All mothers indulge in various delicious and scrumptious foods when they are expecting, thinking they’ll shed the extra pounds while nursing. It’s true that you do lose weight when breastfeeding but the lesser known fact is that you get hungrier double the times you did while you were pregnant. It also depends on how much you weighed when you were pregnant and what is your daily routine while nursing. There is no thumb rule, it depends on mother to mother and the lifestyle choices she makes. Some mothers need to eat lactating cookies and other supplements to increase milk supply and after taking all these factors in account you can lose weight while breastfeeding.
How Fast Can You Lose Weight While Nursing?
How fast you can lose pregnancy weight depends on various things like, mother’s metabolism rate, her diet, how often she exercises, how much weight she puts on during pregnancy and if she is feeding the baby exclusively or with help of formula. Taking into account the weight gained and all the above-mentioned things, it can take anywhere between 6-12 months to get back in shape in a healthy way. Women experience a quick loss of weight right after delivering the baby, almost 13 pounds. This weight is of the baby, its placenta and the amniotic fluid.
How Many Calories Does the Body Needs during Breastfeeding?
On average, a woman has to take 400-500 more calories while breastfeeding her child. This increased calorie intake is needed to have a stable milk production (which can be further boosted by lactating cookies and lactation drinks), to maintain the energy levels of the mother and to give nutritious and wholesome milk to the child. Breastfeeding burns up to 500 calories every day, this means that even if you’re eating more calories, you can still shed those extra kilos/pounds. But make sure that those extra calories are coming from healthy food groups and not from a single food group like carbs.
If you’re maintaining your calorie intake, have a moderate to active lifestyle and nursing the baby exclusively, you can lose 1 pound every week in an optimal fashion. This might sound like a very gradual and slow process but crash diets, exercises and calorie deficits aren’t recommended for mothers who have to nurture a life. This slow process will have long lasting effects and wouldn’t take a toll on your health. Many mothers complain about hair fall, back aches, migraine, fatigue and exhaustion after delivery and while nursing, this is mainly due to unhealthy diet.
5 Killer Ways to Lose Weight While Breastfeeding
- Maintain a Healthy Diet
We all know that a healthy diet is a well-balanced diet that takes calories from all food groups. If your diet leans towards any of the group more than the other, you’ll lose on the nutrients from that food group. In the food pyramid, fruits and vegetables have the most importance, then proteins, fibres, dairy, carbs and lastly fats. In order to lose weight while nursing, mothers need to take low-carb diets, avoid empty calories which have no-nutrient value and only make you gain weight. Try to maintain your calorie intake keeping in mind those extra 500 calories you need while nursing and your ideal BMI.
- Drink Water like your Life Depends on it!
Staying hydrated is the key to general health even if you’re not trying to lose weight. Drinking 8-12 glasses of water are absolutely essential for your body in order to do its regular functions. But for a nursing mother trying to lose weight, water intake is crucial. Water maintains blood circulation, helps in digestion, regulates body temperature, transports nutrients to all parts of the body and also increases milk production. If you drink 8-12 glasses of water every day you feel fuller yet lighter and won’t have the urge to eat. Avoid sugary or carbonated drinks, nothing can replace water.
- Moderate Exercises
Having a sedentary lifestyle will slow your weight lose process, so make sure you move! After delivery, about 6 weeks if you had a normal delivery or another 6-8 weeks if you had a C-section, ask your doctor if you can do moderate exercises. Take it slowly, don’t overdo exercise. Do postpartum safe workouts like walking, yoga and simple body exercise. Start with 15-20 mins daily and take it up to 30 mins. Nurse the baby before working out so that you don’t feel the heaviness of the milk in your breast and you can feel light and comfortable.
- Don’t Skip Meals Instead Eat More Frequently!
The common perception of starving or skipping meals is redundant, in fact does the exact opposite of what you want to achieve. Skipping meals while breastfeeding can decrease your energy levels, slow your metabolism and cause fatigue and mood swings. It can also hinder your weight loss journey by creating a weight plateau. i would suggest you eat three proper meals and two snacks in between; this will make your body feel charged and it won’t store fats thinking its going in starvation mode. You can have some nuts, a piece of fruit or some raw vegetables as snacks.
- Aim for 8 hours of Sleep and Rest
I know some mothers are giving me a huge eye roll and saying I don’t know anything about babies but hear me out ladies. Yes, it’s extremely difficult to have an unobstructed 8 hours of sleep but try to rest and nap whenever you get the opportunity. A well-rested body will support you in many ways and it won’t budge under the pressures of breastfeeding, dieting, household chores or job tasks. Sleep and rest is your body’s way to heal and revitalize itself, so do give it that.
Don’t be too harsh on yourself, remember that it took almost 9-10 months to get into this size so you should give your body the same time or even more to get that shape back. Be patient with yourself and enjoy the time, stay motivated and don’t indulge.