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Weight Loss Challenges during Breastfeeding

Weight Loss Challenges during Breastfeeding

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During pregnancy most women gain an average of 10-12 kilos, some part of which is typically maternal stores for energy. Gaining weight during pregnancy is essential and it sheds post delivery. However, if you gain weight above the prescribed range, your maternal stores increase. The larger the maternal stores you have towards the end of pregnancy, the harder your post delivery weight loss becomes.

Wednesday, March 29th, 2017

Post Delivery Weight Loss.

After delivery you begin to lose weight gradually. Though, immediately after delivery you would already be a few kilos down, but getting back to the pre-p0regnancy weight takes some time.

Loss After Delivery. There is some natural weight loss that happens when your baby is born. You lose weight proportionate to that of your baby, the placental tissues shed out and there is loss of blood and amniotic fluid.

Gradual Weight Loss. After this initial weight loss, you lose weight gradually. All the extra water that your cells retained during pregnancy, along with fluid from the extra blood that you had in your pregnant body is out. You urinate and perspire more in the first few weeks after delivery. The vaginal discharge, lochia, also sheds out some of your weight.

Maternal Reserves, Breastfeeding and Weight Loss.

Maternal Reserves and Breastfeeding. Maternal reserves are a constantly available source of energy that ensure milk supply required by your little one. When you breastfeed, your body converts the nutrients you take in into milk for your baby. Breastfeeding is definitely the most efficient way to use your maternal fat stores as intended.

Consume Adequate Calories and nutrients to Produce Breast Milk. To encourage the utilization of maternal stores for milk production lactating women should increase their calorie intake by about 600 calories over pre-pregnancy needs during the first 6 months and  you need an additional supply of 600 Kcal per day to meet the lactation demands during 0-6 months and about additional 520 kcal per day for 6-12 months.

Losing Weight During Breastfeeding. You can still lose weight in spite of the additional intake because of high-energy expenditure of milk production and feeding the baby. Sometimes small changes are needed to help your body begin using the extra maternal stores for breastfeeding instead of storing it. The goal is to encourage your body to utilize your maternal fat stores so that you return to your pre-pregnancy weight.

Fundamentals of Weight Loss during Breastfeeding.

Concentrate on Recovery and Nutrition. Instead of focusing on dieting immediately after delivery; focus more on your recovery and consuming sufficient nutrients and calories in order to care of your newborn baby.

Consult Your Doctor About Safe Weight Loss. After about 6 to 8 weeks postpartum, talk to your doctor to make sure that you loose weight in a safe, healthy way. Remember that you gained weight gradually over the period of 9 months, so aim at losing it gradually.

Benefits of Exercising.

Exercising creates a negative energy balance so as to utilize the maternal stores to the maximum. It builds your stamina to cope up with the upbringing demands of your baby. Consult your doctor before starting an exercise regime.

Loose Weight by Exercising and Not Dieting. Incorporate a good exercise plan in your daily schedule that helps you lose weight and strengthen your muscles. Your exercise regime should be a combination of both vigorous and calming activities. This arrangement works best in losing weight and toning up the body. Meditation and yoga are also good for relaxation.

Take Ample Rest But Stay Active. Apart from the exercises that you do, spent the rest of your day actively. There should be sufficient amount of rest, no doubt, but remaining active throughout the day is also as important.

Dietry Tips for Lactating Mothers Aiming to Lose Weight.

During breastfeeding your body needs energy  for recovery, strength and milk production. Do not cut down on your diet. Follow these tips for gradual weight loss:

Have Small frequent meals. You need to feed your newborn baby every few hours. For this you need to keep the milk supply high. Though your body does it spontaneously under the effect of hormones, you can support it by consuming small meals at frequent intervals.

Increase Water Intake. Water forms a major part of the milk that your body produces and is also essential for metabolic processes in your body, so keep your water intake optimum.

Do Not Ignore Hunger Cues. These are the ways in which your body conveys its energy needs. If you feel hungry very frequently, you may be consuming more of simple carbohydrates like sugar, refined flour (Maida) etc, which get metabolized very fast to release energy, leaving the system empty. Simple carbohydrates does not help in losing weight. Include more complex carbohydrates,  protein and fat in the diet so that you remain full for a longer duration. Eat more of salads, raw fruits and vegetables, soaked or sprouted pulses. This not only keeps you full for longer, but also provides many essential nutrients.

Eat a Nutritious Diet. Consume a well-balanced nutritious diet rich in all the essential macro and micronutrients (LINK TO ARTICLE ON BREASTFEEDING NUTRITION). As long as you eat a healthy diet and do not restrict on calories, a weight loss of 200-300gms per week is just fine. Talk to your doctor and a qualified nutritionist and find out the ideal body weight that you need to attain and the ways in which you can achieve optimum weight loss.

Healthy Weight Loss is the Key.

Love yourself, stay stress free as much as you can and consume a healthy well balanced diet. Even if you do not see the scales moving for a long time, do not give up. Your body may still need some more time and eventually respond to the good that you are doing to it.

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