One of the benefits of breastfeeding is weight loss after pregnancy! Isn’t it great already? The strong urge to revive back to your original weight might get to your nerves, but you need to hold up! That’s because being patient is important at this stage & these things take time. On average, it usually takes around 6 to 9 months for a mother to shed the weight that was gained during pregnancy.
During the breastfeeding process, a mother’s body burns an additional 300 - 500 calories per day. Even if you’re making up for the lost calories by following a healthy diet, you still lose weight. That’s only because your body utilizes both fat cells & healthy calories when you feed your baby.
In case you wish to augment your weight loss process safely & in a healthy manner, you must read along. In this blog, we’ll explain how breastfeeding contributes to postpartum weight loss and will propose a diet plan for you thereafter. The main objective is to help you lose weight by not cutting calories way too much. Instead, by making up for them with the nutrients you & your baby need.
Besides, if you’re willing to foster your postpartum period, get yourself & your baby, post-natal & baby massages respectively! For sure, it would be the perfect time to bond with your little one.
Table of Contents
Weight Loss During Breastfeeding: Is It Safe?
During breastfeeding, you burn on average 500 calories per day. So, that’s the part of the process in itself which makes it completely natural & safe. Secondly, after childbirth, you tend to lose 1 - 2 pounds weekly on average for 6 months. Whereas, soon after giving birth, you lose about 6.8 to 7 kilograms (14-15 pounds approximately).
Another important aspect is the diet. Your diet plays a crucial role if you’re trying to lose weight. Making healthy choices by consuming fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, fiber-rich food items will give you faster results.
In comparison to the mothers who formula-feed their child, a breastfeeding mother is likely to shed pregnancy weight 5 to 6 months earlier than the one who formula-feed. Furthermore, if you wish to follow a diet, consult your doctor as well regarding the daily calories intake. Besides, you can also opt for moderate-level exercises. In short, breastfeeding will help you shed weight but it takes time & the time duration will vary for every mother.
When Can You Expect To Lose Weight after Pregnancy?
Mothers can expect to lose weight by 6 to 12 months after pregnancy. Depending on your weight and the choices you make for yourself, the time may differ for different reasons. As per The Centres for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), a healthy weight gain during pregnancy is between 25 - 35 pounds. However, half of the pregnant women usually cross this weight range during pregnancy.
Based on your weight gained, metabolism, what you eat, what you drink, & how much you exercise, you lose the weight you gained. Yet, you will surely shed 13 pounds right after giving birth to your child. But if you’re planning to lose weight through diet & regular exercise, you will be shedding around 1 to 1.5 pounds weekly. The rest depends upon breastfeeding and whether you’re drinking enough water or not.
So, no matter how much necessary it is for you to reduce weight because it surely might be, it’s important to plan things. For instance, your routine, diet, calories intake, breastfeeding schedule, and others. So, have faith in the process & you’ll be in shape again.
Healthy Diet Plan For Breastfeeding Mothers To lose Weight - What To Eat?
A healthy diet plan for a breastfeeding mother to shed weight includes two aspects. First, food items to be included in the diet of a breastfeeding mother. Secondly, food items to be avoided for healthy growth & weight loss. Both of these aspects will play an equally important role in your weight loss journey. There are a lot of things that you can do to lose weight, but if it’s complemented with the right diet, you’ll get better results in no time.
First things first, you must not drastically cut down the calories at the breastfeeding stage. It is important to maintain the calories intake without minimizing it to a level that may affect your milk production. In case, you’re thinking of crash dieting, that is the road you don’t want to drive through.
In short, you should at least aim for 1800 calories per day to lose about a pound & two weekly. But a breastfeeding mother is supposed to consume an additional 400 - 500 calories to maintain the weight. In this case, you can create a deficit by eating less & exercising more. For a beneficial & nourishing diet, include these food items to augment your process of weight loss -
Healthy proteins - Eggs, low-mercury fish & shellfish, nuts, beans, legumes, tofu
Whole grain cereals - oatmeal, brown rice
Fruits & vegetables - Green leafy vegetables, bananas, blueberries, strawberries, carrots, oranges, apples. Make a smoothie or consume raw.
Healthy fats - Almonds, walnuts, olives, avocados, olive oil, coconut oil, hemp seeds
Low-fat dairy - yogurt, cheese, milk that is plain.
What To Drink to Lose Weight While Breastfeeding?
As per the experts, you must consume 128 ounces daily not just by consuming water but also from other water-rich foods.
When you’re breastfeeding, a good way to keep a check on your weight is by at least drinking 8 - 12 cups of water alone every day. That makes it 64 to 96 ounces of water in your system. You must keep away from sugary beverages to avoid weight gain. On top of that, drinking plenty of water each day will not only enhance your overall growth but will also help your kidneys function better.
