I am sure you have heard that breastfeeding will help you lose weight. However, the amount you will be able to lose will depend on your body. Breastfeeding has been found to burn many calories, in fact about 500-700 calories per day, but to breastfeed your baby effectively, you also need to consume about 500 or more calories. But there are healthy ways on how to lose weight while breastfeeding.
What steps should I take to lose weight?
This must be a burning question for you at the moment. You want to shed off the excess weight while still ensuring you are correctly breastfeeding your little one, getting enough nutrients and vitamins for her to grow to a healthy baby, and remembering that breastfeeding affects our body. Hence, we need to look after it also. Below are some tips I feel will help you losing weight while breastfeeding healthily and keeping you and your baby well.
Some of the tips you will come across might sound familiar, if you were on this weight loss journey before your baby. However, there are a few considerations you need to keep in mind while breastfeeding. These tips will help you healthily lose weight while still allowing your body to produce healthy and nutrient-dense milk for your little one.
How fast can I lose pregnancy weight?
Losing weight depends on several factors. It is from your metabolic rate, how often you usually exercise, your current diet, and the weight you gained during the pregnancy.
So lets us try and break this down. Depending on the amount of weight you gain when pregnant, it could take 6 to 9 months to a year, and in some cases, it might take longer. Straight after delivery, it is very common for you to lose about 13pounds; this is due to the baby, amniotic fluid, and placenta. But the amount varies depending on your body type and the size of your baby.
And after this, you might want to take fewer calories than the amount you burn off to reach your ideal weight. But when we look at health and safety reasons for both you and baby, try and lose this weight gradually, and while breastfeeding, you want to try and consume at least 2,200 calories a day. A healthy amount will keep your milk supply high and still give you the needed energy to get through the day.
However, there are a few simple tips below that will help in losing weight while breastfeeding.
8 simple tips on how to lose weight while breastfeeding
1. You need to drink lots of water.
Water nourishes and purifies your body, and when it comes to weight loss, this is your best friend. And as a breastfeeding mom, water is essential to produce enough breastmilk for your baby. The aim is to have at least 8 cups of water in a day.
Water has been found to help you shed unwanted weight naturally. Water is responsible for proper digestion, circulation, and adequate regulation of your body temperature. And when it comes to breastfeeding, water is the medium to transport all the right nutrients needed for proper milk production.
Water also goes a long way in keeping your body toxin-free by assisting your kidneys in washing away all these unwanted impurities. And if you want to reduce the amount of food you eat, take a glass of water before your meal; this will help make you feel full and minimize overeating.
Remember we said water keeps you healthy; it also helps in keeping your muscles healthy and strong, while offering your skin that radiant glow.
How to go about drinking more water
- Try and start your day with two glasses of water just before you have your breakfast. Before having lunch or dinner, take two glasses each; this comes to a total of six glasses. The other two glasses of water can be in a 16-ounce bottle that you sip through the day. And just like that, 8 glasses of water in a day.
- If water is not your thing, try and get infused water and find natural ways to add some flavor to it; some mint, cucumber, or your favorite fruit might be the trick in getting in your water intake.
2. Ensure you are eating a healthy diet
The first and most important thing while breastfeeding is ensuring you are getting sufficient calories. When you breastfeed, you burn many calories, and if we add in some workout, this might cause some problems. And for some, it might reduce your milk supply.
For adequate milk production, it is advised that you add 300 to 500 calories to your diet, so this would bring your total consumption to about 2,200 to 2,500 calories. This is why you must consume the right kind of calories; try and follow the guidelines below.
- Your vegetables and fruits
Ensure that fruits and vegetables take up a large portion of our meals. To start your day right, how about having a vegetable and fruit smoothie. Yes, a green smoothie can still be a tasty treat; throw in some strawberries, blueberries, bananas, almond milk, and some spinach, a quick delicious breakfast ready in minutes. But it is all about experimenting and finding exciting ways to have a healthy breakfast.
Lunch and dinner should also have a good serving of fruits and vegetables. And when snacking, ensure you grab something healthy, like a carrot, raw vegetable, an apple instead of the sweat processed option.
- Load on lean proteins
Protein has been found as the most important nutrient in your weight loss journey, but you need to get lean protein in your diet for the best results. This healthy type of protein can be found in beans, chicken, fish, and some protein powders. For example, with your morning smoothie, add a scoop of protein powder, and this way, you instantly have a balanced breakfast in one glass.
