How to Lose Weight While Breastfeeding – An Essential Guide.
Have you been struggling with weight loss while breastfeeding? This essential guide will provide you with proven tips and tricks to help you reach your weight loss goals while maintaining a healthy milk supply for your baby.
Many new moms wander;
How do you lose weight while breastfeeding without losing your supplies?
Embarking on the journey of motherhood is a beautiful and transformative experience, whoever it may leave you with lifetime marks.
Talk of stretchmarks, joint pains, and of course, the big elephant in the room—your weight gain.
Postpartum weight gain can happen for several reasons.
According to the University of Michigan School of Nursing, age and a new mom’s lifestyle may significantly impact how you lose weight while breastfeeding.
The findings contradict the common belief that adding extra pounds during pregnancy translates into long-term weight gain or obesity.
But a busy mother with an inability to perform few exercises in a day or finishing the food on a toddler’s plate—was to blame for expanding waistlines.
Do you agree with these findings?
I don’t know how true these findings are… but whichever the case, the well-being of both you and your baby takes center stage.
It’s important to approach weight loss while breastfeeding cautiously, ensuring that your body receives the necessary nutrients to support you and your baby.
This blog will explore practical and safe strategies to lose weight while breastfeeding.
From nutritious food choices and mindful exercise to self-care and emotional well-being, we’ll navigate the path to achieving a balanced, and sustainable approach to weight loss while breastfeeding.
How to Lose Weight While Breastfeeding Without Affecting Milk Supply
1. Exclusive Breastfeeding and Pumping for at least 3 Months
The recommendation by World Health Organization to breastfeed your baby exclusively for at least 6 months may have some good vibes on your pregnancy weight loss mama.
Because breastfeeding can aid in burning some calories.
How many calories does breastfeeding burn?
According to a study, mothers with at least 3 months of exclusive breastfeeding tend to lose about 3.2 pounds in the first year compared to women who did not breastfeed exclusively.
This is because the process of making milk in your body requires energy which may lead to the breakdown of a few calories.
Breastfeeding may burn, on average, 500 additional calories daily. This is the equivalent of performing 45–60 minutes of medium-intensity physical exercise.
Better still, it may be compared to cutting out a small meal or large snack.
In a nutshell, exclusive breastfeeding may lead to;
- Increased calorie expenditure: Breastfeeding and pumping require energy, as your body produces milk and expends calories.
- Hormonal effects: Breastfeeding stimulates the release of hormones, such as oxytocin, which can help your uterus contract. This enables your body to return to its pre-pregnancy size, leading to gradual weight loss.
- Fat-burning potential: When you breastfeed or pump, your body utilizes stored fat as a source of energy to produce milk. This can help reduce excess fat stores and contribute to weight loss.
- Postpartum recovery: Breastfeeding and pumping can help your body recover from pregnancy and childbirth more quickly. This includes shedding excess fluid and reducing swelling, which can contribute to initial weight loss.
2. Eat the Main Meals to Reduce Your Cravings
Weight loss is all about calorie reduction.
But to what extent should you reduce your calories while breastfeeding?
Calories are not bad; they give you the energy you need for the day. The problem arises when you eat more than you need, and your body has to store the extra calories in the form of fats.
Also, you should understand that calories in food differ significantly depending on sources.
For example, eating 5 small cookies or 125 grams of ice cream gives you the same amount of calories as 1 kg full plate of watermelon.
As such portions may not matter but the type of food on your plate.
That is where eating your main meals come in handy.
According to a clinical trial that sought to establish the relationship between the effects of meal frequency on metabolic profiles, people who eat Low Meal Frequency, that s, eating at least three main meals in a day, tend to have increased satiety. This leads to reduced hunger ratings compared with the HMF diet during the day.
Eating your main meals will reduce cravings for in-between snacks like biscuits or cookies.
Reducing high-calorie snacks may be relevant for body weight control in the long term.
Ensure you have a good and breastmilk-friendly breakfast. Also, be sure to eat your lunch and dinner on time.
Having your meals on time keeps you full for long hours, reducing the likely hood of snacking on sugary cookies every minute.
