If you are trying to lose weight while breastfeeding, you must be sure to maintain a healthy caloric intake and eat a balanced diet so as not to decrease your milk supply or endanger your health. Because breastfeeding uses up so many additional calories, it is a lot easier for many women to lose weight while breastfeeding. If you need some extra help, here are some steps to follow to help you shed the pounds healthily while breastfeeding:
Step 1: Begin with Exercise
You should not begin any weight loss plan that involves cutting calories and dieting until your baby is at least two months old (to make sure that your milk supply is fully established). In the meantime, you can begin exercising lightly, focusing on aerobic and cardiovascular exercises. Start with 30 minutes of exercise three to five days a week. Taking brisk walks is a great way to get back into exercising and help you drop some weight. Use a stroller, sling or backpack to get you and your child outdoors for some fresh air and exercise. Don’t wear yourself out, but work yourself up to a moderate level of exercise.
Step 2: Breastfeed on Demand
By continuing to breastfeed your baby on demand, you will keep your milk supply up and continue to burn calories throughout the day just by feeding your baby. Studies have shown that mothers that feed their babies by breast for more than 6 months, lose more weight than those that do not. Feeding your baby on demand will also help you lose more weight than if you are doing timed feedings, as on-demand fed babies generally eat more frequently, causing you to burn more calories.
Step 3: Reduce Calories
After your baby is two months, begin cutting your daily calories to about 1800 calories per day. Do this over a period of many days or even weeks. Cut your calories by about 100 a day until you reach the goal of 1800. Be sure to never cut your calories to below 1500 daily, as it could drastically decrease your milk supply and leave you feeling rather fatigued. You also do not want to lose more than 1.5 pounds in a week or 6 pounds in a month.
Following these steps and adhering to a healthy diet is the best way for a nursing mother to lose weight. You will want to avoid fad diets, diet pills and herbal supplements while breastfeeding, as these are not appropriate while nursing. Review some healthy eating tips, and be sure to balance your vegetable, fruit, lean meat and whole grain intake appropriately. Eating right, and keeping your body in good working order, is even more important now than ever. Build your strength and slowly drop that weight, remembering that it took 9 months to put it on, and will most likely take just as long to take it off.