When it comes to lunch and dinner, have fish or chicken and alternate this with some beans. You will get the health benefits lean protein offers your body while losing some weight.
- Get some healthy fats
Yes, your losing weight, and yet I suggest adding fats to your diet. As weird as this might sound, some healthy fats help you lose weight, plus the benefits it offers your body and your baby from your nutrient-dense breastmilk. These healthy fats can be found in coconut oil, nuts such as walnuts and almonds, chia seeds, Olives and olive oil, avocados, hemp seeds, to name a few.
With these components, there are creative ways to incorporate them in your meals; you could try adding a spoon full of either chia seeds or hemp seeds mixed into your smoothie. For lunch, maybe dress your salad with some olive oil garnished with walnuts or almonds. It is all about playing around with the healthy options available and find what works for you.
3. Important tip in sticking to healthy meals
Meal prep is the most important tip I can offer; it saves you time figuring out what to eat and good practice when trying to stay healthy. With ready meals, it will reduce instances when you’re hungry and looking for a quick fix from processed meals. This way, it keeps you on track to consume healthy calories.
4. Include some exercises in your day
Now that healthy meals are on check; the next thing is moderate exercise while you are breastfeeding. When I say exercise, I don’t mean hitting the gym or running several miles in a day. It is advised that you wait at least six to eight weeks before restarting your exercise routine. If you immediately get on an extreme diet paired with vigorous exercise, this might interfere with your body’s ability to produce sufficient milk for your little one.
Start slow, and the good thing your exercise does not have to be intense or challenging for you to see the desired results. How about a simple cardio workout, like doing a 20-minute brisk walk? It is low impact and still gets your heart rate up; you are putting in some exercise without hurting your joints or knees.
5. Sleep is vital
Getting as much sleep as possible is as good as eating healthy and putting in some time for a workout. But I know with a newborn getting some adequate sleep can be challenging. But sleep is essential because this is when your body can repair itself to help return to its healthy state.
Let me paint a clearer picture of how sleep helps your body.
- Sleep helps your muscles to relax
- Your blood pressure returns to its healthy normal levels, because with the day stressor, our blood pressures can spike.
- Proper supply of blood to your muscles and organs.
- This is when the growth hormone is released in your body.
- Plus, your breathing and heart rate stabilizes, because you are rested and relaxed.
These are just some health benefits you can enjoy from an afternoon siesta. Did you know that weight gain is directly linked to a lack of proper sleep? And as a nursing mum, a sleep-deprived and hungry mommy tends to satisfy their cravings with sweat processed items, the likes of cookies, chocolates, crisps, thus no weight loss attained.
Thus, to shed that unwanted weight, try and put in at least 7 hours of sleep each night, but if she doesn’t sleep through the night, try ad nap when your baby takes her naps during the day. Take the break, laundry and dirty dishes can be handled later.
6. Ensure you are breastfeeding frequently
Most of us feed on demand, which is okay, but how about feeding more frequently. Yes, your little human is intelligent enough to stop feeding when she is full; thus, you can’t overfeed her. The more you breastfeed, the more calories you burn. And when you pair this with exercising you will lose more weight. But with frequent breastfeeding, will remind your body that it still needs to produce sufficient milk for the little even with the fat deposits disappearing.
7. Avoid the quick fixes.
Dieting trends keep evolving; every other month, there seems to be a new must-try diet plan to shed the excess weight. These quick fixes can quickly get you sucked in, but you need to keep one thing in mind, your milk production for the little one. Most of these diets might affect your milk production, but for now, breastfeeding is at the top of your list. Drastic weight loss will affect the amount of milk your body can produce, so be careful with these quick fixes.
The weight will slowly shed off, so give your body time and enjoy this new phase of motherhood.
8. Consider meeting with a nutritionist.
Remember keeping your little one properly feed is the primary goal, so how about meeting with a nutritionist. They have the expertise and knowledge of dieting. Discuss your goals, and they should offer the best meal plans for both you and your baby.
The most important thing to remember on how to lose weight while breastfeeding
The most important thing you need to remember on how to lose weight while breastfeeding is that you need to be patient with yourself and your body. Your body just went through some drastic changes; it was able to nature and grow a little human for nine months, so give yourself time to recover and get back to its normal state. It took nine months to create that beautiful bundle of joy, so don’t expect to lose all the weight in a matter of two months.
Your body needs the extra time to recover; you will soon be rocking those skinny jeans.