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Keeping both you and your baby healthy while breastfeeding requires a proper meal plan and some guidance. If you would like a step-by-step program to help you lose weight safely, check out all our courses, programs, challenges, & recipe book.
Many mamas are wondering how to lose weight while breastfeeding because they are worried about losing their milk supply. The stress of trying to diet, not sleeping and caring for newborns forces many new mommies to put their weight loss goals off – until some better time, which often doesn’t come. As a health and fitness professional and nutrition coach, I am passionate about helping breastfeeding mamas lose weight. Weight loss while breastfeeding is entirely possible, and I did it three times.
I am actually now pregnant with my fourth baby, so I will be using all these tips ALL OVER AGAIN this fall!
I breastfed three babies and lost weight mainly because of my nutrition. I didn’t really get back into working out regularly until my third was about 9 months old. In between babies, I did the best I could to be active all day and eat the right foods.
In my years of helping new mommies, I’ve found that the main struggles are knowing what to eat, how much to eat, how to work out and how to keep your milk supply. I want to go over all that, so you can feel confident as you embark on your weight loss journey while breastfeeding.
Everything you need to know about weight loss while breastfeeding:
How does weight loss while breastfeeding work?
A mother can lose weight while breastfeeding simply by eating less energy than she is using. Sounds super simple right? In theory, it is exactly what our bodies should be doing after the baby arrives. The purpose of stored fat, water and nutrients during pregnancy is to provide extra energy while breastfeeding. This means that your body is counting on you to eat the same amount of food or less, so it can use stored fat as fuel for breast milk. But, what happens is many mamas eat the extra 300-500 calories they are burning breastfeeding, so they never actually used their stored fat. By eating the right amount of food, your body can happily use the stored fat to produce breast milk.
Did you catch that? YOUR BOD’Y WILL HAPPILY use stored fat – that is why it is there, and a completely normal and natural process.
How many calories should I consume to lose weight while breastfeeding?
Knowing how many calories to eat for weight loss while breastfeeding is really important, but also very unique for each mother. Typically, a breastfeeding mother is burning 300 – 500 calories a day more, but this can vary based on whether you are pumping a lot, exclusively breastfeeding or a mix of both. Exclusively breastfeeding has been shown to increase fat mobilization, so keep that in mind if you can choose how much you pump or nurse. With the extra 300-500 calorie burn in mind, you should be consuming enough calories to sustain everyday activity excluding breastfeeding. Then, your breastfeeding will put you in a negative 300 – 500 calories a day, which will have you dropping pounds every week. The trouble is, many mamas were consuming too many calories while pregnant, so getting their calorie consumption at the right amount is difficult. I go over calorie counting for breastfeeding more in-depth in my program and offer recipes and calorie counts to help make it so much easier. My program also comes in an app, with a member-led, private Facebook group to encourage each other.
Is it safe to lose the baby’s weight fast?
Yes, you can absolutely lose the baby weight fast, while keeping your milk supply, assuming that you are eating enough nutrients and calories to support lactation. The more weight you have to lose, the faster you can lose it because you have more stored fuel to burn through. Just think, if you are overweight and hungry, you technically have the fuel you don’t need to eat – it is just stored away and your body is gonna fight to keep those stores. If you are nourishing yourself properly with the right foods and supplements, as well as eating within a safe calorie zone, your body will let go of fat very quickly.
What should I eat to lose weight while nursing?
Eating nutrient-dense foods while breastfeeding are the key to losing weight. Focusing on nourishing your body is the turning point many mamas need to transform their diet and their post-baby body. I have a free, 10-day reset plan that has helped so many mamas lose weight, even in just 10 days, without losing their milk supply. Some of the foods we focus on in the plan, and more in my program are:
- sweet potatoes
- lean protein
- breastfeeding protein powder
- roasted veggies
If your diet is 80% foods like these, you will start losing weight while breastfeeding. Most of the time many mamas fill their day with healthy foods, but they also give into cravings and eat all the extra chocolate and sweets.
How to deal with cravings while breastfeeding:
Dealing with cravings while breastfeeding is one of the biggest roadblocks to weight loss. I have found the sweet cravings to be super hard for myself and other mamas. That’s why I created Milk Dust, a breastfeeding protein powder that actually reduces sugar cravings, helping mamas to lose weight and keep up their milk supply. I am obsessed with this product and took so much time to create the right formula to give breastfeeding mamas what they really need to help with weight loss. You are welcome to use a 10% off coupon code: LACTATION if you want to try a sample pack and see if it works for you. Or course no product works for 100 % of everyone, but Milk Dust is proving to be successful for 90% of customers! There are some other ways to deal with sugar cravings, that are super helpful:
- eat more protein (protein shakes really help!)
- eat more fiber to feel full
- use fruit to satisfy sweet cravings
- use a supplement to help combat nutrient deficiencies that cause sugar cravings
Will my breastfeeding diet affect my baby?
Yes, and no. Your baby will grow healthy and happy from all the added nutrients in your healthier diet, which is wonderful! You want babies to get the essential nutrients they need to fully develop, and much of that comes from your diet. Some healthy diets can cause your baby to become gassier. I have an in-depth post on this, and what may be causing the gassiness in your baby, and you may be surprised to find out the root cause.
If you find that your baby seems affected by your diet, and gassier, here are some things to do:
- Eliminate common proteins causing gas like eggs, dairy and wheat proteins
- Reduce cruciferous veggies like broccoli and cauliflower
- Try iceberg lettuce instead of greener, tougher lettuce
- Put the avocado in smoothies instead of spinach
- Replace fibrous foods with leaner protein to keep your diet healthy, yet less difficult for a baby
Technically, fiber can not enter the breast milk and make the baby gassy. So my advice is to look at your protein consumption first, and deal with that before you take out the veggies. If you are certain it is the veggies that are causing the gas, switch to easier-to-digest carbs like oatmeal, and eat more lean protein rather than fibrous foods.
Will working out to lose weight affect my milk supply?
As long as you are consuming the right amount of nutrient-dense calories, your workout will have no impact on your milk supply. I highly recommend focusing on diet first, then adding in workouts after you have your diet cleaned up and calorie consumption at the right place. From there, you can add in body-weight strength work, walking and HIIT workouts to build up strength and burn more fat. Just make sure your workouts don’t make you feel hungrier, so you overeat later and ruin your weight loss progress.
Where do I start when wanting to lose weight while breastfeeding?
Starting is the hardest part! I have a free, 5-day jump-start plan for you, which you can do to help you get in the right mindset. Think of it as your hand-holding and baby steps into a real breastfeeding diet plan. Or, you can start with these three, simple yet very effective, actionable tips to get you going on losing weight now: