Almost all new mothers are concerned about losing the weight they gained during pregnancy, however losing the extra pounds may not be as difficult as you imagine.¬† While it is true that you need to consume an extra 500 calories per day while breastfeeding, the average infant consumes 650 calories per day through breastfeeding, which gives you an automatic breastfeeding weight loss of 150 calories per day.
Calories Needed Per¬†Day¬†
A nursing mother should consume between 1500 to 1800 calories per day to allow for a safe amount of weigh loss and still provide nutritious milk for the growing infant (without sacrificing needed nutrients such as calcium, zinc, magnesium, vitamin B6, and folate). In fact, breastfeeding mothers should not attempt weight loss during the first two postpartum months. This allows time for the mother’s body to recover from the pregnancy and delivery and gets the infant off to a healthy start. Breast-feeding mothers loose more weight when their babies are 3 to 6 months old than mothers who diet and bottle-feed
How Much Weight Loss Should Be Expected?¬†
It is common to loose weight during this period by just consuming a regular diet and eating when you have an appetite, not just when you are bored or have a craving.¬† Nursing mothers who eat according to appetite lose between 1.3 to 1.6 pounds per month in the first 4 to 6 months. If a breastfeeding mother continues to breastfeed beyond 6 months, they normally continue to experience weight loss but at a slower rate. Slow and steady weight loss at the rate of about one pound per week , while maintaining a caloric intake of 1500 to 1800 calories per day, will allow you to have the energy that you need to care for the infant and feel great.
Achieving the Loss of Body Fat
For mothers who gain weight during lactation or stop losing weight, the solution is to reduce calorie intake by 100 calories per day and increase activity level. Some mothers express concern that increasing activity will have an adverse effect on breast milk; this is not true. Gentle exercise such as walking will not cause any negative effect on milk production; in fact women who exercise have slightly higher volumes of breast milk than women who do not exercise. Taking the children out in a stroller or sling for a brisk 30-minute walk will add to the intensity of the exercise and allow both mother and children to experience fresh air and sunlight.¬†¬†
Using weight loss medications, whether prescription or over-the-counter supplements, are not recommended during breastfeeding. The same rule applies to liquid diets. By limiting the caloric intake and consuming a variety of foods (combined with regular moderate exercise), the lactating mother will not only lose those pregnancy pounds, but will experience increased cardiovascular fitness as well.