Weight Loss During Breastfeeding

babel · September 28, 2022
This content was reviewed and approved by the doctor Nelton Ramos on December 16, 2021
Did you know that during pregnancy, the body accumulates fat so that there's no decompensation with weight loss during breastfeeding?

The weight gain that we experience during pregnancy is often a cause of concern for many women. But what we don’t know is that it’s important that this happen. At this time, our body is accumulating enough fat so that there’s no decompensation with weight loss during breastfeeding.

Some postpartum moms go for rigid diets or pills to help them lose weight quickly. However, making this decision is completely harmful to us and even for that little angel in our arms.

Dieting to lose weight after pregnancy can cause problems

In this beautiful moment, our body is focused on providing everything the baby needs, and what flows through our blood will affect them because it will reach them through our breast milk. Therefore, we must refrain from ingesting this type of medication in order to protect our precious little ones.

At the same time, maintaining a strict diet isn’t recommended because, when we breastfeed, we’re going to give our babies an incredible amount of nutrients and, consequently, we need to stay healthy and strong by following a good diet, rich in fruits, vegetables, and proteins.

Weight loss during breastfeeding: Why does it occur?

A woman breastfeeding her baby.

Breast milk is a substance that the body creates wisely in order to satisfy the nutritional requirements of our little ones. But, in addition to this, it’s the most effective and natural method that exists to gradually lose weight in the postpartum period.

Sometimes, we can get a little scared because the shedding of pounds can be drastic and you realize how, little by little, everything’s going back to normal.

Now, the important thing is that, despite this reduction that your body is suffering, you shouldn’t feel bad on a physical level.

Milk production involves considerable energy consumption

If you experience dizziness, constant headaches, weakness, and a desire to do nothing, then don’t think twice and check with your doctor. The specialist should evaluate you in order to know that everything’s fine and, in the event that something’s awry, you can solve it quickly.

Otherwise, if losing weight while breastfeeding isn’t causing problems for you, then just take advantage of this wonderful benefit. Try not to force yourself to return completely to your daily life. That is, if you previously exercised with a lot of energy, you’ll have to be patient and wait for the right moment.

But what happens in your body in order for this phenomenon to take place? According to the Breastfeeding Committee of the Spanish Pediatric Association (AEP), in its manual “Breastfeeding: A guide for professionals”, milk production involves considerable energy consumption, for which the mother has been preparing herself.

According to experts, weight loss occurs during the first six months, especially when the mother maintains exclusive breastfeeding. In fact, every liter of milk that a mommy produces consumes around 700 to 800 calories, which translates into weight reduction.

The more you breastfeed, the more you lose weight?

A woman breastfeeding her baby boy.

Weight loss during breastfeeding is a fact proven by specialists. However, there’s a clear rule that affects this reality: The more you breastfeed your little one, the more pounds you’ll shed.

The Ibero-American Cochrane Center, a Spanish organization dedicated to health, states that the effect of breastfeeding on your figure can be seen with greater force in the fourth or sixth month. For this reason, this institute recommends extending this wonderful bond with your child, while also providing them with what they need.

Indeed, breast milk provides not only essential fatty acids but also the so-called long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, such as DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). These are essential for the development of the retina and the brain of the newborn.

It’s worth noting that the intake of these acids, present especially in fatty or bluefish, is immediately reflected in breast milk. And it remains between 10 and 72 hours.

And how many pounds are you going to lose by breastfeeding? Each body is different and reacts in its own way. But, in general, you can experience a decrease of between 22 and 26 pounds, until you reach your original weight or less.

Keys to weight loss in nursing mothers

There’s no doubt that the benefits of breastfeeding are endless, so it’s important to remember the following:

  • The body will use your energy reserves to produce milk.
  • Breastfeeding will help you burn localized fat in the abdomen, hips, and waist area, which is the most difficult to eliminate.
  • Combine breastfeeding with a healthy diet and light walks to tone up.

Your body can lose between 22 and 26 pounds with exclusive breastfeeding

The most beautiful moment between a mother and her baby is that moment when a powerful connection is established through the breast. That’s a language that only both of you will understand and that will provide countless benefits, including weight loss. So don’t worry about it and let nature do its work.

  • De Ferrer, P. A. R. (2000). Importancia de los ácidos grasos poliinsaturados en la alimentación del lactante. Arch argent pediatr, 98, 231. Disponible en: https://www.sap.org.ar/docs/archivos/2000/arch00_4/00_231_238.pdf
  • Valenzuela, R., Morales, G., González, M., Morales, J., Sanhueza, J., & Valenzuela, A. (2014). Ácidos grasos poliinsaturados de cadena larga ω-3 y enfermedad cardiovascular. Revista chilena de nutrición, 41(3), 319-327. Disponible: https://www.scielo.cl/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0717-75182014000300014