You may be feeling the pressure to lose your baby weight as quickly as possible. One of the benefits of breastfeeding is that it can help you to lose weight. Breastfeeding and weight loss is all over the news, as celebrities ping back to their size zero the day after given birth. Bear in mind that your pregnancy weight was gained over 9 months, with extra fat reserves to prepare your body for calorie zapping breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding and Weight Loss – What’s Recommended?
We strongly advise that you do not actively try to lose weight in the first 8-12 weeks post delivery. In this time your milk supply is still being established . Restrictions to your diet or excessive exercising may be detrimental to your supply. Breastfeeding burns up to 500 calories a day, so a poor diet can leave your body undernourished.
Eat a healthy balanced diet full of fruit, vegetables, protein, wholegrain and lots of water. This will ensure your body has enough energy, vitamins and is hydrated for nursing baby. It’s true that babies will still get the nutrients it needs if your diet is not great. However your own body will be stripped of these essential nutrients which may impact on your health. Keeping active will help ease you into weight loss Try gentle low impact exercises such as walking, swimming and yoga are beneficial for your body in the postnatal period.
If you have health issues, speak to your doctor or health visitor before starting a weight loss regime. A safe weight loss of 1-1.5lb a week (or 4-6lb a month) is recommended. Stick to a diet around 1500-1800 calories a day, depending on your activity levels.
If you need support to lose your baby weight you can try a slimming club program. The two main UK companies are Weight Watchers or Slimming World. Both have eating plans specifically adapted for the nutritional needs of breastfeeding mothers. Remember to inform your class leader that you’re breastfeeding so they help you follow the correct plan to follow.
Take simple steps back into exercising after baby. This is particularly important is you had a forceps or caesarean birth. Make small changes to your lifestyle. Taking stairs instead of escalator/elevator, park further away in the car park and walks with baby will help increase your activity levels. A great tip is to do an exercise DVD whilst baby naps. Look for a low impact workout that will not be too strenuous for your recovering body.