how consistent you are on this journey of getting back your prepregnancy body.
It all has to revolve around maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle no matter what you do. Lastly, your milk supply should be your top priority, so be cautious and don’t go on crazy diets.
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