Your Questions About Weight Loss Plan For Breastfeeding Mothers

by Maricela on January 26, 2013

Sandy asks…

Pregnancy weight loss tips?

I never lost all the pregnancy weight from my first child (tried but failed!) and I am now pregnant with the second one. I do plan on breastfeeding. Does anyone have any tips from personal experience on how I can safely lose the majority of weight within the year of having the baby? Also I’m thinking of joining Curves Fitness for women some time after I am healed and settled with the new baby. Does anyone know if Curves is effective? Thanks for your time!

Maricela answers:

HI,, First Congrats for your second one. Here are weight loss tips for post pregnancy:

Breast feed- Yes, breast feeding is great not just for your baby, but also for you to lose weight! It provides essential nutrients for the baby, and since its providing it from the mother’s body, it increases your calorie expenditure, thus helping weight loss!

Manage your diet- Before the baby was born, many mothers can eat whatever. But once the baby is born, if you want to lose weight, you need to watch your diet. Don’t underfeed yourself, but watch what you eat. To get proper guidance on diet & effective weight loss,

Exercise- As your strength returns, try to get some light exercise. As you build up strength and stamina, increase the duration and intensity of your exercise. Ensure that you get a customized exercise plan, so that you don’t overexert your body. Building some muscle will help you look toned as well, since muscle fiber is dense and helps burn calories and thus lose weight.


John asks…

weight loss after pregnancy?

is it more difficult to lose weight after having a baby than it was before? how long does it take to lose all of the pregnancy weight? after you lose all the pregnancy weight is it really difficult to continue losing weight (to weigh less that you did before you were pregnant)? I’m really scared that I won’t be able to lose all of the pregnancy weight. Thanks.

Maricela answers:

Breastfeeding will really speed up post-partum weight loss. Producing breastmilk takes A LOT of calories. You should try the Weight Watchers plan for nursing mothers, totally wildly successful. Also exercise alot. You can take the weight off and get back in shape, you just have to stick to it.

I was below my pre-pregnant weight before I got preggo with #2 (I’m 28 wks now).

Donald asks…

I CAN’T lose weight while breastfeeding. Help me!?

I am having a major dilemma. please don’t tell me that I don’t need to be worried about it, because it matters to ME. I have a 15 week old daughter, and am exclusively breastfeeding. I can’t lose weight at all. Even my dr. says something isn’t right. I was even on a registered diet from a dietitian, and I lost 1 lb. It doesn’t matter if I work out 1 hour a day(which I love to do), or gorge on food all day and night, I don’t gain or lose weight. I gained 25 pounds while pregnant, and lose 21 by my 6 week appointment. I did have a c section, and started working out at about 8 weeks postpartum. I really don’t know what to do. I am depressed and so tired of busting my ass with no results. I was even on a 1200 calorie a day diet, along with exercising daily, with NO weight loss. Why am I storing weight? I am a good mother, but a huge part of me(the selfish part) wants to stop breastfeeding. I used to be bulimic, and can’t stop thinking about it. I know that is awful, but I am a good mom. I plan to breastfeed for 12 months, just like I did with my first, but this is just too much. Please help.
I need to add, I have a 4 year old, I am still holding 25 pounds from her. I have between 20-30 that I Need to lose. I am 5’3 and weigh 185. Everyone says I don’t look that big, but the scale doesn’t lie.
I do enjoy nursing and I know it is best for her. But I messed up the first time after I had my first. I ate all the time,and gained weight. I want to be a healthy mom, that is all. I wouldn’t be griping about just 4 pounds. I need to lose the extra to be healthy again.

Maricela answers:

Some women store fat when breastfeeding. I did. I lost little to no weight throughout the 20months I nursed my son, eating right and going to the gym and all. I didn’t obsess over it, it was hard, really hard, I wanted to quit nursing him, but I didn’t and even enjoyed the whole experience a lot. A gym trainer actually told me the weight would just met off once I weaned my son.

He self weaned almost a month ago and I have already gone down a size, I don’t weight myself because I was anorexic and I don’t want to go down that road again, but I can really notice it in my face, breasts and hips that I have lost more weight in this month than I lost in 20months. Just one more size to fit into my pre-pregnancy jeans, it’s taken me almost 2 years, but I am getting there..

I am so sorry you can’t enjoy the nursing experience because of 4lbs

Sharon asks…

I’m breastfeeding and looking for dieting tips?

