I hope everyone has had a peaceful and healthy start to the new year. Along with the dawn of a new year comes many a resolution(s). I've never been all that great personally at keeping my resolutions so I usually rename them as "priorities". So instead of saying that my resolution is to lose x number of pounds I focus on what I need to do to get there, namely increasing exercise and eating healthy, and try to prioritize those things in my life. Anyway, enough about me.
I wanted to post this blog specifically as it relates to weight loss and breastfeeding. I know many mamas are ready to shed extra baby weight, and often the new year provides motivation to focus on that goal. Here are a few common questions regarding losing weight and breastfeeding:
Doesn't breastfeeding burn an extra 500 calories per day? Won't I lose weight anyway?
The answer is that breastfeeding can burn UP TO an extra 500/cals per day but that number may be different for different women. And some women feel very hungry when breastfeeding and may compensate for those extra calories burned by taking in more food because the fact is, they're just hungrier! Feeding another person is no small feat! So while your body may be burning extra calories you may feel hungrier and any extra calories burned may be negated by eating more. A close friend told me after she started breastfeeding her first baby that she’d never felt that hungry in her entire life!
Can I do a cleanse or use herbal supplements to help lose weight?
The short answer is no, they are not recommended. There are a variety of cleanses on the market – juices, smoothies, etc. A cleanse may cause you to lose weight due to the low calories that many of them have, and decreasing calories will most likely lead to weight loss. However, cleanses may be too low in calories and risk impacting milk production. And, if you’re clearing toxins out of your body, there’s no guarantee that some of those toxins won’t end up in your milk. While it varies from woman to woman, most lactating moms should not allow their calorie intake to go below 1800 calories per day. Also, some products that contain herbal supplements such as appetite suppressants are definitely something to avoid while breastfeeding.
How much exercise is ok while breastfeeding?
Exercise as much as you are able to! If you haven’t been active in a while, you will want to start out slowly and avoid overdoing it. If you can, incorporate baby into the exercise. Take baby out for a walk in a stroller or babywear – add in some lunges and squats while you are walking! The fresh air will be great for him or her too! An exercise video at home while baby naps is another way to get some exercise. Try Betty Rocker’s 30 day challenge for FREE! 15 minute work-outs that can be done in your home. My understanding is that they are intense though, so maybe work up to Betty Rocker!
If you would like a more formal setting such as a gym or exercise class, you can do that too! And, some places even offer childcare!
A few tips to keep in mind when exercising:
1. A well-fitting sports bra is a must
2. Feed or pump prior to exercising to avoid becoming engorged during a work-out (though you know your body and baby the best and this may not be necessary)
3. Baby may not like the salty taste of sweat post-workout, so you may need to wipe off excess sweat prior to feeding baby after a workout.
And here’s a few best practices to keep in mind before starting to lose weight:
The bottom line is a moderate reduction in calories and incorporating exercise into your day are both healthy ways to lose weight without affecting your milk supply.
Just Carrie wanting a space to write about being a mom to 2, boob nerd, military wife, and food enthusiast. But mainly a place to talk about boobs and babies!