Trying to lose weight while breastfeeding can be tough, especially while trying to take care of a newborn baby. However, breastfeeding is a great way to lose weight; the average woman burns 600 calories a day by breastfeeding! With that kind of calorie loss, it’s easy to jump start a new exercise routine and lose that baby weight.
Since you’re already burning a lot of calories, workouts that involve strength training will help tone your body and accelerate your metabolism. While you’re breastfeeding, you may want to avoid vigorous exercise that involves lots of jumping; it may hurt your breasts, which are often already sore and tender from breastfeeding. As you plan your exercise schedule, try to plan it so that you can feed your baby in the half hour preceding your workout; lactic acid produced during exercise can change the taste of breast milk and upset your baby.
If you didn’t exercise a lot before or during pregnancy, yoga is a great way to start out. It uses the body’s own weight as resistance to build strength and muscle. There are many postnatal yoga DVDs and classes meant to help a new mother lose weight and alleviate the leftover pains of childbirth. Many DVDs offer variations on yoga poses for different ability levels. While doing yoga, avoid excessive stretching or working of the pelvic area; light stretching is a good idea, but doing too much can cause pain and actually slow down healing of the area. If you had a c-section, do not attempt any poses that work your abdomen until your doctor approves abdominal workouts.
Like yoga, Pilates uses your body weight as resistance, rather than free weights or dumbbells. Additionally, Pilates focuses a lot on the core. Your abdominal muscles are probably fairly weak after nine months of pregnancy, so working on your core will tone your abdomen and help alleviate any back pain you may be experiencing. Start with a postnatal Pilates DVD or class, as they have routines and exercises that won’t place too much strain on your body. Pilates is typically not a good exercise choice for mothers who have just had a c-section, as stomach exercises should be avoided for at least six weeks after a c-section delivery.
Using free weights or weight machines are a great way to boost your metabolism and capitalize on the calories burnt by breastfeeding. To make the most of your weight lifting workout, plan a routine that you can do three or four times a week. Hit each of the major muscle groups, making sure to rotate exercises so that every body part is worked out equally. If you begin exercising shortly after childbirth, start at a low weight and increase the weight size as you can handle it; it takes a while for your body to recover, and you don’t want to overload it.
There are many exercise options for breastfeeding women, all of which work with the calories you’re already burning by breastfeeding! Plan a workout regime and stick with it, and the baby weight will fall off in no time.