The post-partum body can be depressing, at times, but we must love it for the miracle it has created. The moment the bump is gone, it’s natural for new mums to get restless for that pre-pregnancy body. New moms often believe that breastfeeding helps with weight loss after giving birth. While breastfeeding does burn a lot of calories, it also requires a daily intake of approximately 500 more calories than a pre-pregnancy diet.
This leads many moms to wonder, “What steps can I take to lose pregnancy weight while also ensuring that my baby gets the required nutrients?”
Losing weight while breastfeeding should be approached with care and caution. Rushing toward weight loss can affect the milk supply of new mothers, making it difficult for them to feed the baby and depriving them of essential nutrients.
Fret not, by eating the right type of food, exercising, and taking good care of yourself, you can help support up your postpartum weight loss while keeping up with the most important mommy duty.
1. Give it the time it deserves
Aim to lose weight slowly. Your body has gone through a lot of stress, so give it the reward it deserves. Your body, dear mommy is still doing a lot of hard work, using all it has to be able to feed your little love. Since you can’t just start crash dieting or exercising, use the time wisely to prep up the body for the future regime by eating healthy and avoid junk food as much as possible. Try to lose weight at a slow and steady pace, rather than all at once.
While you’re still feeding your child, steer clear of trend diet plans, cleanses, promises of rapid weight loss, fat burning medicines, diet plan tablets, natural supplements, etc since they can affect your milk production and pass on side effects to the baby. These things might be risky for anybody and are especially high-risk while nursing.
2. Eat well and eat wisely
Starving yourself is never a good idea and is particularly dangerous when recovering from childbirth and nursing your baby. Too few calories can also be counter-productive to your weight loss goals. Eating regular meals take the edge off your hunger and allow you to more easily manage what you eat. If you allow yourself to get too hungry, you will end up reaching for the most convenient (and often unhealthy) food available.
Choose foods rich in iron, protein, and calcium, as opposed to foods with empty calories or those high in fats or sugars. High protein foods are especially important as they keep you feeling full for longer. This helps in weight loss without compromising on nutrition and affecting lactation. Fruits, vegetables, and nuts should make up a large portion of your caloric intake, they can be included in your daily meals in the most creative ways and make for a healthy option to keep hunger at bay. They help achieve sustainable weight loss while maintaining your body’s ability to produce healthy, nutrient-rich milk.
3. Start exercising...gently
Maintaining control of your diet is only half the battle won. To lose weight while breastfeeding, one also needs to add moderate exercises to their daily regime. Don’t picture yourselves going to the gym or running long distances just yet. With a breastfeeding infant, those activities can be all but impossible. It’s advisable to wait at least six to eight weeks after childbirth before starting or restarting a serious exercise regimen. Extreme dieting and exercise can impact your body’s ability to produce healthy milk — so be careful.
Two basic categories of exercises – Cardio and Light Weight training can be made a part of your postpartum regime. These, in their distinct ways, benefit your body, and when topped with a nutritious diet can go a long way in positively affecting your health and lactation levels.
Every woman wants to return to her pre-pregnancy weight as quickly as possible. But, if you’re breastfeeding, you can’t forgo the nutritional aspect of the foods you eat and the calories you need to maintain your breastfeeding relationship. It’s important to focus on nutrient-dense foods, so you have the energy to care for your baby, to put towards all of your other responsibilities, and to exercise. Remember that producing milk takes a lot of your body’s resources and energy! Think of your weight loss plan as a long term, healthy lifestyle, rather than an immediate goal.
About Swati Mehra: A not-so-perfect toddler mum, a seasoned communication professional, and a control freak - that's what defines me the best. Having spent a decade servicing brands, I recently stumbled upon my new found passion for writing, and I'm enjoying every bit of my thoughts flowing seamlessly on the paper. I'm a compulsive planner, who likes things well charted out, often to other's annoyance. Good days or bad, I love to celebrate motherhood, and my love for food, fun and finer things in life, all of which I love to experience with my mini-me.