You can start by drinking 1.5 to 2 cups of water first thing in the morning. Water will help your body regulate its temperature and will assist at the time of digestion. However, as a rule of thumb, always quench your thirst and keep yourself hydrated. In short, you can aim for no-sugar fruit juices, water, or milk. By making healthy changes after assessing your diet & lifestyle, you will get you to your goal easily.
Exercise During Breastfeeding - When To Start?
If you’re wondering what’s the right time to start exercising after pregnancy, you can begin anytime when you feel you’re ready. It is always a wise decision to take a yes from your doctor, depending upon your current health. So, if you had a c-section, always contact your healthcare professional first. Whereas, if you had an uncomplicated normal delivery, just wait till you get better & start moving.
Secondly, moderate level exercises include walking, jogging, cardio & others. You can begin with them when you feel comfortable. Doing these exercises for 15 to 30 minutes daily will help you lose weight or at least stay fit! As per the Centres for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), a woman can exercise for 150 minutes weekly without any concerns. These exercises will benefit you in the long run as they will reduce the risk of heart problems, diabetes & will improve your overall weight.
6 Essential Tips For Breastfeeding Mothers To Lose Weight
If you’re wondering what more can you do for a healthy weight loss, have a look at the tips mentioned below without doing much else.
Stay hydrated - Drinking at least 8 - 10 cups of water every day will not only improve your overall health but will keep you proactive throughout the day.
Avoid Alcohol - It may be associated with weight gain (belly fat) and is harmful to your child, if not consumed moderately (1 drink a day or less). Avoid it completely or substitute it with low-sugar drinks.
Avoid highly processed food items - These food items may hamper your weight loss journey - candies, baked food, prepackaged food, chips, cookies, and others. Substitute these food items with nutrient-dense foods.
Exercise moderately - Following a moderate workout regime will help you lose weight with a nutritious diet. Doing cardio for 15 to 20 minutes will benefit your heart greatly. Whereas, weight-bearing will reinforce your muscles & bones.
Eat healthily - Include foods rich in fiber & healthy proteins in your diet. Make fresh smoothies at home with fruits & vegetables.
Track your calorie intake - Create a food diary for yourself and monitor calories daily. You can also get access to a tracking application and assess whether you’re getting enough calories or not.
1. Can you lose weight while breastfeeding?
Yes. Breastfeeding will help you shed 6 pounds per month naturally over time. To put things into perspective, your body burns an additional 400 to 500 calories per day. The process of breastfeeding releases hormones that help in shrinking the uterus & belly fat. As a result, you get a reasonable chance of losing weight. On top of that, if you’re willing to lose weight safely, you can also follow a recommended diet. It's also important to stay away from crash diets & quick-fix solutions that offer faster weight growth.
2. What should a breastfeeding mother eat to lose weight?
Following a healthy diet requires you to keep a check on your calories intake. On average, a breastfeeding mother willing to reduce weight must at least consume 1800 to 2000 calories per day. This optimal level will help you lose weight gradually keeping into consideration your growing baby’s health too. Moreover, stay away from processed food items & empty carbohydrates. By every reason for a wholesome nutritious diet, include these food items for a healthy weight loss -
Low-fat dairy food items
3. What can you drink to lose belly fat while breastfeeding?
If you’re already following a diet plan that is exclusively designed for weight loss during breastfeeding, include these drinks as well to lose belly weight.
Remember, what can plenty of water do to a breastfeeding mother? Better functioning of kidneys, nutrient transfer, effective circulation & digestion.
Carom seeds (ajwain) & water
Unsweetened fruit juices
Smoothies made out of fruits & vegetables
4. What month do you lose the most weight while breastfeeding?
Breastfeeding mothers tend to lose weight more quickly after giving birth. However, you lose most weight between 3 to 6 months. Subsequently, you will return to your pre-pregnancy weight within the 6 months to a one-year time span. Besides, if you’ve gained more than 30 to 35 pounds, it can still take up to 2 years which is absolutely fine! If breastfeeding alone isn’t making much of a difference for you, seek a recommended diet & start exercising as well.
5. How can you lose weight fast while breastfeeding?
The process of weight loss post-pregnancy occurs naturally & happens gradually. You might be thrilled to get back to your original weight but you'll have to show some patience here. Then for every reason, incorporating the below-mentioned tips in your daily life will get you to your goal.
Follow a fiber-rich diet
Include protein food items
Eliminate processed food items
Sure, you must be excited to bounce back to your original weight. As long as that's the case, it’s the right time for you to make & incorporate some healthy choices in your daily life. Besides, even if that's not the case, it's okay, because implementing these suggestions will give you long-term results as it is.
With the hope that this guide became the ultimate source of information for you concerning a healthy diet plan, take your first step towards your weight loss voyage.
As a cherry on top, If you’re a breastfeeding mother, you can definitely implement these suggestions in your diet for better results. Just make sure you do not cut your calories drastically & look after yourself simultaneously.
Related: 10 Tips For Successful Breastfeeding: Guide For New Moms