Losing Weight While Breastfeeding

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Having a baby is seriously intense. Your body completely changes, your life kind of turns upside down and on top of that you just want to lose some damn weight after feeling like a house for so long ?

When I had my first baby, so many people told me that breastfeeding was magical because the baby weight would “melt off.”

Well…. 6 months came and went but the baby weight sure as hell didn’t. Something that helped me lose weight quickly after subsequent births was finding this protein powder. I use it as a whole meal for breakfast or as a snack in the afternoon and it helps to keep me feeling full so I don’t just constantly eat all day. It’s the tastiest protein powder I’ve ever tried and made specifically for breastfeeding moms- you can check it out here.

Here’s something we all need to understand though-

You GREW a HUMAN for NINE MONTHS. Give yourself a grace period of NINE MONTHS. Please! It’s better for your mental health. 

I’m not saying you shouldn’t care or try to be healthy before nine months is up- I’m saying, 9 months is a long time to grow a baby and you need that time to get back to ‘normal.’ Grace is what you need momma. 

How Many Calories Does Breastfeeding Burn?

Breastfeeding your baby and producing milk burns calories. The actual amount depends on your baby’s age, how often you’re breastfeeding and how much milk your body is producing.

On average, breastfeeding can burn up to 500 calories.

Source

How Much Weight Can You Lose While Breastfeeding?

You can lose around a pound every 1-2 weeks if you are taking in the recommended calories and breastfeeding exclusively. 

I don’t think this worked for me because I was NOT counting calories or exercising for the first 6 months after my first baby was born- I was just expecting that breastfeeding in itself would make me lose weight.

If you want to lose weight while breastfeeding safely, you need to figure out how many calories you need for your BMI and make sure you are not losing weight too quickly. 

Most moms can safely lose 1.5lbs a week without affecting milk supply. Slow and steady wins the race!

Again, your weight gain happened gradually and you need to lose it gradually, not all at once!

What Is A Good Breastfeeding Diet To Lose Weight?

A good diet- isn’t a ‘diet’ at all. What you eat should be a lifestyle and you should never feel boxed in by your ‘diet.’

As long as you’re consuming mostly healthy and whole foods (not processed) you can have some junk here and there and you won’t die. 

The reason I started to eat plant based foods was strictly for my health- I wanted to feel good and lose weight, which I did!

This is the guide I try to follow as much as I can. I still treat myself to some plant based junk food when I feel like it. There is a plant based version of pretty much any meat/dairy products now so I’ve never once felt deprived and there seems to be more and more everyday!

When I started eating this way and took up running- that’s when the weight melted off. I literally remember running ‘out’ of my clothes- they started to fall off as I lost weight!

RELATED: How To Start Running (as a new mom)

Best Foods To Boost Milk Supply (+6 to avoid)

These foods can help you produce more breast milk and some also encourage weight loss:

  • Oatmeal
  • Spinach 
  • Brewer’s Yeast
  • Garlic 
  • Fenugreek
  • Apricots
  • Sesame Seeds

Foods To Avoid While Breastfeeding

  • Alcohol– it’s best to generally avoid it but according to the CDC “up to one drink per day” is totally fine.
  • Excess caffeineMedela has an article that states a small amount of caffeine per day is totally fine, just don’t over do it!
  • Fish– eating fish in moderation is okay but you want to be careful of how much and what kind. Mercury found in fish passes through breast milk to your baby so be aware of that.
  • Peppermint, parsley and sage– for some reason, these herbs can decrease your milk supply. You don’t need to avoid them completely but be mind of dishes that have large amounts or drinking a lot of peppermint tea.

RELATED: Yummy Lactation Boosting Recipes

Will I Lose Weight After I Stop Breastfeeding?

Some women do and some women don’t. The reason why you might not lose weight after breastfeeding is because you are used to consuming extra calories to fuel milk production.

If you stop breastfeeding but keep consuming those extra calories, you might end up gaining a bit of weight.

The reason you might lose weight is because your body isn’t retaining as much water and your breasts shrink down!

What’s The Fastest Way To Lose Weight While Breastfeeding?

1. Eat a balanced diet with whole foods

It’s tempting to try to find something that promises to make you drop weight quickly. Unfortunately- that’s just not healthy for anyone, but especially for breastfeeding moms.

By eating a balanced diet with whole foods, you are nourishing your body and you will lose weight. Be patient and remind yourself how fortunate you are that you are ABLE to access and eat fresh and healthy foods!

2. Drink lots of water

It almost seems counterintuitive to guzzle water but this truly helps you lose weight. It’s especially helpful if you try to drink a glass of water before eating- hunger pangs and thirst pangs are identical.

Try drinking water to see if you’re actually just thirsty!

3. Eat smaller meals throughout the day with protein rich snacks

I mentioned this protein powder earlier- it truly is amazing and it was made FOR breastfeeding moms! I either drink it as breakfast (plain shaken with water or blended up with ice, a small bit of spinach, almond milk and a banana) or as a snack at some point in the day. It helps to kill sugar cravings, has milk boosting ingredients and keeps you feeling full!

Eating a small handful of nuts, a bit of hummus and veggies, a piece of whole wheat toast with some peanut butter- all great snacks to give you clean energy and keep you feeling full!

4. Exercise safely

Start slowly if you haven’t exercised before. Build up a good fitness base before going too hard! I love to run and that’s pretty much free- you just need running shoes and the courage to get out the door.

When it’s winter and too cold to run I use the BeachBody on Demand app. You can sign up for a free trial here.

At first I was embarrassed about it- now? I LOVE it and tell everyone about it simply because you can do everything from home with minimal equipment.

They have something for everyone:

  • 21 Day Fix- get fit in 21 days!
  • Morning Meltdown- commit to 100 days of workouts (only 30 minutes or less a day)
  • Insanity- cardio based total body conditioning (only body weight required)
  • Liift 4- get into shape with weight lifting and HIIT workouts in just 4 days/week
  • Core de Force- MMA style workouts to have feeling strong and empowered

Start with the free 2 week trial to find something you like.

The important thing is that you find something you love! Don’t force yourself to lift weights if it makes you want to die of boredom- do something that brings you joy.

(On the other side of that- sometimes it takes time for something to bring you joy as you learn a new skill. If you’ve never run or lifted weights before, it might suck at first until you get good at it.)

5. Don’t be hard on yourself

When you are stressing out and being hard on yourself- it will be harder to lose weight. Push yourself with realistic goals but don’t stress every day if you’re not seeing drastic results- the results are there but they take time to be noticed.

6. Don’t weigh yourself every day

Weigh yourself once a week or once every two weeks. Even once a month! Weighing yourself every day is pointless- our weight fluctuates day to day- sometimes by 1-3 POUNDS! So weighing yourself every day is not an accurate representation of how you’re doing.

RELATED: How To Exercise At Home (when you have small kids)

Every Mom’s Weight Loss Journey Is Different

They say comparison is the thief of joy. And it’s so so true.

Don’t look at pictures of other moms who ‘bounced back’ right away. Don’t compare yourself to celebrities who went down to their pre pregnancy size 2 hours after giving birth.

Seriously, I’m giving you permission to mute notifications or unfollow any social media accounts that make you feel like garbage.

The only person you need to worry about is yourself. You can DO THIS!

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BREASTFEEDING DIET FOR NEW MOMS