Weight Loss and Breast Feeding

It is a fact that breast feeding can burn up about 500-600 calories a day, without the mother following any exercise regimen or special diet. This article explores the relationship between breast feeding and weight loss. Most women gain about 35 pounds during pregnancy. After childbirth, they lose about 12-14 pounds. Many women wish to shed the extra 20 pounds as soon as possible.

Breastfeeding After Pregnancy

Breast feeding is a natural way to lose weight after pregnancy. During pregnancy, a woman gains extra fat, which supports the safety of the unborn child during pregnancy, as well as breast feeding after childbirth. Nursing a baby requires about 500-600 calories per day. Breast feeding mothers are able to reduce their hip areas substantially, especially if they breastfeed for the recommended one year following childbirth.

Diet is Important

A breastfeeding mother burns a lot of calories by producing milk and nursing the baby. The lactating mother’s diet affects the quality of breast milk. It is vital that the mother eats healthy foods, and includes about 1800 calories in her daily diet. An ideal diet consists of three balanced meals, plus one or two snacks and with plenty of fluids. A physician or nutritionist may spend some time coaching a new mother on proper nutrition while breastfeeding. The mother should also consult a doctor regarding taking health supplements such as iron or folic acid.

Breastfeeding and Weight Loss: Exercising

The mother should go for gentle non-strenuous walks in the initial weeks after childbirth. After six weeks, she should get a checkup done, to see if her body is ready for more vigorous exercises. Consult a gym instructor or gynecologist to ensure exercising wouldn’t cause complications such as postpartum bleeding or other problems. Breastfeeding is an initial way to support a healthy calorie deficit after giving birth. Slowly adding exercise and focusing on eating a healthy diet are all ways which a new mother can lose weight in the weeks after childbirth.


Berkeley Parents Network: Weight Loss During Breast Feeding

Harvard Medical School: New Breastfeeding Guidelines

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