Losing weight while breastfeeding

On September 18, 2011, in Tips & Techniques, by Nancy

It is clinically established that breastfeeding Mums shed more weight than Mums that do not nurse. For me that seems like a great reason to feed your baby!  I was back into my jeans with three of my babies within six weeks of giving birth and had lost all my baby weight within four months with just sensible eating and never counting calories!  However with my son I put on far more weight in pregnancy and then I had to look harder at my diet and count calories to regain my weight. The recommendations below will assist you in losing your baby weight safely while nursing your child.

Nursing exclusively

When a Mum feeds her baby exclusively the minimum extra calories her body will need is 250 calories a day and when your baby is going through a growth spurt then it maybe up to an extra 1000 calories daily. Generally the average is around 500 extra calories a day!  For this reason it is recommended that a nursing Mum never drops below 1800 calories daily but can eat up to 2300 calories daily.  Calorie intake in your breastfeeding diet is crucial to the the breast milk quality and for your own health.

Eating healthy and balanced foods in your diet to lose pregnancy pounds

Learn how to lose your pregnancy weight while breastfeeding the safe way with the most suitable diet and exercises routines targeted for nursing mothersIt is vital to have a well balanced diet when you breastfeed your child.  A healthy and balanced diet plan for Mum normally results in weight loss as well! A nursing mum who eats plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grain products, eggs and  fatty foods like milk products (cheese, yogurt) will give both Mum and baby a healthy diet.

Healthy and balanced fats such as those obtained in avocados, nuts and olive oil are all good for Mum but also saturated or unhealthy fats such as butter, milk and dairy products generally do not increase weight gain providing they are part of a healthy diet. These fats develop the newborns brain and so its possible to enjoy these foods without worrying too much!!

For me I enjoyed the odd treat as long as the rest of my diet was generally good.  I loved breast feeding my babies and I did not want to feel too deprived I felt it was a balance…I knew I was doing the very best thing anyway by breastfeeding my baby anyway so was the odd unhealthy treat really going to hurt?!

Some exercises routines suitable for nursing mothers

Yoga exercises

Yoga is useful for moms either while or after being pregnant. The postures completed in yoga courses help in improving flexibility, endurance, enable muscle strengthening and help weight loss.  Yoga positions reinforce the core, the muscles in the back and abdomen great for regaining your figure! Find a class where there is a creche for your baby or rent a yoga DVD invite a couple of friends around and do it together.  Several yoga centers or gymnasiums provide yoga courses intended for new mothers.

Baby stroller fitness

A simple and efficient way to workout with your baby and to lose pregnancy weight is by taking him for a walk in his stroller. Invest in a jogging baby stroller to get a more intensive training. The majority of jogging baby strollers have big wheels with a front wheel that can be locked to provide your child an easy ride. Walking or jogging up hills will strengthen your lower and upper body. So its great for baby and Mum getting both out in the fresh air perhaps arrange to meet another Mums andtheir  babies so its sociable too!

Fitness sessions

The majority of fitness centers or community centres provide a range of fitness courses. Many might even have courses aimed for postpartum mothers. Fitness sessions usually provide aerobic training to melt away the weight gained in pregnancy and to strengthen muscles. Try a variety of courses to discover the one that fits your needs.

Strength workouts

Strength training is essential to new mothers as muscle mass is lost while being pregnant. Target your abs as those are weakened during pregnancy. Toning up these central muscle groups improves your posture as well as helps in carrying the baby and all his equipment. Do workouts that focus on all of the main muscle groups, such as squats, bicep curls and tricep dips as well as ab crunches, push-ups and lunges. Begin with basic workouts with light weights. Then increase the weight and add repetitions as your fitness improves.

Tips

Breastfeed prior to working out to reduce breast discomfort. It is advisable to wear a comfy sports bra to exercise, particularly with high-impact workouts for instance jogging and dancing.  Drink lots of water during and after your training session to ensure you stay hydrated.

Don’t overdo it!

Listen to your body and if you are not producing enough milk reduce the amount of exercise you do!  It is recommended that 3-4 times weekly will improve your fitness and body tone without over doing it!

Also an exercise session will burn more calories and you are probably already burning an extra 500 calories a day! If you overexercise it may result in poor quality breast milk or your health suffering.

Avoid diet pills for quick fat loss when nursing

The advice is that you should never take any weight loss pills when you breastfeed.  This is because there  has been no research to demonstrate it is safe to do so; so why take the risk? Additionally it is not advised to use any fad diets  in particular those that tell you to remove some particular food groups while nursing. Again synthetic sugar substitutes are not recommended in your breastfeeding diet as again there is no research that confirms it is safe to do so!

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  • amy

    I like …

    • Amy

      I’m breast feeding too, my baby now is 11 months, I lost only 7 kg from my pregnancy weight ,
      after the delivery in 2 months … i became 60kg until now I did not gain or lost… I eat normal and from every thing, now I’m trying to lose weight cause I must do it for my health, as my doctor said, i would follow a good diet plan but still hope to lose some pounds… thank you for the information.. big thanks

      • di

        Are you still breastfeeding? A well balanced diet is always the best option but 60 kilos does not seem overweight? Do you feel you need to lose more weight?

  • Vampielle

    why the sugar sustitutes are a no-no, in your breastfeeding diet?

    • diane

      Thanks for your comment. Reading the article it maybe that we have given the wrong impression. We meant synthetic sugar substitutes so we will update the article in the next few days. This was based on research from Carlson, Eisenstat and Ziporyn co authors of The New Harvard Guide to Women’s Health which says that even though scientists generally believe that the consumption of saccharin is safe for human consumption, the effects on children is unknown and therefore should be avoided by children as well as pregnant and breastfeeding women. Better safe than sorry is our approach!

      As there are so many alternatives that could be used such as honey, molasses and agave nectar we believe it is better to opt for the natural options rather than saccharin.

      I hope this helps