The age old question is ‘does breastfeeding help lose pregnancy weight’? From what I have read and can gather, breastfeeding may help you lose weight post-pregnancy, but the amount of weight you’ll lose varies for everyone, so it’s not a definitive yes! Breastfeeding typically burns 500 to 700 calories per day. To lose weight safely while breastfeeding, it’s important to follow your doctor’s recommendations and I’ve waited to be signed off before starting anything strenuous.
A number of factors will affect how quickly you lose the weight you gained during pregnancy, including:
• your metabolism
• your diet
• how often you exercise
• how much weight you gained during pregnancy
Depending on how much weight you gained during pregnancy, it may take six months plus to lose the weight you gained. Some women never lose all of it either. It’s also worth noting that your body will never look the same as before due to skeletal changes that happen during pregnancy. I lost around 1 and a half stone shortly following delivery (within the first two weeks). This quick weight loss is from the baby, placenta, and amniotic fluid. Fundamentally to lose weight you need to take in fewer calories than you burn off. But its advised to lose weight gradually and consume approximately 1,800 calories each day while breastfeeding. This will keep the milk supply high and give you enough energy to get through the day!
Once you’ve identified the total amount of calories you should be eating daily, it’s worthwhile trying to include nutrient-rich foods. These include:
• whole grains
• lean protein
Ive always used the theory whilst trying to lose weight, avoid empty-calorie foods like:
• white bread
• baked goods
• other junk or fast food
But I do realise you can’t stay away from these items all the time! Everyone needs to spoil themselves sometimes! I’m currently also taking a multivitamin specifically for breastfeeding, following guidance from my midwife and health visitor.
You can also include exercise once you’re cleared by your doctor. For most women, this is usually around six weeks after delivery, though it may be longer if you had a cesarean delivery, or complications during or after delivery. I try to focus on postpartum-safe workouts like yoga and going on walks with Jonas. Staying hydrated is a must when breastfeeding but also helps with weight loss for me too. Drinking water and clear fluids will help your body flush out any water weight, too. And avoid sugary beverages if you’re trying to lose weight, as these are loaded with empty calories.
It’s important not to skip meals, while breastfeeding, even if you’re trying to lose weight. Skipping meals can slow down your metabolism and cause your energy to drop, which can make it more difficult to be active and care for your baby. Plus, eating too few calories per day may cause your weight loss to plateau or stop. If you don’t have a lot of time to eat, try to eat smaller snacks throughout the day. A good goal is to have a healthy snack, such as a piece of fruit, after feeding your baby to replenish calories lost. In addition, eating frequently can also help support your weight loss goals. More frequent meals can help you have more energy throughout the day. I aim for three meals and two snacks per day.
Lastly, it can be difficult to find time to rest when you have a new baby. But try to get as much sleep as you can. It can help your body recover faster and you may lose weight faster. Sleep is important for you and your baby (all that growing).
Much love Rebecca