According to Frida, a mom of two boys, one thing that worked for her was sleep and waking up earlier.
Getting up early, around 5 and 6 AM, before her baby woke up allowed her enough time to prepare healthy meals and feast before the kids woke up with their demands.
Besides, you get time to eat slowly and consciously.
Eating for fewer minutes than 20 minutes or while distracted with things like TV or a baby may make you eat up to 71% more calories. No wonder this research recommends sitting down and tuning in at mealtimes while your baby sleeps.
3. Priorities Eating Lean Proteins
According to professional healthcare givers, new moms should consume about 65 grams of protein/per day.
Because Proteins are crucial for a breastfeeding mother. Eating a high-protein breakfast can reduce cravings while boasting your breastmilk supply.
And not just that.
In fact, if you’re serious about losing weight while breastfeeding, protein is arguably your best bait for this course.
But not just any protein mama.
Be sure to eat lean meats as opposed to red meat. This is because lean meat is much lower in saturated fats and cholesterol content, thus aiding your weight loss while promoting healthy living.
This research points out that lean Protein plays a key role in body weight regulation.
It increases your satisfaction through satiety related to diet-induced thermogenesis.
Also, your body may use more calories when metabolizing healthy proteins than fat and carbohydrates.
Protein also keeps you feeling fuller for longer.
It does this by reducing the hunger hormone—ghrelin and increasing the fullness hormones—peptide YY, GLP-1, and cholecystokinin.
This activates your body’s signals that deal with appetite, which reduces cravings and overeating throughout the day.
In a nutshell, eating lean proteins give you these benefits;
- Satiety and appetite control: Lean proteins are highly satisfying and can help you feel full and satisfied for longer periods. They have a higher thermic effect, meaning your body burns more calories during digestion than other macronutrients.
- Muscle preservation and metabolism: Protein is essential for preserving and building lean muscle mass. Maintaining muscle is important when losing weight, as it helps support a healthy metabolism.
- Blood sugar regulation: Lean proteins have a minimal impact on blood sugar levels compared to carbohydrates. You will experience less sharp spikes and crashes that can lead to cravings and overeating.
- Nutrient density: Lean proteins are often rich in essential nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.
Which lean proteins should you consider eating?
Eggs, poultry, and sea foods should top your list of proteins if you want to lose weight while breastfeeding.
4. Choose Your Carbs Wisely
Most people on a weight loss journey tend to avoid carbs completely. This is because carbs can make you feel hungry more often, driving you to ingest more calories than you actually need.
However, for breastfeeding moms, Carbs are essential.
It would be best to have a balanced diet for your body to heal optimally. Also, your baby needs these carbs in the breast milk.
How do you eat carbs without risking weight gain?
Eating a few unrefined carbs may be your way to go if you’re targeting to lose weight while breastfeeding.
A low-carb diet isn’t just about weight loss but may also improve your health and digestion.
Always go for complex carbohydrates high in fiber, like whole, unprocessed grains, fruits, and vegetables.
One research suggests that eating fiber-rich foods can help you lose weight.
In fact, according to this study, eating three servings of whole grains daily can reduce your body mass index (BMI) and belly fat.
Healthy carbs are loaded with fiber, which aids in satiety. The bulkiness of fiber will help you feel full, thus regulating your eating.
Varieties of whole grains include:
- brown rice
- wheat berry
Here are a few ideas for adding whole grains to your diet:
- Make your porridge out of oatmeal or other grains.
- Swap out white bread with brown bread.
- Sprinkle some buckwheat groats on your yogurt.
- Swap out white rice with brown rice.
- Add some barley to vegetable soups.
- Just use whole-grain flour, like whole wheat in baking.
Some varieties of fruits, vegetables, or grains may irritate or give gas to your baby. As such, you should experiment a little bit cautiously before settling on what works well for both of you.
5. Drink a Lot of Water and Low-Calorie Soups Before Meals
There is no debate when it comes to drinking water while nursing. Your breast milk is 80% water, and you will feel more thirst while breastfeeding.
