Breastfeed And Lose Weight
New moms are always concerned with weight loss and breastfeeding. I know I was as a new mom. I was determined to breastfeed for at least the first year. But I was always an active person and I gained more weight than I should have during pregnancy. So I was eager to get back to a weight that I was comfortable with. Comfortable as in healthy where I’m not short of breath climbing stairs.
I’m a person that doesn’t depend on a scale to tell me I’m healthy. How I feel is an indicator for me that I’m healthy and strong. So if you’re discouraged from your weight loss due to a scale ask yourself how you’re feeling and begin to look for some no scale victories!
Weight loss can be achieved during breastfeeding. One misconception on this topic is that losing weight can result in a drop in milk supply. For one breastfeeding is a supply and demand system. The more you keep your breasts empty of milk, the more milk you’ll produce. That’s why it’s imperative to follow the cues of your baby, and nurse from each breast. Read more about this here.
However, your body will not work properly if you’re not fueling it correctly. And that can just be doing simple tasks like walking or going shopping. I nursed (no supplementing) my daughter for almost 2.5 years. I never had an issue with supply. My daughter has always been in the 90th percentile for height and weight. And I was able to get my weight down to my comfortable weight before pregnancy.
That weight loss took a year. I’m giving this information to encourage you, however, we all have different bodies and our systems react differently to different outside forces. Therefore, always consult your doctor before beginning any fitness and nutrition routine.
Here are three things you can do to keep your supply up.
You should be drinking half your body weight in water. That’s a lot of water. During the time I was nursing and running to lose weight, I was drinking mostly water. Water intake can be the easiest step to jump start your healthy lifestyle.
It can help the rest of the systems in the body work effectively and efficiently. Therefore, it will help your milk supply while you breastfeed. If you’re feeling hungry or lethargic, try drinking water first before grabbing food. You may just be dehydrated. Dehydration and hunger give the same signs of a need to be filled in the body.
You should be eating enough calories to support your body systems including nursing. At each meal, you should be adding half to one full serving of food to support your supply. Just like when you were pregnant. Just one extra serving. Not only do you need the correct amount of calories, but also the correct foods to fuel your body.
You should avoid sugar, caffeine, wine, spices, garlic, citrus fruits, processed food. However, everything in moderation. I drank wine and coffee while nursing. Foods you should include are eggs, low fat dairy products, seasonal fruits, leafy green vegetables, whole grain, legumes. Here is something to help you be more conscious of your eating.
Once you become more active, you should increase your calorie intake to ensure your body is getting all it needs to keep it functioning well. Breastfeeding alone burns a ton of calories, which is why you need the extra calories. However, I didn’t see any weight loss until I became active again. Breastfeeding doesn’t necessarily mean your weight will fall off like it may have for some women. I had to become active again for that to happen.
Nursing: Supply and Demand
The more you breastfeed your baby, the more milk you will produce. Don’t skip feedings. When this happens, your body will start to drop supply. Pay attention to your baby’s cues. Nurse when he or she is ready. Make sure you nurse on both sides and empty the breast to keep your supply up.
You can breastfeed and lose weight. The most important think you need to remember when you begin to change your food choices and begin a fitness regimen is to listen to your body. If it doesn’t feel good, don’t do it. I’m not saying don’t challenge yourself, but don’t risk you or your baby’s health.