Ever wonder how to lose weight while breastfeeding? It’s no secret that pregnancy brings about significant changes to your body, and shedding those post-baby pounds can be a common concern. While many believe that breastfeeding alone will magically make the weight melt away, the reality is often quite different.
Contrary to popular belief, breastfeeding doesn’t guarantee automatic weight loss. In fact, some women find themselves gaining weight after childbirth due to various factors, including food choices. But fret not! There are practical strategies you can incorporate to achieve your weight loss goals while still providing the nourishment your baby needs.
By adopting a balanced approach, making mindful dietary choices, and incorporating physical activity into your routine, you can gradually and safely work towards losing weight while breastfeeding. So, let’s explore some helpful tips and insights to guide you on your journey of reclaiming your body while nurturing your precious little one.
The Science behind Weight Loss and Breastfeeding
Pregnancy brings about incredible changes to your body, including shifts in hormones that play a significant role. One hormone that takes the spotlight is prolactin, responsible for milk production. But here’s the catch: prolactin also acts as a protector of sorts, holding onto that pregnancy fat. It’s like a backup plan to ensure your baby always has a sufficient milk supply, especially during the first six months.
Unfortunately, this hormonal setup can make weight loss a bit more challenging. The high levels of prolactin during this time slow down your metabolism, making shedding those extra pounds feel like an uphill battle. And as tempting as crash diets may seem, they trigger a “famine message” in your body, causing it to cling onto that precious fat even tighter. So, skipping meals won’t do the trick!
The key here is finding a balance. You can still strive for weight loss while breastfeeding by focusing on nourishing foods and maintaining a reasonable calorie intake. By following these essential tips to lose weight while breastfeeding, you can prioritize your baby’s well-being while gradually working towards your own weight loss goals. Remember, it’s all about nurturing both yourself and your little one during this precious time.
How to Lose Weight While Breastfeeding
1. Be Realistic
This is the first and foremost thing to remember! It took nine months to put on all this weight, so prepare to give yourself 9-12 months to get rid off it. Because of prolactin, you might not see any difference in the first 6 weeks too. Besides the weight, your body’s shape has changed, your hips are wider, rib cage is higher and so on. There is also excess fat in different places, so learn to appreciate your new body – it just grew and delivered a baby, and is now nourishing it!
2. Stock up Right
It’s important to ensure that you have only healthy food in the house. If not, you might just pick up anything and eat in your chronically sleep deprived state! When buying food for yourself, focus on nutrition and not calories. You’re going to feel a good deal hungrier, so stock up on healthy snacks like popcorn, veggie sticks, hummus, fruit and whole wheat crackers. Completely avoid refined grains and stick to whole grain pasta, rice and flour.
3. Eat Frequently
Newborns feed every 2-3 hours, which means you feel hungry just as often. So target about 6 small meals a day rather than 3 large ones. Leaving a long gap between meals will affect your milk supply. Besides, you’ll end up getting irritated and can end up overeating at your next meal.
4. Have a Balanced Meal
During the postpartum phase, your body needs a lot of nutrients, so don’t skip any food group. Fill half your plate with veggies – you can have it any way, raw or cooked. While you shouldn’t avoid carbs, you can reduce the amount and stick to whole grain. Have lots of lean protein and healthy fats like nuts and seeds.
5. Insert a Workout Everyday
As soon as you get the doctor’s okay regarding exercise, try to insert a small workout everyday. At the beginning, it’s hard to get 30 minutes at a stretch, so opt for 10 minutes three times a day, preferably after the baby’s fed and sleeping. A walk is perfect to start with. It’s also a great way for a new Mom to get some baby-free time to clear her head. Be sure to include stretches and avoid high intensity workouts as they can affect milk supply. Once your baby’s feeds are farther apart, you can start a 3o minute workout – a brisk walk or light aerobics.
6. Lift Weights
Many women get ready to run to lose weight, but very few understand the importance of lifting weights! Prolactin lowers your metabolism, so you need good muscle power to build it back up. Lifting weights is low impact, makes you toned and stronger – essential to lift your little one as he grows!
7. Avoid too many Sweets
You’re bound to get many visitors during this time, and they’re likely to come bearing gifts. But be careful if these gifts are of the sweet kind! While lactation laddus, cookies and halwa are good for your milk, have a little discretion when eating them – they’re often packed with ghee and sugar. For best results, avoid keeping too many sweets at home in the first place!
8. Drink lots of Water
Breastfeeding is a very dehydrating process, so be sure you have a drink whenever you sit down to nurse. Drinking water also helps boost the metabolism and keeps you from overeating. If you’re working out, if it’s very hot or you find yourself sweating a lot, be sure to up your water intake, lest your milk supply might slow down.
9. Get lots of Rest
We know it’s easier said than done, but getting enough rest is crucial when it comes to losing weight while breastfeeding. As a new mom, sleep may feel elusive, but establishing a consistent bedtime routine for your baby can help set the stage for better sleep habits.
So, resist the urge to scroll through social media during nap times and prioritize your own rest instead. Whether it’s taking a quick nap, practicing relaxation techniques, or indulging in self-care activities, make sure you recharge your body and mind.
Remember, giving yourself the rest you need not only supports your weight loss journey but also enhances your overall well-being. So, go ahead, embrace those moments of rest and let your body rejuvenate as you navigate the beautiful experience of breastfeeding and postpartum weight loss.
10. Lose the Stress
You know what can sabotage both your milk supply and your weight loss efforts? Stress! No matter how much you try to figure out ways lose weight while breastfeeding, if you’re constantly stressed, it can be tough to see results. Take a few minutes each day to focus on yourself, whether it’s through prayer, meditation, or simply finding moments of relaxation.
During those first few months, consider getting some extra help around the house. Hiring someone to take care of cooking, cleaning, and laundry can free up your time to bond with your baby and focus on your own well-being. Don’t worry if things aren’t perfect; remember, a happy mama and baby are more important than a spotless house!
And remember, what you eat affects the quality of your milk. Choose nutritious, whole foods to provide the best nourishment for your little one. As time goes on, you’ll start to notice positive changes in your body – less flab, more definition, and glowing skin and hair. Plus, with reduced stress and more energy, you’ll be able to enjoy precious moments with your growing baby. Stay committed, stick to your plan, and the long-term rewards of losing weight while breastfeeding will be worth it.