6 Things to Know to Lose Weight While Nursing a Baby

This is a great guest post filled with lot of information!  As a first time Mom I tried to breast feed for a week.  I watched videos, asked friends, and even had a 3 lactation consultants visit me at the hospital.  After having infection and exhaustively pumping and feeding the baby I decided to bottle feed.  Hopefully I will get to try again if God lets us try again with #2.  

Losing the weight which accumulated while pregnant can be safely done even if you are breastfeeding. Never expect any short cuts or magic bullets in losing weight. You need to burn more than the expected 200 to 500 calories a day so you can lose some weight and be back to your old shape. Here are some tips that you can use on how to safely lose weight while nursing.

1. Set real goals

It is easy to be frustrated when you are not able to reach your goals. Sometimes, mothers tend to abandon their plans since they feel that losing weight is such a hassle. What they fail to realize is that they have raised the bar too high for them to reach. Instead of setting a goal that is unrealistic, try to lower the goals and eliminate the frustrations. For starters it is best to align with nutritionists and your pediatrician on how you can lose weight that will be healthy for both you and your baby. Gradually decrease calories so as not to disrupt the milk supply. Allow the loss of one to two pounds weekly for a slow and steady weight loss.

2. Know what to avoid

When losing weight it pays to know which things you need to avoid in order of keeping in step with you and your baby’s health care. Never change your diet within 60 days after giving birth. The baby needs to have a healthy supply of milk and any caloric changes may affect the productivity of the mammary glands that may impact the amount and quality of your breast milk. Again, rapid weight loss can cause the infusion of toxins into the milk. It is best not to smoke and to hold off the alcohol. Alcohol may not have a direct impact on the milk quality but it can make you fat due to the empty calories. Alcohol may find its way to the milk which makes the baby drowsy and irritable.

3. Plan your meals

It is best to have three small meals a day instead of three big ones. This will allow you to have some snacks in between without the guilt of adding the pounds. You need to align with your nutritionist on which food are the best in order to make you fitter but will not leave you feeling hungry. At the same time eat a wide variety of foods. It is best to have a healthy representation of all food groups so that your body is not getting deprived. The macronutrients that you need should be balanced and add some fish to your diet at least 12 ounces per week.

4. Drink lots of water

Dehydration is something any lactating mother should avoid. If you are breastfeeding it is important that you are getting as much water as you can. Lack of water may impact the production of milk thus depriving your baby of the much needed milk. There are times that you may feel hungry but actually you just need a drink of water. Water intake should be at least 16 cups a day to compensate for your needs and the needs of the glands to produce milk for the baby.

5. Eliminate stress

Stress is evident in post-pregnancy and it may get in the way of weight loss. Symptoms of anxiety and irritability can cause mothers to binge eat and even forget about their plan to lose weight. It is best to lower cortisone levels and increase serotonin levels through healthy eating and right exercise. Do things that can reduce stress and make sure that you are getting enough sleep.

6. Eyes on the prize

As a mother you may not be happy as the needle on the scale is not budging but it is important that to keep in mind that while there is no weight loss happening, you remain focused on keeping the body healthy through the right kind of lifestyle.  Thus, everything will be fine. Never lose weight for the sake of appearance but for health because at the end of the day this will be the only thing that matters.

Losing weight should be done slowly through healthy eating and having the right amount of exercise. Breastfeeding actually can help mothers lose weight since the milk producing process entails the burning of calories. Losing weight is not as difficult as it sounds but it takes the right goals and the right reasons to do so.

By Ryan Rivera