How to lose weight while Nursing

How to lose weight while nursing

“There are a lot of misconceptions out there about weight loss

and breastfeeding,” says Jennifer Ritchie, IBCLC and author of

I Make Milk…What’s Your Superpower? “Some people believe that

the weight just drops off if you’re breastfeeding. Others think

it’s hard to get your body back while you’re breastfeeding.”

Neither is exactly right. Breastfeeding does burn extra

calories — approximately 850 calories a day, to be exact.

(Wow!) But losing weight while breastfeeding is rarely a given

because breastfeeding makes moms hungrier. And hungry, sleep-

deprived new moms tend to satisfy their cravings with simple

carbohydrates — it’s not exactly easy to lose weight when

you’re eating those.

“When normal, healthy adults are sleep deprived, they typically

increase their carbohydrate consumption to make up for the lack

of sleep,” Ritchie explains. “We end up reaching for the


How to lose weight while nursing:Don’t pressure yourself

Sorry, but you won’t be stepping into your pre-pregnancy jeans

right away. And trying to put them on in the early weeks will

just be discouraging. “In order to deliver a baby, everything

in the body expands,” Ritchie says. “Your hips expand, your

ribcage expands. It took a good nine months to put that weight

on, so give yourself at least nine months to get it off and get

your body back.”

Just ignore the excess weight for at least the first two weeks

after birth. “Honestly, the first two weeks of having an infant

can be a nightmare. It’s like boot camp,” Ritchie says. “For

that time, focus on your baby, and don’t worry about dieting.”

And actually, you might want to wait six weeks or even longer

before actively trying to lose the weight. “Those entire first

six weeks are a transitional period,” Ritchie explains. It

takes about that long for baby to adapt to the rhythms of the

outside world, and for both baby and mom to get a hang of

breastfeeding. You don’t need the outside distraction of a

rigid diet or exercise plan.

Make savvy substitutions
How to lose weight while nursing

Think before you snack. Instead of reaching for the Doritos,

pop some popcorn. Instead of having packaged cereal, make a

batch of steel-cut oatmeal. “Oatmeal is a great breakfast for a

breastfeeding mom who’s trying to lose weight. It keeps you

full for a long period of time and keeps insulin levels

stable,” Ritchie says.
Starchy veggies, such as baked potatoes and sweet potatoes, can

also satisfy your craving for carbs. Brown and wild rice are

good side dish and snack options, too.

Set yourself up for success

A little bit of prep work one day can help you keep your eating

on track for the next few days. Cut up some veggies and fruit

to keep in the fridge, cook and freeze healthy meals for later

quick defrosting, and don’t feel bad about grabbing steam-in-

bag veggies or other healthy low-prep snacks (there are lots of

options at Trader Joe’s!). “The idea is to keep healthy snacks

and meals in the cabinet and fridge, and to keep out the Girl

Scout cookies and chips,” Ritchie says.

How to lose weight while nursing :Eat smaller, more frequent


“If a mom waits too long between meals, there’s a hormonal

effect that affects milk supply,” Ritchie says. “Her body will

start pulling energy from her reserves, which decreases insulin

production and affects thyroid hormone levels. That lowers

prolactin, which is the hormone that controls how much milk we

make.” When you’re feeling starving, you’re more likely to eat

something you know you shouldn’t. Instead, spread your calories

out over six mini-meals throughout the day.

How to lose weight while nursing: Cut calories — but not too


It’s perfectly safe to diet while breastfeeding, as long as

your total caloric intake doesn’t dip below 1,800 calories per

day and you keep eating a wide variety of nutritious foods.

How to lose weight while nursing: Work in exercise

Wait at least six to eight weeks before starting or restarting

a serious exercise regimen. If you’re planning a particularly

strenuous workout, eat a healthy carb about a half-hour before

you exercise. “Eating a starchy vegetable, like half of a baked

potato, before running can really help prevent a decrease in

your milk supply,” Ritchie says.

How to lose weight while nursing: Keep at it

Everyone loses weight at a different rate, so don’t be

discouraged if your weight loss happens more slowly than it

does for all those celeb mamas. With a healthy diet plan,

breastfeeding moms typically lose about a pound a week, says


The cool thing is, you can tailor your plan to your lifestyle

and whether you’d rather cut more calories or do more exercise.

“As long as you’re burning more calories than you’re consuming,

you’ll lose weight,” Ritchie says. “So if a mom decides she

wants to be able to eat the foods that she loves, she can add

in some extra walks with the baby.”



Author: chrislenon

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