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A good number of new mothers erroneously believe that breastfeeding helps with weight loss after giving birth. This widely held belief comes from the fact that the newborn sucks a lot of nutrients from the mother via breast milk.
However, while breastfeeding does burn a good amount of calories, it also requires a daily intake of approximately 500 more calories to enable the new mother keep up.
Studies show that the range of daily milk intake of growing, exclusively breastfed infants is anywhere from 478 – 1,356 ml.
With this in mind, one can see that new born babies require a great deal of breast milk on a daily basis, and mothers therefore need extra nutrition to be well nourished to produce the needed amount of milk.
Women generally add a lot of weight during pregnancy. After childbirth, it is not out of place for them to desire to lose weight while also ensuring that the new born gets the needed nutrients to be healthy.
In this article, we outline healthy ways through which a new mother can lose weight while breastfeeding.
It’s is pertinent to note that weight loss varies among mothers depending on physical activity, the amount of weight gained during pregnancy and how much breast milk is produced.
How Early Can I Start Working to Lose Weight While Breastfeeding?
The arrival of a new baby requires extra care on the part of the mother. So, it is okay if you can use the first few weeks of child delivery to focus solely on the newborn’s needs. In this period, watching your weight should really not be a priority especially as the extra weight did accumulate gradually. Hence, shedding it can never be an overnight magic.
After six to eight weeks post-delivery, the new mother can now begin to make efforts to lose weight (if that is your desire). At least, by now, both the baby and the mother have adapted to the new reality of maternal and neonatal care.
Healthy Ways to Lose Weight While Breast Feeding.
Losing weight after pregnancy requires extra caution and planning. The following are some of the ways to shed weight while breastfeeding:
1) Do not starve yourself:
Most people who try to lose a couple of pounds are usually tempted to cut down on food intake. As a new mother, this is a no-no! Intermittent fasting may actually reduce your weight as fast as possible but it is not only unsustainable but also unhealthy to you and your newborn. Starving will sure make you weak as well as reduce the production of breast milk. What you can do is to eat healthy foods in small portions otherwise known as Portion Control.
2) Drink plenty of water:
You can never go wrong with staying hydrated when trying to lose weight while breastfeeding. When you drink water, you get filled and become less hungry. Water intake also helps expel toxins from the body and aid the digestion process. Apart from drinking water, you can also drink other healthy fluids like weight loss smoothies and natural home-made fruit juices.
3) Breastfeed as much as possible:
Frequent breastfeeding aids weight loss in no small measure. The body makes use of stored energy in fats to produce more breast milk. Hence, frequent breastfeeding will help the new mother burn a good amount of calories.
4) Exercise regularly and moderately:
After 2 months of delivery, regular and moderate exercise is considered safe for the new mother. By doing simple exercises that burn belly fat, you can shed a couple of pounds and build muscle mass. Also note that exercise will not negatively affect your milk supply as long as you maintain a healthy diet. Remember to keep it light and moderate as rigorous exercise can actually affect the taste and quantity of breast milk.
Alternatively, you can eat a diet that is rich in calcium and protein. Snack on foods like yogurt, fruit juices, oat meals and smoothies. You can also aim to eat foods that contain high amounts of Omega 3’s. These include walnuts, eggs, low sugar breakfast cereals, green leafy vegetables and spinach. You can read 12 Healthy Alternatives to Junk Foods.
If you need help in getting the right meal plans for healthy weight loss while breastfeeding, Consult a Dietician on KompleteCare today.
- Medically reviewed by Dr. Hafsa Maikudi