Lose Weight while Breastfeeding
After being pregnant for 9 months and getting bigger and bigger, most moms are anxious to lose weight and get back to their pre-pregnancy size. Well, I’ve been pregnant 3 times and if I was to tell you three things it would be this:
- After my baby was born, I still looked pregnant: about 6 months pregnant. So be prepared: you will not be getting back into your pre-pregnancy jeans right after delivery. In fact, you might dig out some of those old maternity clothes and wear those for another month or two.
- Some books say that you can be at your pre-pregnancy weight by the second month post delivery. But I don’t follow this rule (it would just make me depressed). I think of it this way: it took me 9 months to get this big, so I give myself 9 months to get back to my original shape.
- Although they never say this in books, I truly believe that a breastfeeding Mom will not completely lose all her weight until she has weaned her baby. Just the weight of your breasts & milk is 2+ pounds. And consider the extra food and water you consume to sustain a healthy breastfeeding body (another 2+ pounds). I could not shed that last 5 pounds until after the babies were weaned.
About Losing Weight: general info
One of the most important things about losing weight while you are breastfeeding is to do so slowly. This is because many environmental toxins are fat soluble. They are stored in your fat cells and when you burn off the fat, the toxins are release. When you lose weigh slowly, the released toxins can be cleared out of your body. But if you lose a lot of weight, all at once, a lot of toxins will be released too. Your body many not be able to remove all these toxins fast enough. The remaining toxins floating in your blood stream will end up in your breast milk because breast milk is high in fat.
It is recommended that you lose weight at a conservative pace: about one pound per week. I would even go as far as to say that you should not actively try losing weight until after your 6 week postpartum visit. Use those first few weeks to let your body recover from labor and delivery. Use that time to get comfortable breastfeeding. Worry about your weight after you have established a good breastfeeding relationship with your new baby.
Sensible Diet to Lose Weight
In short: it is best not to “diet”. Just stick with a sensible meal plan that offers a variety of fresh foods. Remember to include all food groups: whole grains, vegetables, fruits, meats, dairy, and just a touch of fats and sweets. You do not necessarily need to drink a lot of milk to make milk – calcium is found in many foods such as broccoli, bok choy, kale, beans, nuts, tofu, soymilk, and calcium fortified orange juice. (see list here)
Stay away from processed foods which tend to have too much fat, salt, and preservatives. In addition, the vitamins and nutrients in processed foods are diminished because the food has been man-handled too much (cooked, ground up, re-shaped, cooked again, re-packaged, frozen, canned, or dried).
Of course, stay away from junk food like cookies, candies, chocolate, chips, French fries and so forth. You can snack, but choose healthy snacks like fresh fruits and nuts.
In addition to a sensible diet, you need exercise. Diet may make you thin but exercise will make you fit.