Weight Loss While Breastfeeding
Desperate to get rid of their excess pregnancy pounds, many new moms may wonder about the correlation between breastfeeding and weight loss. Does breastfeeding help you lose weight? How should you delegate your calories? We've broken down the answers to these pressing questions and more.
Your Breastfeeding Diet
Many breastfeeding moms are pleasantly surprised by how quickly the baby weight comes off during the first few months of breastfeeding. That's because the energy demands of producing milk can burn up to 500 calories a day. Of course, this depends on factors like how often you nurse and the size of your baby. There’s never been a better reason to help yourself to a bigger portion–preferably of nutrient-rich foods that help with Baby's growth and development.
It’s also important to remember that nursing won't make up for unhealthy eating habits. Bottom line, if you eat more calories than you burn–whether you're nursing or not–you won't lose weight. It's also never a good idea to cut calories too much while breastfeeding, since you need enough energy to produce the milk and care for your baby (while getting very little sleep, no doubt.) Aim for about 1,800 to 2,000 calories per day, and round out your plate with whole grains, fruits and veggies, and lean protein.
Trouble with Weight Loss While Breastfeeding
Nursing isn't always a silver bullet for you to drop all your baby weight instantly. In fact, your body may be holding on to those last stubborn pounds as a way to preserve energy (it's nature's way of ensuring your baby doesn't get malnourished). Just like you shouldn’t cut back on calories, don’t start exercising intensely without getting the go-ahead from your doctor. Assuming that you're eating sensibly and getting regular exercise, you'll probably drop the rest of the weight once you stop nursing.