Best Ways To Lose Weight While Breastfeeding

Breastfeed Frequently

Breastfeeding does burn a lot of calories. By nursing on demand, you will burn the maximum amount of calories. It’s important to do this especially as you start to exercise more so your body still knows that even though some of your fat stores might be disappearing, your body still needs to produce milk!

Don’t pressure yourself

Sorry, but you won’t be stepping into your pre-pregnancy jeans right away. And trying to put them on in the early weeks will just be discouraging. “In order to deliver a baby, everything in the body expands,” Ritchie says. “Your hips expand, your ribcage expands. It took a good nine months to put that weight on, so give yourself at least nine months to get it off and get your body back.”

Just ignore the excess weight for at least the first two weeks after birth. “Honestly, the first two weeks of having an infant can be a nightmare. It’s like boot camp,” Ritchie says. “For that time, focus on your baby, and don’t worry about dieting.”

And actually, you might want to wait six weeks or even longer before actively trying to lose the weight. “Those entire first six weeks are a transitional period,” Ritchie explains. It takes about that long for baby to adapt to the rhythms of the outside world, and for both baby and mom to get a hang of breastfeeding. You don’t need the outside distraction of a rigid diet or exercise plan.

Choosing the Right Foods

Eating right while breast-feeding is not complicated and it does not need to be bland. Mothers from many cultures breast-feed successfully on a diet of widely varied foods. Follow these guidelines to reach a healthy weight while keeping your baby well-nourished.

  • Eat a variety of foods from all five food groups. Visit ChooseMyPlate.gov to get a personalized eating plan for breast-feeding women.
  • For protein, choose lean meat, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, nuts and seeds. Eat no more than 12 ounces per week of fish and shellfish and no more than 6 ounces per week of albacore tuna. Avoid fish with high mercury levels, such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish.
  • Eat colorful fruits and vegetables. Fill half your plate with vegetables and fruit at lunch and dinner, and include fruit and vegetables in snacks. Whole fruit is better than juice, so limit juice to 1 cup per day and make sure it’s 100-percent juice.
  • Include three servings of low-fat or fat-free milk, yogurt or cheese each day. If you don’t think you can tolerate milk, try lactose-free milk or calcium-fortified soy milk.
  • Choose whole-wheat bread, brown rice and whole-wheat pasta more often than refined grains.
  • Use healthful oils, such as olive oil, canola, soybean and corn oil, but in small amounts since they can amount to extra calories.
  • Drink enough water and decaffeinated unsweetened beverages to quench your thirst. While you are breast-feeding, your need for fluids increases. Limit caffeine-containing beverages — including coffee, tea and soft drinks — to one or two 8-ounce cups a day.
  • Make smart food choices that are low in “empty calories.” Empty calories are found in foods high in added sugars and fats including soft drinks, desserts, fried foods and fatty meats.
  • Vitamin and mineral supplements cannot replace a healthy diet. Talk with your doctor before taking any vitamin or mineral supplements.
  • If you have special nutrition needs, consult a registered dietitian nutritionist for a customized eating plan.

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