How To Lose Weight While Breastfeeding?

by Olivia

Almost every mom wants to lose some weight after she gave birth to her baby. Getting rid of those baby pounds can be a bit of a challenge, but it's certainly possible through a combination of a healthy and balanced diet, regular physical activity, and time. What is the best way to get back in shape, and lose the baby belly, in a responsible way?

Can you safely lose weight while breastfeeding?

It is not only safe to lose weight while you are nursing, breastfeeding actually helps new mothers to burn calories! On average, breastfeeding moms burn 200 to 500 additional calories.

Weight loss after pregnancy starts naturally and gradually. Those who maintain the same healthy diet they ate while they were expecting will certainly make a slow return to their pre-pregnancy weight without doing anything new. Breastfeeding on demand, whenever your baby fusses, and breastfeeding exclusively for the first six months encourages weight loss more effectively than keeping a schedule (which is a bad idea for the baby too) or introducing formula or solids before the first half year is up.

How about actively dieting?

As always, the quality of the calories you consume plays at least as big a role in successful weight loss as the quantity. Breastfeeding mothers have the edge when it comes to losing that postpartum fat, because feeding your baby offers a powerful motivation to eat as healthily as possible. Moms who would like to start a weight loss diet should weight until their baby is around eight weeks old, so that they are sure their milk supply has been properly established.

Diets that involve skipping whole food groups, or that allow only starvation rations will always put the dieting person's health at risk, and the dangers are more imminent when that person is also breastfeeding. Eating less than 1500 calories may cause you to lose your milk, but to stay healthy most mothers will need more calories on a daily basis. Decreasing the amount of food you eat slowly is much better for your breast milk supply than making radical changes in your diet overnight.

With those "rules" out of the way, it's safe to lose around 1.6 pounds per week without endangering your health or breast milk. If you are not certain how to diet responsibly or how many calories you require, consult your family doctor or a nutritionist for more information on how to tailor a weight loss diet to your specific needs.

If there is any chance that you could conceive again, it's not advisable to go on an active weight loss diet. Being pregnant while breastfeeding can put a heavy strain on your body, and if you are dieting too, something has to be sacrificed. Your body will prioritize a fetus and your milk supply, so your own health will be the first thing that will suffer.

Exercising for postpartum weight loss

When moms of young babies talk about losing weight, what they usually mean is that they are desperate for that flabby belly to go away. Losing weight in only the spots you want is impossible through diet. If you are hoping to have toned abdominal muscles again, you will obviously need to throw some exercise in too. The question is, what work out routines are breastfeeding-friendly?

There is no shortage of mom-and-baby "exercise" classes, but they nearly always focus on bonding, or making sure the baby gets some physical exercise. The exercises that are most suitable for moms who will constantly be interrupted by a baby who wants to nurse are the work outs she does by herself, or with a friend. Jogging in the park with your baby in a stroller or good baby carrier, following pilates videos at home, or doing military-style resistance exercises alone or with a partner will help you see results most quickly. Abdominal exercises will do wonders for your tummy, but don't work your abs until at least six weeks postpartum. If your abdominal muscles haven't closed again when you start exercising, a permanent separation can occur.

When can you expect results?

Breastfeeding mothers who eat the right amount of the right foods, and who work out regularly, will quickly start seeing results. How quickly will you reach your ideal weight, and when will you have your toned belly back again? This depends on many factors, including how heavy you were when you conceived, and what kind of work out you do. Some people say that that it takes as long as pregnancy itself to have your "old" body back. Of course, no woman who has given birth will ever look the same as she did before she got pregnant. But a combination or eating well and exercising several times a week will definitely produce visible results more quickly. Many women are so motivated that they end up looking more fabulous than they've ever done before!

About Author:

Olivia breastfed her two kids for two years each. She writes about fertility, pregnancy, and parenting ( including Trying To Conceive).

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