Some mothers are desperate to lose weight after the birth of their child. Others do not even think about it until even a year after their child is born (or even later).
One common misconception is that breastfeeding guarantees rapid weight loss. Experts say that while nursing your little one does help burn calories, you’ll also likely be craving more food too (which is totally normal).
Ultimately, the most important thing is that your baby is fed first.
If you are ready to lose weight while breastfeeding, then The Healthy Mommy 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge is fully customizable to suit the needs of a breastfeeding mother. With meal plans you can add calories too in order to cover the extra calories you burn by breastfeeding, postpartum friendly workouts and tips and advice that cover every new moms needs.
Can I diet while breastfeeding?
So often you hear mums say, “oh, you’ll lose so much weight by breastfeeding.” But is that really true? And if so, what’s a realistic amount of weight loss to expect?
Well, it depends. Some mums find the weight really does drop off while they’re breastfeeding. Breastfeeding burns around 500 calories per day (especially when you’re exclusively breastfeeding). That means you can potentially eat the same amount of food you ate pre-pregnancy and still lose weight – your body will simply turn to your fat stores from pregnancy for the extra energy.
BUT many mums find that breastfeeding can give them a pretty big appetite! Especially when you’re also sleep deprived – all these hormones can make you want to eat more food, which is why many breastfeeding mums struggle to lose weight after pregnancy. Plus, it’s also important to make sure you get enough calories into your body so that your milk supply isn’t affected. So, it can be tricky to balance getting enough food in your body to support breastfeeding while still aiming to lose some pregnancy weight.
Experts recommend up to 1 pound per week of weight loss is safe for breastfeeding mums. And that math makes sense – to lose 1 pound of fat every week, you’d need to burn 550 more calories per day (roughly what you’d burn from breastfeeding). But here at The Healthy Mommy, we’re always careful to advise moms, not to calorie count – instead focus on putting good, wholesome, healthy food in your body. Making the right choices with healthy foods will naturally support you in losing weight after pregnancy.
Ways to lose weight while breastfeeding
If you decide to breastfeed your baby, especially if you are exclusively breastfeeding, a mother requires an additional 300-600 calories per day to lactate.
Once your baby starts on solids, this additional amount of calories may reduce as your baby not be consuming as much milk as before (or in fact they may still be, every baby is different).
A meal plan that feeds you and your baby
Once the baby is born you may think you can jump straight back into your pre-pregnancy weight loss meal plan but if you are breastfeeding you need to consider this as well. If breastfeeding your new baby you need a significant amount of extra energy as you are supplying it not just for your body but a new baby as well.
This doesn’t mean you should go out an eat all the high energy foods to make sure you are sustaining yourself and your bub. To get the extra energy without throwing your weight loss goals out the window make sure you’re eating nutrient-rich foods that are especially rich in folate, iodine, zinc and calcium to help maintain the health of you both.
The meal plans for weight loss available on our 28 Day Challenge can be customized to help a breastfeeding new mom is getting all the relevant nutrients you can also try including some smoothies.
Exercise and get moving
The other component to healthy weight loss is to make sure that you are moving your body and exercising. Now when you are looking to lose weight you may be in a slump and have not exercised for a while which is why the 28 challenge workouts are suited for all fitness levels.
If you haven’t exercised for a while you don’t want to push your body too hard too fast. So to ease yourself back into regular why not set yourself your own 28 day fitness challenge where you maybe set yourself a goal each week to make sure you are moving. And if after the 28 day challenge you are in a regular routine with your exercise you reward yourself.
Try these 9 exercises for breastfeeding moms.
Weight Loss Challenge
You could join something like The Healthy Mommy 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge and be given all the tools you need to succeed in losing weight. You get a range of recipes that suit any dietary needs, customizable meal plans for every day of the week, a whole collection of easy exercises that can be done at home anytime and plenty more tips and advice to support you.
The most important thing to remember is if you are trying to lose weight after you have had your baby, you need to listen to your body and what it is telling you.
If you are hungry, that is ok and very normal. But if you are trying to lose some of your pregnancy weight, you need to choose better options to eat during these times.
As your baby starts eating and drinking well and your energy requirements for lactation decrease, you will need to decrease your calorie intake. If you continue to consume those additional calories, like any unused energy, a little weight can creep up.
What to avoid when trying to lose weight while breastfeeding
Pregnancy and labour are traumatic for the body. You need to ensure you’re giving yourself ample time to heal and rest. This is absolutely essential. If you do not give yourself enough time, you may end up causing yourself an injury.
How long will you need to heal? Well, that depends on each individual. It may be weeks, or it may be months. The time frame will depend on your age, your fitness level before pregnancy, and whether you need to recover from surgery.
Yet, while resting is vitally important, you can make use of this time for gentle stretching. Be wary that you don’t push yourself too hard or spend too much time on your feet.
Our top weight loss tips for breastfeeding moms
Become a meal prep pro
The best way to ensure you will stick to your goals is to plan ahead. Meal prep (make in advance) some of your meals and snacks, so that you always have healthy options available to you when hunger strikes.So if you’re making some overnight oats for your breakfast, why not make enough for two or three days?
If you’re making some of the Slow Cooked Asian Chicken from the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge, why not make double and freeze a family-sized serve to have next week?Prepare a week of snacks on the weekend, and freeze or store them in single serves so that you’re not tempted by snacks when you’re out and about.
Change things up to avoid getting bored
When you are trying to eat healthy you can sometimes feel like you are eating and doing the same thing over and over, this can become mundane. To avoid this you need to make sure you mix things up not only the food you are eating but also the exercise you are doing.
Try new things remembering to always listen to your body so that you don’t overdo any exercise.
Surround yourself with a tribe of other moms to help you achieve your goals together. The Healthy Mommy has THOUSANDS of moms taking part in the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge, and they share their tips and advice in the FREE Facebook support group. You can join now, for free, and ask questions, share photos, or get inspired by the real mom’s stories.
There are so many apps out there that can help you track your calories, help you find recipes and that offer a range of exercises so make sure to look around and embrace these new things. You can also get so many different types of fitness trackers that will help you to keep track of things also.
If you are part of the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge you can do all these things and more in the app. There are so many breastfeeding friendly recipes, postpartum exercises and other tips and advice that you will never get bored when you have the app to support you.
Read all you need to know about weight loss when breastfeeding.
Important things to keep in mind when losing weight whilst breastfeeding.
How do your hormones affect your ability to lose weight.
Get into shape with The Healthy Mommy
Regain your body confidence with The Healthy Mommy’s 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge.
Our Challenge is designed by moms FOR MOMS – to help them reach their goal weight and tackle their health and fitness.
The Challenge is home to customizable meal plans, 24/7 social support and realistic exercises moms can do AT HOME.
To find out more on the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge click here.