Drinking water and low-calorie soups before meals can help you lose weight while breastfeeding without losing supply due to several reasons.
First, water and soups have a high water content which is essential for any breastfeeding mother.
Second, filling your tummy with fluids may help create a feeling of fullness and reduce overall calorie intake during the meal. This can lead to decreased portion sizes and prevent overeating.
Additionally, drinking water or consuming a broth-based soup before a meal can help hydrate your body, and improve your digestion.
This combination of hydration, increased satiety, and lower calorie intake can contribute to weight loss by promoting portion control when breastfeeding without affecting your milk supply.
6. Double your In House Steps to Lose Weight While Breastfeeding
Did you know that you already burn calories by doing regular parenting activities?
Parenting is an exercise that can help you lose weight while breastfeeding.
Home activities with infants can burn about 100 calories in an hour.
Light efforts like moving around, holding your baby, bathing babies, and generally staying all day with an infant can be rewarding when it comes to your postpartum weight loss journey.
Most women lose weight right from home by just caring for their babies.
Holding your baby while performing household chores or going for stroller walks can help you lose weight while breastfeeding.
7. Snack on Nuts and Healthy Fats to Lose Weight While Breastfeeding
Not all fats are bad for your health. Snacking on nuts and healthy fats can support weight loss in several ways.
First, nuts and healthy fats are rich in dietary fiber and protein, both of which promote satiety and help you feel fuller for longer periods.
This can prevent overeating and reduce cravings for unhealthy snacks.
Eating healthy fats may boost your metabolism, which increases your body’s fat-burning efficiency.
Additionally, healthy fats and protein in nuts help stabilize blood sugar levels, keeping your energy levels steady and reducing the likelihood of sudden hunger pangs and subsequent overeating.
Moreover, the healthy fats found in nuts, such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, benefit heart health and help lower LDL cholesterol levels.
Healthy fats for breastfeeding moms include;
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids are found in seafood, almonds, walnuts, and soybeans.
- Omega-6 Fatty Acids are found in seeds and vegetable oils
- Monounsaturated Fats are found in healthy olive oil, avocados, and nuts
Limit your total fat intake to about 20-25% of your total calories.
8. Don’t Eat Late at Night
My grandma used to discourage us not eat after 6 p.m. But with ever-changing life demands, most moms are still out at six running errands.
It isn’t recommended to eat late because your body has no use for the calories consumed late at night.
As such these calories are most likely to be stored as fat.
Also, it affects your circadian rhythms and may change your fat tissue, which is not good for weight loss.
Try to eat your dinner earlier and give yourself a few hours before sleeping.
9. Sleep When You Can to Lose Weight While Breastfeeding
According to a study, sleep deprivation can increase hunger and cravings.
This research suggests that short sleep may reduce leptin and elevate ghrelin. These differences in leptin and ghrelin will likely increase appetite, leading to abnormal eating and increased Body Mass Index.
Additionally, lack of enough sleep may cause obesity.
I know getting hold of your sleep hours with a newborn is hard. But you may offset your lack of sleep, especially during the night, by planning at least a few 30-minute naps for yourself while your baby sleeps.
Feel free to steal these tips I learned from a lactation specialist on losing weight while breastfeeding without losing supply.
- Always drink a cup of water before any meal or snack.
- Avoid fast food and takeaway meals from restaurants. Instead, prepare your meals at home, where you can control calorie sources.
- Eat your breakfast like a queen. A well-balanced breakfast will give you energy for a day-long workout.
- Include Brazilian nuts, almonds, and walnuts in your diet. Snacking on any of these nuts can control your appetite and boost your fat-burning process.
- Work out with your baby; the in-house baby activities count a lot.
- Avoid eating late dinners; do not eat heavy meals after 7 p.m.
- Substitute your cravings for calorie-dense snacks with real, healthy foods.
- Sleep for long if you can.
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- 9 Essential Breastfeeding Tips To Help New Moms Start Off from Day 1
DISCLAIMER The information contained in this post is for general information purposes only. I’m not a health practitioner and as such, this information should not be used as a substitute for consultation with your professional service provider.