Breastfeeding and Weight Loss

Diet

Various research studies clearly demonstrate the success breastfeeding and weight loss have when they naturally work together. In particular, women who breastfeed lose more weight than formula-feeding moms for the first three to six months of a baby's life. Brand new moms, fresh from labor, are eager to get their bodies back. Remember that it took nine months to gain the weight, and realize it should take that long to lose it all.

Breastfeeding and Weight Loss Naturally

For the lactating mom, simply eating regular meals and limiting high calorie snacks and beverages will help her to achieve weekly weight loss goals. Be sure to not eat for two, as the body has already stored up the extra nutrition while pregnant. The additional fat accumulated during pregnancy is intended by nature as a reserve for breastfeeding later. This specific biologically designed fat store is eliminated by lactation through nature's plan. Hormones released during lactation target fat accumulated in the buttocks and thighs, two locations women expand the most during pregnancy. If a breastfeeding mom avoids overeating, weight loss will be relatively easy and natural.

The process of breastfeeding requires 500 calories a day for a typical baby, even more with multiples. If a woman went to the gym and worked out for 45 minutes to an hour, she still would have trouble burning 500 calories. When eating reasonable amounts, these additional calories burn from the fat stores in the woman's body. Imagine running on the treadmill each time while nursing, and feel those fat cells disappear.

Other than the initial weight loss immediately following birth from the baby, placenta and fluids, a new mom should not expect to lose much weight during the first month of her infant's life. After the first month, a breastfeeding mom can expect to lose approximately two pounds a month on average. The most significant maternal weight loss usually begins to occur after the infant is three months old.

Dieting

Crash dieting should be avoided during breastfeeding, as rapid weight loss will decrease the milk supply. Vigorous dieting also produces other negative effects as the body stores toxic substances in fat. Therefore, rapid fat burning will release a large amount of toxins into the woman's body and subsequently into the breast milk. Toxins are a normal part of life and can be found in all people no matter where they live or what they eat. Too many toxins at one time for a small infant's body can cause potential harm.

Serious dieting also negatively affects the mother by reducing the nourishment for her body. The baby is always protected first. Nature will take care of the baby and if more nutrients are needed for breast milk, it will remove them from the mom's body. This will deplete the lactating woman's nutritional reserves and produce a loss of energy and a potential for illness. In order to maintain health while nursing, a woman should consume at least 1800 calories a day and watch her weight loss. For the average size woman, two pounds lost each month is reasonable; for an overweight woman, up to four pounds a month is acceptable weight loss.

Exercise

Moderate exercise while breastfeeding will boost energy and encourage weight loss. Be sure to wear supportive bras or tops to protect your breasts. During active exercise, surplus bouncing of the breasts will cause the milk ducts to leak, creating potential damage to the cells. This can lead to an increase in the risk of developing breast infections such as mastitis. If recovering from mastitis, it is best to avoid any active exercise regimen until the infection has completely cured.

Exercise will also cause the breast milk to change. The increase in lactic acid produced by the body during high activity causes the breast milk to taste sour. This effect lasts for up to ninety minutes after exercise and causes some infants to refuse to nurse. Breastfeeding right before exercise, which also will make the breasts more comfortable during activity, easily solves the problem.

Breastfeeding and Weight Loss