You may have heard that breastfeeding burns extra calories; but does breastfeeding make you lose weight? For many mothers, breastfeeding does help them return to their pre-pregnancy weight faster.
We hear lots about the benefits of breastfeeding for babies, but there are many benefits of breastfeeding for mom too!
However, other mothers struggle with postpartum weight loss, even in spite of a healthy diet. If you’re having trouble losing weight while breastfeeding, you’re in the right place!
Let’s look at why some moms struggle to shift the extra weight, what you should do, and how safe weight loss is for breastfeeding mothers.
How Much Weight Can I Gain During Pregnancy?
Most breastfeeding women who are trying to lose weight are merely aiming to shift the excess weight gained during pregnancy.
It’s very important to maintain a good nutrient balance during pregnancy. Typically doctors recommend that women with a healthy BMI should increase their weight by 25 to 45 pounds during pregnancy.
Women who have a higher starting BMI may no need to gain weight during pregnancy.
Does Lack of Sleep Affect Weight Loss?
Research suggests that mothers who get less than six hours of sleep had more weight issues than mothers who get 8 or more hours of sleep each night.
Sleep deprivation is tough. Getting into a good routine that promotes good sleep is beneficial for both you and your baby.
Breastfeeding moms often report poorer sleep compared to other new moms, so this might be one explanation as to why some moms gain rather than lose weight while breastfeeding.
Rest helps you focus on eating healthy and getting enough physical activity. Ensure you are getting adequate sleep, and don’t start drastically cutting calories or being too hard on yourself!
Can Breastfeeding Cause Rapid Weight Loss?
If your motivation for breastfeeding is weight loss you may be disappointed; you even may gain weight while breastfeeding! While breastfeeding does burn calories, many moms find that this makes no difference to their weight.
In fact, many women get back to their pre-pregnancy body only after stopping breastfeeding.
What Is the Best Diet Plan for Losing the Baby Weight if You Are Breastfeeding?
While there’s nothing wrong with losing weight while breastfeeding, you should aim for gradual weight loss. Losing too much weight too fast might cause issues for your supply and energy levels, as well as reducing muscle mass.
You might be keen to lose weight, but remember that your body has just grown and carried your baby for nine months, eventually giving birth to new life.
Your body will need time to recover from the pregnancy and birth, and for this, you will need calories and fat. Not only that, but you now need to be eating enough balanced meals to support a healthy milk supply.
Breastfeeding mothers should never take a diet that puts harsh limits on caloric intake. Breast milk provides infants with every essential element to develop during their initial years of life.
It’s essential to consume nutritious foods. Your food can affect the taste of breast milk while quantity is determined by breastfeeding frequency.
Can Losing Weight Reduce Your Breast Milk Supply?
The key is to ensure that you stay hydrated, get plenty of rest and consume a healthy diet of healthy foods. All of these things will help you lose weight while breastfeeding while supporting your milk supply too.
If you feel that your calorie counts are causing you to not have enough milk for your baby, it’s time to reduce the calorie deficit but never to anything like 1200 calories when nursing. Here are some other top tips to help you increase breast milk supply
Do You Recommend Exercising to Help Shed Baby Weight?
Most women commence postpartum exercise within 6-8 weeks of giving birth. C-section deliveries require a little extra sleep and wound healing prior to daily exercise.
Either way, light to moderate exercise is recommended, particularly in the first few weeks. A good brisk walk can do a lot of good, and you can take the baby with you!
Always consult your health care provider for any new exercises you are undergoing. By six weeks most mothers get the all-clear to resume their pre-pregnancy routines.
Is It Safe to Diet While Breastfeeding??
If your pregnancy weight gain has got you down, you may find that you are really keen to start losing weight. Keep in mind however that you may have some difficulty gaining weight- but you are not alone in this!
A crash diet really isn’t a good way to shift pregnancy weight gain it might take time to get back to your pre-pregnancy weight In order to protect your milk production, nursing mothers should make sure they are enjoying a healthy varied diet.
What Should a Breastfeeding Mother Eat To Lose Weight?
Focus on drinking plenty of water, avoiding junk food and obtaining a healthy number of calories from a healthy diet.
Lean protein such as chicken, eggs and whole grains will help you feel fuller longer. You should reduce calories gradually over time. Maybe cut out eating Chinese when nursing or fast food when lactating.
It may take time to get back to your pre-pregnancy size, and you will get there! Take a look at our suggestions as to the best foods to eat after giving birth.
If you are having difficulty losing weight, you might want to speak to your doctor about other factors which may be at play. It can be frustrating trying to lose the baby weight, but you will get there!
Celebrities Seem to Lose Baby Weight Quickly. What’s Wrong With Me?
It can be really tricky to lose weight while breastfeeding, and it’s not something that nursing mothers should beat themselves up about!
Breastfeeding moms are often sleep-deprived and exhausted, now is not the time to drastically change their eating habits! Remember that producing precious breast milk for babies in itself does burn calories.
Rapid weight loss is not a solution. Instead, slowly reduce your calories, ensuring to take good clinical nutrition. You will eventually lose the weight, but be sure your body gets all it needs to keep you going and sustain milk production.
Crash diets don’t work for everyone. Proper diet and good sleep are essential in maintaining your mental and physical health. A nutritious diet is better for your body and the quality of your milk, and much more likely to be sustainable too!
Breastfeeding and Weight Loss: What You Need To Know
It’s very common for new moms to want to lose weight after their baby is born, but it’s important that you have realistic expectations when it comes to how fast you lose the weight. You must always make sure that you are eating enough to meet your own needs, as well as protecting milk production. Remember that babies rely on fat to grow!
Many factors impact on post partum weight loss. A high quality, nutritious diet will mean nutritious breast milk for your baby and good health, as well as weight loss, for you. Make sure to stay well hydrated and enjoy at least 8 hours sleep per night to help you obtain your weight loss goals.
This article was written by Sandra Baker – full time writer and the mother of four amazing kids (including twins!)
She’s also a breastfeeding counselor and has spent years helping new parents learn how to care for their children. When she’s not writing or caring for her children, Sandra likes to spend time reading and taking walks with her husband.