I’m breastfeeding, my son is 3 months old, and I want to start losing weight. FAST!

My 10th wedding anniversary is in September (2012) and my husband is planning a vacation for just the 2 of us. “Someplace warm” is the only hint he’ll give.

I’ve got 100+ pounds I’d like to lose, and while I realize I probably can’t lose it all before September, I’d like to see a significant change in my size.

Hinderances to weight loss include (but are not limited to:)

1. We live in a region that has snow (several feet!) 6+ months out of the year. I hate to be cold so don’t go out as often as I would like. In summer my family & I hike miles of trails several times per week, but in winter I sit around the house and don’t get outside much.

2. I REALLY enjoy breve mochas. I’m sure they’re not helping (maybe suggest a substitution?)

3. I am a homeschooling mother of 7 children, which means a lot of time spent indoors homeschooling, preparing lessons, taking care of our home and kids, etc.

4. I can’t afford a gym membership.

5. Am embarrassed by my weight, which actually makes me stay out of public view even more, because in my mind I fear everyone who looks at me is thinking “What a fatty!”…

Anyway, with my hectic schedule/life, counting calories is maybe out. Looking for a diet that is:

Safe for breastfeeding

Kid friendly (I really don’t have it in me to prepare a meal for the family and a seperate meal for myself)

Hopefully not too restrictive

And maybe works fast?

Please – no sarcastic comments. Just an overweight housewife/mom who wants to be attractive and healthy for my husband/family. I’m self concience enough without judgemental comments from friends.

Maricela answers:

Breastfeeding will help you lose weight in of itself.

I’d be really careful (Read: I wouldn’t) dieting… Because too harsh of a change is going to mess you and maybe even the baby up. You could even stop producing milk prematurely. Try exercising. Jumping jacks, anything that’ll get your heart rate up. Chase your kids around the house!

Get some dancing videos and get your kids involved. My 4 year old daughter really likes to belly dance with me.

Laugh! Laughing releases hormones that are stress relievers (stress produces cortisol which makes you gain weight) and the movement of the abdominal muscles is exercise in of itself.

Another reason to avoid diet drinks or artificial sugars in general– It can actually cause you to gain weight because your body thinks it’s sugar, prepares to burn said sugar, then freaks out because it’s not sugar and it goes into a sort of sugar conservation mode.

Charles asks…

can you breastfeed and be on the “grapefruit diet” at the same time?

will it do any harm to the baby

Maricela answers:

I have no idea exactly what you mean by “the grapefruit diet.” It sounds like some kind of fad diet to me, which is generally not a good idea while nursing.

In general, you should wait until your baby is at least 2 mos old before you begin dieting. This will help make sure your milk supply is well established.

You need to eat at least 1500-1800 calories per day to maintain your supply. A sudden drop in calories can reduce milk supply, so cut back your intake gradually.

You don’t want to try to lose weight rapidly. Instead, take it gradually. Remember “9 mos on/9 mos off” is totally normal. Most moms can safely lose up to 1.5 pounds per week (or 6 pounds per month) after the second month and not affect milk supply or baby’s well being.

Liquid diets, low-carb diets, fad diets, weight loss medication, etc. Are NOT recommended while breastfeeding. According to Breastfeeding and Human Lactation (3rd Edition, Riordan, pp 440), it is noted that fad or rapid weight loss programs should be avoided because fat-soluble environmental contaminants and toxins stored in body fat are released into the milk when caloric intake is severely restricted.

Some things you can do to safely lose weight:

Make dietary changes — decrease your fat intake to 20-25% or less of total calories; keep your protein intake up to prevent loss of muscle mass (Recommended Intake of protein for nursing mothers is 65 grams/day for the first 6 months and 62 grams/day between 6 and 12 months).

Spread your calorie intake out — instead of 2-3 meals, eat 3 smaller meals with snacks between. Your body will be less likely to go into “starvation mode” if you are eating small amounts throughout the day.

Exercise moderately so that you burn more fat while keeping lean muscle mass. Resistance/weight training is a good way to build muscle mass. A person with more muscle mass burns more calories, even when resting.

Check out the book Eat Well, Lose Weight While Breastfeeding by Eileen Behan, RD.

Contact your local Weight Watchers. They have a nursing mother’s plan there that you can follow.

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